A Snake Pit of 30-06 Springfield


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Because of formatting problems with Microsoft Word I have to download new software to wrap up this story's more formal presentation. ... My connection is crap right now, so the guess is a few hours from now for the alternate version of Office.

The DeviantArt posting will have a ton of comments from me in the piece's description. If you guys want, when the DA PDF is posted, I'll provide a link to it so you can read my comments.

... Please forgive any grammar errors I might have missed by mistake.

This is being broken up since the forum can't process it on a whole and even broken in half.

A Snake Pit of 30-06 Springfield

"Creeek! Creeee-eck, said the alien known to Broderens and Humans as Kneemoi. The floating pink sphere with ever changing facial features and limbs. Spoke to it's trusted robot companion, Unit dash zero five nine. The robot then doing as ordered broke open the door to the main cabin of the Chronoskimmer saucer-rocket ship. Surprising those manning it's flight controls! Knowing an attack like this might come, our hero Kay Shinick ready for action fired his." A blimp of static.

Looking up from the newspaper he'd been reading while at the same time, he's been playing attention to the radio program. Patrick wondered what had happened until the station's news announcer spoke up. "Breaking news another tremor just rocked Lexington Avenue and 2nd Avenue. While no one as of yet has been reported suffering injuries from these shakes. Building supers are concerned for their establishments in wondering if these tremors will later cause more damage than they already have, if they continue. Now back to Tomorrow Worlds sponsored by Wonder Rat Poison. Remember if the rats survive this poison that's a wonder. Refunds available only if you can prove we didn't kill it."

After a pause the radio show continued as if the interruption had never happened. The sounds of a battle where taking place within the fictitious rocket ship named the Chronoskimmer. Shouting from Captain Kay and episode changing sidekicks as they fought against Kneemoi's alien allies who were just as hostile as the Unit robots, always ready to kill. Various sounds of things banging and clunking too in the midst of battle. Some banging happening rather loudly Patrick noted. Then came another interruption.

"You're nearer to it than I am, Patrick. Could you get the door please?" Jocelyn asked from another room, elsewhere in the apartment they also treated as a business practice. Patrick assumed likely she was in the area of it she'd personally decided to use for study.

Turning the volume down on the radio, he blushed at his mistake of hearing. As he looked again to the newspaper he'd been holding after wiping sweat from his brow. Rereading the title of the article which had struck his attention to worry. The announcement which had interrupted one of the programs he enjoyed listening to. It adding to the growing concern he'd had building for days. Both had finally rattled him too much to ignore. He had to do something.

While he turned off the radio and started getting up from the chair he'd been in. Jocelyn, his long time friend and co-worker was busy briskly walking passed the open doorway to where he was. He didn't even need to see her face. He knew her that well. She was upset and clearly he'd taken too long in acting to get the door.

Quickly pulling open the door leading to out the hallway, Jocelyn also made just as fast a note of the person standing in front of her now. Standing in the hallway was a man in a decorated military uniform. Wanting to show her powers of observation and deduction at work. A good thing to do if this man was only considering hiring but had not made up his mind yet. This would maybe impress him. If he'd already made the decision to hire, then it would be confirmed icing on the cake for him of her skills. Before he could open his mouth she question stated, "General?"

Extending a hand to shake with his greeter, the military officer replied. "Sergeant Fuller, this is a detective agency right?"

Or her guess could make her look like a fool. As the 78 year old wondered now how badly the mistake reflected on her judgement of assumed fact. She got relief that Sergeant Fuller was of the second sort which came seeking to hire. He'd apparently had already made up his mind. Seeming to not noticed her blushing at what she'd done. Motioning with a gentle wave of one hand forward, he wanted to come into the living room behind her.

Moving into the room, beyond the lady detective who had stepped aside right after he'd made his statement of wanting to step in. The sergeant looked to be taking in the feel of the place with mild amused fascination. Having seen that look before on earlier clients. Jocelyn voiced, "ACME, and we try."

Turning to face her with a concerned look on his face combined with quizzical in the arching of an eyebrow. He asked, "you aren't officially recognized correct? Not fully in league with offical city recordings & business records?"

Knowing something was clearly up and if it's funny business, what sort could the sergeant be possibly doing? Motioning for him to take a seat in the nicest chair of the room. The one while never voiced to company at least not company in ACME's employ. Both she and Patrick used with the intent of trying to impress clients. An item of luxury as far as they saw it. Mahogany framing and padded leather encased cushions. It had been purchased many years ago on a whim of indulgence after having solved a case which had been hard to deal with but had paid in the end lavishly.

Settling into the chair, Fuller flicked his eyes around his surroundings once more and asked. "Is this an office or home?"

Taking a seat herself but on top an ottoman near by, Jocelyn answered. "Home but it doubles as an office. But what you want isn't offical correct? Why is that?"

Feeling a further elaboration should be given, she then added to her commenting. "ACME is simply not only because a business license hasn't been filed for it."

Having accepted information given. Now Fuller was ready to get to business, the reason he'd come to her, to them. He did still wonder why he only saw one employee in front of him. Surely with what he'd been told coming to him second hand, the agency had more than just one woman in it's employ. Or maybe she wasn't an active detective, only a representative to dispense information and handle odd jobs? Like maybe she was the front for the real workers? Ready to better engage in needed conversation, he stated. "I work for Fort Sherman and there is a problem, Ms?"

"Deyriès," Jocelyn replied, just a touch annoyed by the question. She knew he hadn't found the ACME Detective Agency though what was forced presentation in the white pages, now. Otherwise he'd guess either her last name or Patrick's. The listing was present in the phone book but not as preferred. Not a recognized business and as so exempt from being allowed in the proper yellow pages. It's listing reading:

ACME J. Deyriès & P. Gardener Agency: 555-2460

He'd better speak with the real person soon. Deyriès seeming miffed at just saying her last name. He'd pressed a button without realizing it. In observation beyond her face she seemed to have other buttons too but he felt unsure of that. Some form of prosthesis on her right hand and forearm? Not a glove he was almost sure. It appeared to have buttons on some of it's knuckles. Attempting to steer the conversation away from her, he queried. "I guess it's your husband that handles the cases?"

Having been listening to his friend and their guest talking near by in the largest room of apartment. Patrick proceeded to roll his eyes, before rolling up the newspaper he'd started to read it's other contents to. To get up and make his way into the room they were in. Already a familiar explanation was coming from Jocelyn in response to Fuller's question. "I'm not married. Both Patrick and I, we both take cases."

Stunned at the information she'd just told him. The Sergeant replied, "but the possible danger Ms. Deyriès?!"

"I can handle any sort of case you can throw at me and something tells me whatever is happening with Fort Sherman is a doozy." Not something she'd said in the past but similar sounding words had been uttered by her many times before. She'd proven her ability to handle tough situations before, some of them even with military present but not recently. While Sergeant Fuller was new to her acquaintance, she'd heard the name Fort Sherman before. She and Patrick had also visited Fort Bragg working a case. Also with added company while working, had visited Vimy Ridge, France a few days away from rumored battle to come, years back. That had ended with success but she'd never admit to Fuller. The rumor which had turned out to be true, that while there she couldn't wait to leave the region out of fear.

Having entered the room, Patrick chose to lean himself against the door frame leading to the hallway and to look at Fuller expectantly. To place himself into the conversation, he pointed out. "I could hear everything from what you'd call my office, Sergeant."

The Sergeant knew now he had start relaying the matter of why he'd come to them. "The Fort's problem. We're some how loosing our shipments. Weapons and ammo we receive from the factories to then ... it's our job to make sure that's escorted safely overseas to our forces. We're getting our shipments in but they vanish before we ship them out. An interceptor within the ranks ..."

Putting his head in his hands, Fuller continued. "Because of the nature of the crime. Not knowing who or how many whos at the Fort are helping commit this act. Because it feels like an embarrassment to my name and those higher than me that know of this. Now you can put aside any suspicions you might have towards me of wanting you to do an unscrupulous act in when I asked about ACME's stance on records."

Not hard to see a solution here, Jocelyn pointed out. "We can always not create a lasting file on this."

"But we will expect to be paid nicely for it." Patrick said, making his mark on the work in question of them taking it.

Further stunned, Fuller looked to Patrick in disbelief as to his questionable professionalism. Sizing him up as if the man were a new member of staff or recruit straight out of boot camp. This person in the doorway didn't look to be the age one would still be making jokes at, of any immaturity being a thing of the distant past. He looked to be about as old as the woman sitting near by. Breaking the officer's train of thought, Jocelyn commented. "We only ask a standard fee for services rendered.

"Agreed," Fuller said relieved as he got up from the chair he'd been in. Then directing his attention to the lady again, he added. "Anything you or the gentleman needs. Just ring me at the Fort and I'll make sure it happens. Anything which helps you investigate the case you understand?"

Up from the ottoman and keeping pace with the guest. Jocelyn opened the door he'd entered through, and added in reply to his question. "I do."

Pocketing his hands & walking to his partner, meeting Jocelyn at the door. Looking none as if his comment to the Sergeant wasn't a bad suggestion. Patrick made momentary note of it before moving on to a different matter of discussion. "We could use a better presentation here. ACME doesn't have to and shouldn't really look like all it is. That being a home with minor touches of a police station's more formal office. Extra money would help that. Also before I leap into this case, mind if I take care of something non-criminal?"

Giving a grin at him before starting for the nearest window of the room, which faced towards the street. Jocelyn commented and then questioned. "If we had more help right now we could justify charging Sergeant Fuller a higher rate. But I'm not going to do that simply to spruce up the look of our formality. Also what non-criminal matter? I have one guess but am not sure I'm right about it because I've been sure you would have said something before now."

As the lady checked the barometer and thermometer by the window, he spoke. "Those minor tremors and yes, I see why you'd think I would have commented on them earlier but I wanted to dismiss them. We shouldn't get them right? No real fault line here and there is construction taking place below our feet anyway. The merging of the IND and BMT lines. However I don't think if it were just common subway construction those reports would be happening. Something is going on natural or not and my only concern is my pals. Jocelyn, I have to check on them first."

"It's 90 degrees outside. No wonder it's so hot in here and I can picture outside can only be worse. Maybe an extra charge to Sergeant Fuller wouldn't be a bad idea. We could get an additional ceiling fan." Jocelyn said half to herself and Patrick, before turning to him and saying.

"Grab a flashlight and pack extra batteries. Your friends are first priority to check on. But after that."

Leaving for the kitchen before there opening up it's cupboard and reaching to it's near last shelf for a set of D cells. Patrick finished her words in saying, "I contact you and we both work the case."


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Days without discovering some form of new evidence what had happened to what to a degree was his case. At least what appeared as to officially be his case. Finding out the whereabouts of a man named Dennis Fannon. The concern to locate him had been brought to the Partlow Bumpass and Sullivan Detective Agency. Otherwise shortened in speech to the PBS Detective Agency, by way of the man's supervisor at his work place. Fannon had been not only dependable to always show up to his job but had also been friends with his higher ranking co-worker, for the associate to know something was wrong in Fannon's life.

Nothing about the rent, other bills, or even buying food. He had no complaints about his salary and the supervisor knew he was content to use taxies and the occasional subway train to get to where he needed to be minus on foot. So wanting to buy a car but not speaking up about that fact? He spoke of needing money but had refused to clarify the need behind it. When the supervisor noticed people coming into the factory which didn't seem interested in striking deals on produced merchandise. That they had an air to them that spoke of business better conducted in shadows than light, looking to have a word with Fannon. Having caught him more than once nervously flipping an unlit cigarette around his fingers in one hand, in an alleyway. Relaying the reason why he didn't puff it was he wasn't sure he'd have the time to enjoy it before, unsaid. The supervisor had assumed business with the unsavory looking group of people seen before.

Chester Bumpass worried about all he knew about this and it wasn't much. The mob was his guess what had happened to Fannon. It seemed agreed that could have been it across the board. This coming from both Eli Partlow: his supervisor, and Trey Sullivan: a more seasoned detective than himself and even Chief Partlow. Who had decided to do his work from the desk than be out in the field. What little more Chester had deduced was it couldn't have been from one of the mafia organizations they readily knew about in the city. All of those had in recent times either been locked in jail locally, The Commission, Northeast and Midwest. Or had been caught over state lines and met the same fate, Murder Inc., The National Crime Syndicate and The Neapolitan Camorra. Lastly further more what had rapidly grown into one of the largest ones on the east coast, but hadn't been seen in the city in years. Surely Scolex Enterprises had nothing to do with this unless they'd returned. Could this have been the work of a group he'd only heard rumor about but hadn't had luck discovering if they were out there?

Having the time to look into that wasn't something he'd had the luxury yet to have. By the time he'd figured out who might be behind Fannon's disappearance, his split shift was starting. Not that he truly minded the figurative down time. What bothered him a little was taking an offical lapse in temporary job responsibility. If his part time replacement Cheri Thigpen had discovered new facts to the case, he'd feel better about the day. Then he'd have much needed information he hopefully could follow up on with in speed to satisfy all curious parties who'd by now were writing off the case.

Entering his office without a knock, the secretary by job description but a detective informally. Cheri took note of him in deep thought staring at his desk. Unsure if the man was aware of her presence, she sat her folder of pride, right in front of his gaze. Taking immediate notice of her favorite possession, at least in a work environment. The folder she used to hold all collected findings in along with personal thought notes she felt relevant to whatever case she was on at the moment. He propped up his glasses further on the bridge of his nose and looked at her as she said, "it's worth it but Chester. I wish it were truly worth it. This is the latest I've gotten done on the Y shift."

As he took hold of the folder, parting it open a little, noticing that it had new papers stuffed in it, he replied. "As you know of the best outlook one could have on life now, Cheri. It's one thing to live for today but it's a better thing to live for tomorrow. Besides that in our record keeping and investigating on the Y & Z. The extra money helps right?"

Feeling brightened by his reminder about what Y shift did for her, she answered him. "Considering my salary in the offical book to this place doesn't do much to put food on the table. Chess, last night I had steak, because of this."

Steak? What grocery store or butcher shop had that come out of? The last fine meal he'd had, had come from getting praise after a case that had been particularly uneasy to crack. He'd been given an extra four dollars as a thank you and Cheri had politely refused to share in the wealth. She knew she had not much involvement in solving the theft. That and she was handling her bills well that month. He'd gotten himself not only an over due pair of new socks, but also a tie, and a meal of quarter chicken with all the trimmings. She had to have saved up for that steak. Smiling at the thought he should be taking more cues from her than just case tips. He replied, "then we'd better solve this case to keep that steak coming. While I don't want to write off Dennis Fannon for dead, finding him is a priority. Lets hope Chief Detective Partlow is wrong here."


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Memorizing the active times for the city's various subway trains had happened by necessity and lucky for Patrick the trains rarely deviated from their schedules. He'd been able to hop down into the track area from the boarding area, un-noticed while people bustled into the passenger cars. Stopping this act he knew should have been a city priority. They should have barriers preventing the drop because if someone didn't know what they were doing where the trains normally flew by, they'd be killed. But the creation of barriers might impede people from entering the cars and then of course discourage them from using the trains, costing the system money. That just couldn't happen and as the result of that, opportunity happened.

Starting to walk down the tunnel he knew he'd soon have to exchange for another less traveled by steel boxes. He thought about how he knew some viewed opportunity down here. It wasn't housing per se, the tunnels and their forgotten areas & abandoned stations. Those acted like shelter to the people he knew, which couldn't afford a place to live above ground. He'd heard of maybe only a hand full of people living in them prior to the Depression. Once that kicked in, the population needing the place skyrocketed. Then he knew for a fact people were living in them because a few of them happened to be friends of his, hit hard by the bad times. Walking through the tunnels made him feel a couple of ways. Pity on those he wished had a better lot in life and gratitude for when he could have easily been considered homeless. At that time he had an above ground place he could call home, people tended to never bother.

Calling out and hoping only the people he wanted to, heard him. The ACME detective said, "Rowan! Emerson! Linus! Nash! Hannah!"

The War Wares House as he called it had been a lucky find he's been shocked no one seemed to know about. Military surplus, all of which happened to be Civil War related, both Union and Confederate piled together. For the longest time he thought he'd never have a more safer place to live than that. Sure it could be cold in the winter time. For the longest time having refused to light matches in the place for fear of an accident occurring. But in time that judgment restraint loosened and he'd felt relaxed enough to light oil lamps. Good for the hands he knew but not really for warming the rest of the body.

Meeting Jocelyn and then quickly head on dealing with VILE for the first time, ended his time there. Nothing like the bad guys causing an explosion in your home to force you out. Even after the bomb was dropped and the place's safety was compromised, it had served as shelter until both he and his friend got a better place to live. These people here weren't as fortunate. They didn't have valuable things they could easily sell off or money given by a passed on loved one's will to fund them.

Knowing he had to keep trying, Patrick tried calling out to his friends again. Even if one answered he could find out how they were doing and maybe they knew how the others were handling the shakes. "Hannah! Linus! Emerson! Nash! Rowan!"

The lighting becoming more spaced out in bulb placement and even some bulbs in need of replacing, the city had not gotten to yet. The tunnel he'd been walking down separate from the one he'd started in from, not being one commonly used. He knew in a short time further down it, he'd have no light at all soon on the path unless a train was redirected to it and that's light he would not welcome. Space to hug the wall or not, relishing a train coming at him was far from in the cards today for his want. But that sort of thing rarely happened and knowing what his friends down here thought of law enforcement. At least the kind interested in booting them out of the tunnels. Grabbing out his flashlight from his rear pant's pocket. He said under his breath while clicking on the light, "sorry guys but I have to know where I'm going."

If he'd been prepared for conflict, he'd never have let this happen, being caught off guard. Suddenly being grabbed by the arm, while restrictor's second hand grabbed at his hand with the flashlight. All Patrick could do which wasn't much was to exclaim. "Who the f-ing heck!"

In truth he wanted to get into a fight but the grasp the unknown had on him prevented that. The person who had taken hold of him was stronger, likely younger. Did he have any enemies down here? None rang to mind although he was keenly aware he did have enemies which spanned the globe. As he thought about the fact he shouldn't have come down into the subway tunnels alone. With the flashlight now having the unknown's hand cover it's face, that line of thought stopped.

"You dumb flatfoot, what is wrong with you!" The unknown spoke revealing to the detective he knew the man. This wasn't an enemy, this was a friend.

"Linus, what is wrong with you!?" Patrick questioned in sharp toning while the grip Linus had, loosened up on his arm, but not the flashlight.

How could the long time extra arm to the law be so dense, Linus wondered. Then figuring maybe he did know something was going on but the investigation was only just starting. The tunnel dweller figured he'd test his friend's knowledge of his environment. By stating, "no flashlights like that down here! You know they make people like me nervous! Besides that extra reason now to lay low."

Confused about the second half of what had been said. All logic telling him Mother Nature in her minor tantrums of tremors. Couldn't possibly have an agenda against the city's homeless. Although he knew during a winter storm or hot day like it was today, that perfect reasoning felt frayed of making sense in the punishment they did. Not understanding without figuring out the cause for comment. Patrick asked, "what extra reason? Line, I came down here to check on you guys. The tremors. There's something else making you fearful aside from that and cops?"

"Patty, I wish you could see my face right now from shock. You don't know!?" Replied his buddy, that now no longer holding on to his arm. Trying not to break his contact with the flashlight, then moved to be in front of the ACME detective.

Long ago Patrick had given up on stopping people in their pursuit to nickname him. He'd let Jocelyn try at nicknaming him for quite a while when he was first getting to know her. He'd been unhappy about her insistence but kept letting it slide. The one of Patrix being the one she'd favored the most. He guessed since it sounded weird and he'd heard no one else try it on him, is why she'd kept trying to use it on him. This had actually been helpful when the both of them were working undercover and she'd wanted to have some fun with him. Not wanting to use their real names, he'd kept calling her what at least she accepted of the nickname Gadget Girl. When confronted with the criminals they had sought out to catch in the act, them catching sight of the detectives first. The villains weren't aware to who they were in the presence of and had verbally dismissed them by calling them freaks. Learning it could pay off not to be called by his true name due to that case is when he just let the matter finally drop.

Sighing at first, he then queried. "Spill in Lines, what should I know!? Um, this won't make me feel bad in my line of work will it?"

"New York City can't have tremors! It's VILE knucklehead!" Linus was surprised while he'd shouted his replying answer. Patrick hadn't known of his greatest foe was in his friend's home. His visit had come over a false idea and the one who had to live in the tunnels had just lost control of his voice. Lord if that foe had just heard him, he knew he'd being getting a bad surprise much worse than his friend's lack of knowledge.

"What!? How can they cause them? Some kind of newfangled tech?! God, them down here. No wonder you're less fond of light now." Patrick shouted before lowering his voice in replying. This blistered his anger and the fact to that was now being worn on this sleeve having said it aloud. No place was safe from them. He'd known that for ages but invading his friends' refuge was just another added last straw to a long list of lines VILE had crossed in the past. Even the usage of terming last straw being what he used, having lost meaning in this had him trying to think of new ways to define ever descending lows the Villains International League of Evil got up to. He sweared to those who knew him well that a way to define their acts of loathsome behavior how he'd state it. Deserved a new listing in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, when he finally came up with the wording for it.

"And we can't call on the freaking police! Pat, ideas here? I mean you're on our side, you even tried to shack up some of us as best you could when you had available spaces. But you're still kind of the law. How do we rid the tunnels of them?" Linus stated & questioned and inwardly felt he had pleaded to the detective.

He had to get a better idea of what was happening. What could cause such alarm beyond the obvious. Holding his emotion in check since shouting he knew wasn't a good idea. Patrick asked, "could you show me precisely what is going on to give me a better picture? Maybe with a mental kodak I can start forming ideas to help this situation?"

Remembering his duly to fellow tunnel dwellers, which was actually more the urge to keep himself, them and his above ground living friend, safe. Yanking with his one hand still on the flashlight, Patrick was refusing to let go of. Linus told him, "great idea, I'll lead the way but we gotta stay real quiet."

"You can see in the dark?" The detective knew Linus couldn't actually do just that. But he knew if you got used to being in a dimly lit area you tended to learn it well in just knowing where things were. At least if those things around you didn't move much thanks to people around you.

"No you ninny, just let go of the damn flashlight and trust me to conceal most of it's light. Just follow my lead with it or hold my hand ok?" The tunnel dweller demanded, wondering if his friend fully understood the gravity of his words.

After taking in a deep breath through his nose. Patrick then said, "sure as I want to keep breathing I got it."

Both of them had been too active talking where they were and that had to be toned down. Walking into the tunnel further from it's more active connections busy with the city above. They went along in silence except an occasional warning from Linus for Patrick to watch his footing more closely. Decades of work and equal of neglect in some parts of the system, of rooms, of passages, and yet more train line tunnels. As they walked this, Patrick knew he should have figured VILE saw this place as a perfect opportunity for their work. He just wished the thought had dawned on him earlier.


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He'd done this sort of thing before. Play an undercover role in hoping to uncover new information. In this case it was looking like he was a vagrant and resting up in the alley, Fannon had been going to before he disappeared. Chester's hope was that if he stayed here long enough the right wrong minded people might show up to conduct business with someone else in their social pool. The early mid-day heat wanted to urge him elsewhere.

The detective for PBS had decided to dress up as he'd seen beggars do which wasn't his normal style. It had taken a third of his wardrobe of summer and winter clothes to complete the look. He'd been proud of the disguise in his apartment. Looking at himself in a long bathroom mirror to ensure he'd done right of creating the wanted badly off appearance. He didn't start to feel he'd made a mistake until he'd started jogging to greet the alley to do his work in. Keeping the brisk pace as to hope no one who knew him, would recognize him in his normal area of town to be wandering. It had started to heat up fast in the layers covering every inch of him but his head and hands. He'd brushed away the thought that early on sweating could be the sign of a problem. After all soon he'd be doing nothing but sitting on the pavement with his back to a building's brick and mortar. Surely further overheating couldn't happen for lack of any notable movement from him he thought.

For a few minutes not thinking about what he was doing too hard, Chester thought he had a minor solution to feeling like he was in Death Valley as opposed to New York City. He'd given up holding a hand on his head where he'd wanted to. That he gripped to himself, had taken away being about to see if anyone happened to come upon where he was, the sort of people he was anxious to encounter. The solution idea had been grabbing a discarded newspaper found by his planted spot and use it for lite shade. At least the paper had some slim transparency to it and he could read it while waiting for his job to get interesting.

July 11th 1943, New York Times. According to General Eisenhower, troops of allied forces have landed in Siclly. He had to guess at what he was reading a little. The print was too near his face and he'd only known it was the Times by having seen the title while the paper had been on the ground. Reading it felt like an eye test but in the reversal of what a doctor might do. Long distance and tiny, although here it was as if he were seeing the print on a large movie screen. Old news, the paper was from a day ago. The dang rag didn't seem to being making a difference in shielding him from the heat.

Giving up attempting to read the print too close to his face. The young detective pulled it off himself and in one hand attempted to crumple the pages inwards to a half fashioned ball, before throwing it away to in front of him. It hit a dirty mug, he hadn't quite realized was in the line of fire. He'd seen it when sitting down and even thought it was amusing part ways when the mug was utilized by passers-by. They were convinced of that he was the role he was playing. That was good and what he'd taken enjoyment in. What he didn't like was the exact thing further in thought. Of he knew he wasn't a bum and their pity on him wasn't deserved.

One person had thrown into the mug what looked like a penny and nickle. When another had thrown in. A child had tossed, and that item he wasn't sure on what it was. Whatever it was had hit the ceramic vessel with such a noise, he felt it impolite to look at what had thudding into it, when it happened. The reason not to check back then. What if the child should think he thought it offensive that the object was not loose change?

Now he picked up the mug to look at it more closely. Indeed he'd been right about the six cents. What he found as the result of the child he should have guessed in advance about. It was a toy but specifically a purie blue marble. When lifting out the marble to examine it's appearance better of taking in it's dark hue broken with tiny bubbles that had been captured forever in the glass. He began thinking of how much he wanted a glass of water just then and also how that would be a bad idea if he were to use the mug for it. Maybe now was a good time to take a break and find a better, clean cup to drink from.

The work as per normal to office duties were still taking place back at the agency. His job should only be trying to locate a body with the help of the police. Not attempting to discover if that body was still alive and reporting on the matter. Partlow wouldn't be pleased with him deviating from his task. Sullivan might use that fact to prevent him from taking the next high dollar case that came their way. Cheri knew what he was doing but he couldn't just waltz in with only her to back him up in with spur of the moment lies to cover up for his appearance. Could he just return to his apartment for the break?

No, he'd already dealt once today with avoiding his neighbors to keep his act unknown to them. He didn't want to risk being caught a second time. However what if it wasn't his neck of the woods he hung out in for the break? What if Cheri did him the favor? Let him stay at her place for a little? Her area of town had barely seen him in the past. He'd only visited her four times at her home. Twice to discuss facts acquired by both on the Y and Z shifts, they didn't want to talk about in the office. The another time it had simply been helping her out take care of some tasks she had a little trouble doing solo in her space. Another time still, him visiting had happened because his place had a scheduled fumigation happening to it, he couldn't stick around for. Her place had been the only one he knew he could stay at during the time without paying for it. She surely knew he could be trusted with her apartment's key and that he would hand it back gladly when done with it. All he had to do in turning it in would be greeting her outside the agency with it.

Having decided that was the best course of action. Getting up from the spot he'd been keeping to for. He looked at his watch, and took note it had been nearly three hours since getting to the alley. Moving away from it. Knowing better than to do the incriminating thing of walking inside the PBS Detective Agency. He got to the right position outside it and watched for Cheri to enter his space. Specifically his exact office at the agency. It had two windows looking out on to the street and if Cheri decided she needed to go into where he normally worked. Then he could grab her attention and ask the key question.

Moving the purie marble around between his fingers, keeping his attention focused on the windows. Y shift's sole worker entered into his view after a few minutes. He couldn't see what she was doing but the guess at what it was he knew was probably easy. She was likely either putting papers down on to his desk or collecting them. He hoped not collecting them for a single reason.

Her duties involving collecting papers from him could mean either. The chief wasn't happy with his handwriting and she had to read it over to then type it up to look more formal. That was the reason he wasn't thrilled with if that were the case. He'd gotten complaints about his handwriting a few times but he couldn't help how it was ingrained into him how to do the act. After all he thought and knew for a widespread fact, everyone had their own style of it. His just wasn't kindly accepted by those above him on the work totem pole and to a few others outside that environment. Another reason of this being one which didn't rub him the wrong way. It could simply be she was gathering his finished work he'd failed to present earlier to Partlow.

Snapping his thoughts out of thinking about what could she be doing in his office. Seeing the lady in deep muted copper with black hair, about to leave sight of the window nearest his desk. Chester took aim and threw the marble at the segmented panes of glass which made up his normal view of the world from his work space.

The blue glass ball with a sharp loud click did it's job as it struck the window. Cheri almost out of range from his field of vision turned towards where she'd heard the noise and then went to the window to investigate what had just happened. Seeing best assumed the source that had helped create the sound which had pinged the window. She got shocked at the sight that greeted her. Chester looked one step shy of a wreck but knowing him, surely that looked served some purpose.

Opening up the window then she shouted down to him. "What is it Chess-."

"I'm undercover," he knew it was rude to cut her off like that but standing there near his work place? That was a kin to being in the vicinity of his apartment right now. He just wanted to get the point of why he had stopped by fast.

It didn't take his co-worker long to figure out what he was up to. Cheri had compiled together what she'd figured out which to her knowledge was the last thing Chester had to work from on case facts. Since standard routes weren't helping much for the investigation, this was his answer. It didn't much fit exactly right for appearance and she wasn't hundred percent sure he knew that. To make her point to him of that observation, she exclaimed. "You don't look it totally. Scramble your hair."

"No," he answered.

That was somewhat at the core of what little vanity he had coming out in the simple reply given. He was proud that unlike others he'd heard complain about this over time in regards to themselves. Them saying they either had bad or unmanageable hair. His worked easily at being cropped to mostly just over an inch with leniency to that length on the top of his head which had a natural curl to it. That and making sure to on normal days always dress as formal to middle-class life as he could. Because of that, no one ever had cause to say he looked shabby.

It was pride, the opinion to thought fact of that made Cheri shake her head no as she disappeared from the window for a few seconds. When she returned, Chester noticed she's grabbed out a frederick fedora from the lost and found. Before she tossed it out the window to him, she made sure to alter it.

One swift punch into it's center, before grabbing it's brim and with both hands, to try crinkle it. Chester was sure if it's owner ever returned to the PBS Detective Agency, looking for it, they wouldn't be happy with how their property had been handled. When he snatched up the hat from the ground after having missed the catch of it while it had been in the air, he asked. "Can I stay at your place for a few hours? I can't go to my own place right now."

"Crime doesn't rest blondie." She delivered her reply to him sounding as ultra sweet and sarcastic as she could. It wasn't needed but for extra measure even batted her eye lashes while saying the words. Doing this she knew was being mean. Cheri guessed that the idea to act this way towards him had to do with her normal way to handle men wanting into her place. Brushing them off because with her experiences to most dates, they wanted to move too fast. To that thought in her judgement it meant her place was off limits. She knew Chester was trustworthy but he didn't truly need to be in her home currently.

Noting how the heat of the day was effecting him, did give her pause. She could see he was sweating and bet it was worse for what she couldn't see given how many layers of clothes it appeared he was wearing. Figuring this had to be the best way to get this nonsense to end faster of unintentionally giving himself heat stroke. She asked him, "would you like me to help here speed things up? Partlow hasn't been in his office for about an hour and Sullivan is listening to a forty-five."

He'd take the offer. Wondering what exactly she had in mind to that he commented. "Sure thing but I don't know what you could do up in my office. Unless you've located Fannon or know who does know his location."

The man wasn't dumb, she was grateful to that but knew he'd much more be soon. Her idea if it worked. It was risky. Also was baking in the sun. Although if trouble happened through this, it would mean he'd have better control over getting himself out of it. As opposed to needing medical attention and maybe drinking likely a gallon of cold water. Answering him, Cheri said. "Neither, but I'm sure I could get you in touch with the person or persons who would know where he was."

Leaning into being about to ask her how. This time it was she who cut him off even through he'd only been about to open his mouth. Shouting and leaning out the window, gripping the frame of it. She proclaimed to what sounded like the whole city, if however directed at him. "Denny!? Dennis Fannon is that you!? I've been looking everywhere for you! Have you heard what I have?! You're wanted sugar-plum!"

Taking her cue for him to scat by her breaking one hand from the window's frame. Motioning with it, wave flicking towards him pointed off to assumed beyond where he stood. Chester took a tight down grip on the hat she'd given him. Holding it firmly against his head he proceeded to start running away from the locality of his work place. She continued her shouting, now raising her voice even higher.

"You stay away until you don't look like something the cat dragged in! Denny, you had better run away from me now!"

As the young detective ran down the block and onto the next following it. Hearing his friend shout that way made him wonder a bit why she'd chosen the job she had. Yes, she did a good job as a secretary even if it wasn't what he knew she really wanted to do with her life. That being his job and the same held by the other man at the agency. Perhaps joining the agency was just her way of feeling close to what she wanted but couldn't have by unfair policy. At least he'd figured out early into their working relationship turning way fast to friendship, she had a knack for detective work. Putting aside that having pipes that could maybe put an opera singer who didn't need a microphone to shame. He betted she'd do great for a Broadway show if she ever decided to audition for one.

The shouting and his running to go with the act she'd thrown on him, was working. People were taking notice of him moving away from her voice. Him having the air of a fleeing small animal hearing predatory sounds endangering it's life. Under his breath him spoke to himself. "Very subtle Ms. Thigpen, very subtle."

Wondering how far he should be taking this act. That if Chief Partlow ever caught wind of the impersonation he was doing to get the job done. But hopefully more precisely had done, since him catching Chester now spelled work trouble. What would the chief do in his place? Maybe if mister Fannon really was dead, he should play into that role?

Pulling on his guess to mimicking acting out a heart attack. He made his way to stumbling over to the railing lining a set of steps outside a Gimbels. It wasn't far from the truth this act. He really wasn't feeling too great and frankly wanted only to drop on to the sidewalk right there and then. Not from any heart problems, but from the heat of the clothes cooking him. Red in the face he was sure, Chester gasped out as loud as he could. "I'm dead! Dear god I'm going to die! My wife, my wife she's right! I'm a goner!"

Departing the department store, having witnessed half of what the detective in disguise was doing. One former shopper named Diego MacQuoid who most of the time preferred people call him The Dusty Devil, frowned at the act as he ascended the stairs to greet the entrance to the sidewalk. Letting another go pass him, and placing what looked to be a rather heavy store labeled bag on the pavement. He told Chester just what he thought of him from this glancing introduction. "No, you're a lousy actor. What is it you're doing here? Trying to get a dime or two?"

Only peering up at the MacQuoid for a moment. The PBS employee wanted to see the face of the one who'd spoken to him. Was he really preforming that badly? Noting the bitter expression on the man's face, yes he wasn't a good actor. On the bright side at least he had six cents and a now gone marble to prove some bought into his attempt at performance.

Unsure what to say. Only who he was faking himself to be. Chester said to MacQuoid, "Dennis Fannon, I'm Dennis Fannon."

Shaking his head to the motion of no. Then Bending down to young detective. The Dusty Devil gave him a scrutinizing look. Even going so far as to grab part of Chester's last of four shirts layered to him, before saying. "And a much worse liar but then again that's the same thing is acting. Why do you want to claim you're D. Fannon? In this area of town, his home turf?"

Grabbing MacQuoid's hand off his striped dress shirt. Not wanting to tip his hat really to give the man a true answer. In the awkward silence the detective remembered something he'd been taught growing up his father used to say sometimes. Smile, it confuses people.

Rubbing a hand down his face to one side. Figuring out the grinning person, who he was sure now he was right to peg as an idiot. This led to The Dusty Devil to ask Chester. "Do you want to take responsibility for what he couldn't?"

Excited but wary. Knowing this was a break in the case, a connection to the missing man. Restraining his enthusiasm in his demeanor. Chester replied in question, "what does that responsibility entail?"

"200 dollars and a night with your wife for making my people wait for you to fulfill contract obligation. Me and a few people I work with, she'll be a great back pay." MacQuoid said, happy with response he'd given. Having just returned himself back to full height. Grabbing back his shopping bag, he wagged it a little in the air by way of it's handles before returning his attention back to Chester.

Dusty could see the man was in some kind of shock and wanted to see where that might lead to. He knew that to most men, talking about a night with their wife was acceptable given his work position granted him some power over them. But this fellow too over dressed for July's heat, wasn't a drifter. Not a stable person. Certainly no one to whom his work had a relationship with at least one he knew of. Work he knew was vast but for it's current clients under their thumb in this city. This person he felt being beyond an idiot, must have been full on ignorant of society's underbelly.

Chester was inwardly panicking. He should have never said he had a wife when he didn't. Even the real Dennis Fannon didn't have a wife. The case when given over to PBS Detective Agency, it was given by the man's employer. Not a loved one. If Cheri learned of the falsehood he's said. Worse yet, if this man figured out where Cheri was and thought she was actually married to him. He didn't want her to suffer the repercussions of his fibbing.

"Go suck a lemon." Was all Chester could think to say in response, glaring at MacQuoid holding the heavy looking shopping bag.

The reaction the words got, was not the wanted one. Not verbal confrontation in wanting to better understand what the disguised detective's connection to Fannon was. Or backing off at the insult which is how most would react. What he got instead was a swift action to the back of his head, by use of the loaded shopping bag, followed by his vision going to blackness.


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Going over to sit at his desk to reach for his phone, Private First Class officer Bayon Neot wondered again about the new company. The elderly lady who'd told him she worked for a detective agency named ACME and that her name was Jocelyn Deyriès. He'd never heard of them before. He didn't also put stock in her name. Why should he having never heard of her employer if they were real? Plus she in her advanced years doing work if that were true? Maybe she'd wandered onto the outside grounds for the fort unintentionally? That she was lucky she'd found her way into the check-in security office if something went wrong for her health. Senility he guessed but it would be improper of him not to place a call to the person she claimed to know, Sergeant Fuller.

After connecting to the sergeant's extension, only to get another filling in for the officer temporarily. A bathroom break, Neot thought to that. While waiting to speak with Fuller, he gave Jocelyn another glance. It was a disapproving one she'd seen before. He could tell that by her glaring at him. Adding a hunch to her reasoning for going to his office, a very unrealistic one. Neot stated and then asked, "he'll be on the line at any moment Ms. Deyriès. Is anything else I can help you with? Documents not meant for civilian eyes? Access to a JB-1 Bat missile?

Trying to ignore his attitude and make light of it, she replied. "I'm fine, I ate lunch about an hour ago."

He wished the Sergeant would get off the can faster. Surely Fuller's only response would be having her escorted away from the outside grounds and out of their hair? The lady was playing with him and the last thing she'd said to him, he felt proved that.

Wanting to just hang up the phone but knowing how that would be deemed inappropriate to anyone who decided to query about this incident in the afterwards. The officer could at least do one thing while on hold. He could just seem like he truly believed her game whatever it was. Before grabbing out a pen he intended to make use of in short time. That being to get her the number of the nearest social services agency, Neot questioned aloud. "You're a real detective?"

"Yes, and I assume you're here on the home front because of how pleasant you are?" When she answered him with that, she hoped it end his direct cynicism to her.

Noting the sudden voice of Sergeant Fuller on the other end of the phone. Neot almost jumped a little in his seat getting startled by it, as the voice asked what he was calling about. Putting aside his unprofessional thoughts about his curled silver haired guest. He said what thought he'd heard her say after she had introduced herself to him. "A Ms. Deyriès is here. She claims to know what happened to the missing shipments?"

Grabbing the phone's handset away from the officer, Jocelyn proceeded to as directly as allowed. Tell Fuller about her reason to be where she was. "That isn't why I'm here at the Fort, Sergeant. I'm going to repeat now what I told the gentleman, who called to speak with you, doubting me. I want to gain a better understanding how these weapons got lost, Sergeant. I want us to retrace the steps until things went beyond your officers' supervision. That's the first route I think is best to start with in uncovering clues as to what happened."

Fuller's reply, Jocelyn was sure Mr. Neot couldn't hear it. Narrowing her eyes at the officer and taking on a smug expression. The detective made certain he could see her look of satisfaction. His expression, what told her was he was in the dark about what she was being told. Sometimes she enjoyed witnessing another person's bewilderment and this was one of those times.

When the sergeant was done saying what he'd do for her to help with the investigation. She spoke into the handset at ask him. "Could you repeat what you told me to the officer I'm currently with?"

Understanding this need although unknowing it served a purpose beyond intention as he saw it. That intention beyond the norm being Jocelyn's urge to win respect from her skeptic. Returned handset back to the present officer. Once Fuller acknowledged him back on the line. Neot took on the look of a sorrowful hound who'd just done something bad and knew it, as the higher ranking officer spoke to him.

When the call was finally concluded, Neot said as he hung up his end of the line. "He'll get the same men on the job. You have authorization for shadowing and you are expected to do just that as they direct you to follow, understood?"

Taking a seat after choosing from a row of chairs along a wall which led to the door. Dropping her smug expression ever so slightly as to try and show she was still the victor. Although one that needed only not as much indulgence to that fact as earlier. She then answered, "with pride, very much so."


Had the road she was traveling on been created with any pride at all? Jocelyn pondered this while traveling to Fort Sherman's proper non-civilian entry area. The truck she was in, she almost thought it's driver on purpose was hitting every bump he could as the vehicle rolled on. Instead she thought it better believed it was only just bad shocks to the truck's system. The thing was all after traveling on dirt with large mixed gravel in places. With the military being on every concerned mind whether or not they actually worked for them. The military having a well deserved budget right now. She thought that likely not a lack of pride was what had shaped this road into being what it was but resource money being put into other more pressing uses.

Still with how the ride was feeling with random jolts from impact. She did a habit she'd been doing for ages whether in her younger days when it was horse and buggy to then the last 30 years when she'd been more often in cars. That when another was driving and she felt just the tiniest bit unsure of their skill at the reins or wheel. She gripped her hat to her head for safe keeping.

"No need to hold your hat here. I can't help the fact this road isn't paved." Was said by the driver, a man she learned at the check-in security office upon pick up was named Lex Martin. Not military she was surprised to learn, but a civilian the army had trusted business to like herself.

Struggling the against instinct to keep her left hand where it was before letting go of it's grip the the hat. She finally voiced her guess about the road. "Made in a hurry?"

The woman deserved an explanation, he knew this. After taking in a deep breath through the nose and releasing it in a huff. Lex answered, "the road yes but not the drop off location. When the place became active after years of disuse, the road which led into it had taken on being public. Due to the nature of what gets carried over now. Service officers and equipment, so forth. This route was fast tracked together in I'm told four days with a minimum of local government red tape."

As the fenced gate fast approached. Wanting to make light of their talk, he commented. "Maybe more civilians should be allowed here more often. Haven't been lucky enough to catch a USO show here. Sure the boys would like to see some pretty girls."

Paying the comment no attention in body language, eyes flicking about the fenced exterior of the military establishment of dull metal surfaced buildings, their colors in either muted green or dark gray. Verbally Jocelyn showed she had heard him and in her own way wanted that line of conversation to end, "I'm likely older than your mother."

Except for after showing ID and explaining presence returned with little advanced scheduling, to the guard at the gate. Non-engaging silence was the only follow up until the truck stopped. Lex Looked once to face the detective before motioning for her to stay where she was. While he exited the heavy vehicle to start fast walking to the nearest telephone booth.

Silence Jocelyn knew sometimes helped an investigation, it kept the mind focused on what truly mattered at that moment. At that moment is when another that mattered or at least appeared to be, locked on her probing eyes. They noted each other and he was the one to break the visual stalemate by running.

Without feeling much of her age, the ACME detective sprang from the tent topped truck. To then moving up beside the soldier, knocking him against the side of the building he'd been running along. The action throwing her in turn off balance, almost taking her down as well.

Shaky with forced effort to keep pace with the former runner's actions. Getting into a better stance to confront him. She placed her left hand on his nearest shoulder. Grip pressing it so tightly into him, to the point she was sure it caused pain.

Starting to grab at her hold on him, the man who looked much like any able army officer she'd seen over the last few years. Nothing to distinguish him much at all from his comrades except his face. The buzz cut of his hair, not helping his branded appearance. He stopped his struggle once he'd taken better note of her. "You're a threat? I'm having my chain yanked. For a described ACME war horse with a metal glove. I don't see much how you could fight in a war."

"It's a prosthetic, not a glove." The reply had come out with a growl in her voice because of his immediately dismissive attitude towards her, in her distaste of it. She'd had to explain her prosthetic lower right arm & hand to so many over the years, she was tired of doing it. This one being worn wasn't her first but by cursory glance numerous models she'd made over time, almost all had a similar look to each other. While the look of their metal altered, the internal distinctions. That's what sat them apart from one another. The model she currently was wearing was four years old and by what little wear it showed in it's present state. She was sure she could still use it effectively for several more years before replacing it again.

Laughing at all the thought inflated talk he'd heard of her, the supposed officer stated. "Now I'm even less scared."

"It has devices concealed in it. Call it a Swiss Army Knife but with even more useful functions. I could use some of them now if you'd like or you could explain yourself." She told him, hoping he wouldn't press further to make her reveal her mechanical surprises.

No longer believing her to be a threat, he pulled away her hand from himself and grinned at her. Shaking his head and in a bemused tone to her, replied. "The Tankadere Division or any of the other Divisions has nothing to fear from you."

Starting to walk away from her and again shaking his head. Baffled by words told to him, he felt now had been over exaggerated. Jocelyn grew more angry at him now than she'd been when he'd only verbally looked down his nose at her. Now she knew the man was a VILE agent, who likely did work in the Tankadere Division. That one being the one she'd had the most encounters with. She knew of a lot of the crimes they'd committed for what she and Patrick, along with others like them that also worked for ACME, had kept record of. They were just as much crafty lowlifes as the members that worked for VILE's other globally scattered divisions.

Using her pointer finger she then shot him in the left heel. It was a quick set of actions to make the baby pea sized bullet, fire. Better than it had been long ago when using her first model version. No waiting for a build up of pressure. No need to worry one of the miniature furnaces embedded in the apparatus might accidentally burn or scold her. The current version she now wore, it's pointer held she felt certain the world's most compact firearm. No coal needed. A pull back on the spring controlled trigger. The click into place of the steel ball from it's ring size five barrel to the firing chamber. The strike of the needle sized rod against the primer. A spark from that to the propellant. A series of further actions colliding with each other until result. The bullet it had fired made the false officer, yip in surprise. Then jerk the shot foot up for a moment before encouraging the man to turn around and face her, asking. "Your fake hand?"

Pointing the compact gun at the false officer, Jocelyn stated and questioned him. "Speaking of Divisions like that and knowing I've gained fear within certain circles of foul people. I assume you're a member of VILE. You know the fate of those missing shipments don't you, rotter?"

To the eye of one lacking knowledge to what was taking place. It looked like this. A detective, at that a detective who didn't work for the military police. Pointing at a person scared but not overly alarmed. That this person is also holding up his left foot ever so slightly as to keep pressure off it as much as he could, without removing it from the ground entirely. The intimidation from her? The reason to point, what could be construed as accusational behavior? What had he done to have this thrown on to him?

"What is going on here," shouted an officer now accompanying Lex. Both men puzzled at the sight as they joined the ACME employee by her side.

Making sure the false officer could see her pull back the trigger this time on the top side of her pointer finger. A bump of a freckle sized piece of copper which stood out on it by just over a hair's breadth, she hoped was visible to him. Jocelyn answered to Lex, "I strongly suspect he works for VILE. He might have to do with those missing shipments. I haven't had the chance to question him yet."

Co-worker or friend, unknown to the detective unfamiliar with uncommissioned and commissioned officers on the grounds of the base. The one that she hadn't met with prior, now with the truck driver, asked. "Ok, I get it you have your suspicions he might be some underhanded criminal. But finger pointing? You don't have to do that. I can get law enforcement here in a jif."

Unwavering in glaring at the false officer at having acknowledged the question and statement. Jocelyn answered, "it's a gun. If he tries to get away again without giving some answers, I'm going to fire at him again."

Not fearing retaliation from their guest law enforcement, both Lex and his unknown pal, decided she needed their intervention. For her sake and the man she was confronting. Grabbing down her right arm, and for to then note her compliance with the restraint however showing a glare about it. Letting them take also hold of her left arm as well to hold her in place & make sure she couldn't reach over to pull back on her gun's trigger. The location of which neither man was too sure where. Lex taking on an air of authority he had not in this place but hoped would still be respected. He told the ACME detective, "you question him in a space with walls, one door. No chance of running away and it's done with this Fort's staff, fully accountable to rule of law present, got that? No more shooting people without orders."

Unhappy but recognizing she could do nothing to argue with his words. Not wanting a complicated mess on her hands more so than it already was. She gently nodded her head yes before asking, "can I have my arms back now?"

Words were not needed, both men let go of the detective. Some might have been uttered if not for realizing fast, her next actions meant nothing unwise was about to happen. That of her reaching over from left to right. To grab at her prosthetic to the upper body. Then push it into better firmer positioning to fabric wrapped around what existed of the arm's reminder of elbow.

It hurt but the pain could have been worse. The injury could have been worse. The old lady could have shot him somewhere much more serious than a heal. But now caught and at that on a military base? These soldiers had access to weapons that paled a compact pistol. What if they turned some of those weapons on him? What if they lined up and asked him if he wanted a blindfold? What if they used interrogation techniques on him only reversed for those they were fighting overseas? The false officer, a VILE agent whose real name was Infilie B. Smuglar but preferred to go by the nickname of Brad the Blizzard. Kept having these thoughts race around and cloud his brain, as he was escorted into a room he'd never stepped foot in before.

Seeing a chair almost in his path upon entering the room. Temptation to relief from pain. Infilie was ready to sit down in it to get on with the suspected to come questioning except denial was instantly given. The moment the detective saw his intent to bend down to greet the chair, she'd moved it away from him.

At least the real military officers present seemed to share a little of his grievance with the lady's attitude towards him. They looked like they wanted to take action on to her, perhaps again restrain her if she took things too far a second time. The VILE agent wasn't eager to discover what else her Swiss Army Knife prosthetic contained. Hopefully the gun was it's only lethal tool.

Wanting to move away figuratively from what was coming next. Hoping he was right about the officers, Infilie asked, "are you going to arrest her for shooting me?"

The man that had joined Lex in company, Warren Axe, along with another named Calber Gunn and yet another named Mickey Howitzer, exchanged a puzzled looks. Then afterwards Gunn answered. "We don't have the legal authority to do something like that also if you really do work for VILE. Well then bucko, with what I've heard your side of the tracks does. When Sergeant Fuller catches wind of you. He definitely has the authority to get you sent away, at least until a judge says otherwise."

Blizzard swallowing the lump in his throat, having given up now on his ploy get the ACME employee removed from the scene. Now turned his head down to try and not make eye contact with any one present, his intent to look is if he were studying the ground. At this he came to a decision his peers would be outraged at him about if they had been present. He was going to spill his guts. Maybe then with him making present party's job easier. Then he might get a lighter prison sentence. If lucky, maybe even more lighter if VILE never realized what he'd done in the room, they'd spring him.

"I make sure the weapons are misplaced when they arrive here. Make sure they're near the pick-up location, we've managed to create. A break in the fencing that's camouflaged. This guidance is all I do, I swear."

The same thought seemed to come to everyone at once. At least those on the right side of the law. All of them wanted to speak up but then in remembering who actually had the best standing to speak. The investigator or more commonly called detective, that had been hired to discover what had happened to the missing weapons. Warren nodded to her direction indicating to let Jocelyn say it. "What happens to the weapons once they're out of your hands?"

After taking a breath before glancing to Jocelyn's feet to take note of where she was standing. The agent answered, "I'm told executions. People VILE wants gone without it ever being noticed has happened. The excess, we provide to other teams in our division for other jobs."

Knowing full well a murder could be committed but hidden was nothing new to the sleuth. She'd been hired to solve cases like that many times however this felt different. It had to be with how the malefactor had worded his reply. She had to find out, "how do these homicides get committed minus ever being noticed?"

"It's noticed a little from what I can tell from the newspapers and radio. But no one thinks it's deaths or if they do, not by gun fire." Infilie told her, smiling mildly as he did so.

The outlaw resisted the urge to move when the ACME employee moved in on him. Once making a show of moving her fabric gloved hand over her metal & leather one. Pausing over each metal finger tip for a moment before moving to the next in line. She queried him, "then what do us other folk think is killing these people?"

"The tremors at about Lexington and 2nd, Upper East Side. VILE does it's work on it targets. If anyone notices above, it's not a scientifically unfounded event happening there. But then if it's noticed directly, it's goodbye to the unimportant mole person. No one notices."

Jocelyn was sure her face then was a similar color to her hair. Trying not to let her fear show, turning to meet eyes with the officers in the room. She asked, "will any of you accept orders from me?"

A head shake to the effect of no came from Gunn. A somewhat considered verbal answer motioned to word of yes, came from Howitzer. Then added by Gunn rethinking his answer in head motion, since he felt now he had been wrong with it. He stated, "but we can speak to those who can give orders."

Shaking a little in stressed fear, loosing her outward battle to contain her emotions about what might be taking place. Actions she couldn't directly interfere with, that put people she knew, their lives at stake. One of them being of a friend she'd known for a long time. That she had not thought twice about when he'd told her where he had intended to go that very day.

"Good then, I have some very specific orders I need followed to a T and they need to be carried out as promptly as possible." Jocelyn told the officers, hoping despite unease about what was happening. That if things were done correctly on their part, then her idea would work out for the best.


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When Chester woke up he knew instantly the pain he felt had to be from the knock on the head he'd gotten. When he opened his eyes he found things weren't so different as they'd been shut. At least here it was cooler than it had been on East 60th Street. Temperature aside he almost couldn't see anything around him except a person he was unfamiliar with. At least he thought he was unfamiliar with. The detective could barely make out the man's features in the darkness they were in. Topping that problem the whole world was a shade of fuzzy to him. That being because minus his glasses, which he starting to feel his shirt pocket for once it dawned on him the less than 20/20 perception their lack of gave him.

"Dusty didn't want to carry you far for not wanting curious attention on him. I picked up after him. How much do you weigh buster?" The unknown asked, when noticing Chester rummage his shirt and then pants. For what was the freshly conscious man searching for, bewildered him. Surely not a gun or knife, given MacQuoid had knocked the man out quickly before proper suspicion had settled into his mind.

"Where am I and who are you?" Chester asked, not feeling in the mood to answer his second abductor. Giving up on locating his spectacles. Turning to instinct temporarily to squint before logic exerted it's self that narrowing his vision made little difference with the near blackness they were in.

Shaking his head at the questions. This being to the disbelief he'd answer them correctly. Then again soon the man would be dead so it didn't matter if the poor fellow knew who he was dealing with and where he was now. However if a miracle of unlucky fate came upon the guy, he doubted very much.

Coming a little nearer to the detective, the unknown decided to answer with. "Harper the Hurricane, and you're in the tunnels."

Remembering numerous matters of the news at once, Chester was about to voice his thought on where under New York City he was. That and what he was sure wasn't just an opinion. That Harper the Hurricane wasn't a real name, but some form of nickname. Until Harper grabbed him by one arm to lift him off the ground before swiftly kicking him right below one knee.

Feeling the further need to speak, the PBS employee stopped himself short intentionally when he felt the muzzle of a gun placed in aim between his shoulder blades. The man who'd assaulted him, had in part taken him down to where he was, and had either a strange nickname or awful real name. Then told Chester, "move with me."

The gun on him, made him not want to say a word but maybe Hurricane would be understanding to this needed to be voiced fact. Replying in a low voice, the detective said. "I can't see where I'm going. I don't have my glasses with me."

Before Harper replied vocally to Chester, what he did to start that was press the gun more deeply into the man's back. "All the better. I've grown used to the low light down here. You not seeing what's all around here. You not getting ideas about how to get away from me, works just fine."

Removing his hand from Chester's arm, Harper then gave another kick to his captive. This time right in behind a kneecap. That as the man suffering from astigmatism was about to fall. Harper grabbed ahold of him again and starting to walk forward, forcing the detective to do the same. This kick the vile man noticed, brought out compliance without needless chatter coming from his near blind hostage.


Visitor From Another AU
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The place made Linus feel unease and sadness as he entered with Patrick into the man made cavern. It many years back had served as a storage place for construction equipment and work base for those that had helped create it. Now it served a different purpose and not one he and his fellow homeless neighbors wanted it to. After it had been abandoned for years, they had taken to treating it like a new home far from law enforcement's prying eyes. But it was that last part about the subterranean real estate which had attracted it's most recent occupants. That had driven more friendly inhabitants out of it.

Stopping where he was, he motioned with Patrick's flashlight to the ground. The detective stopped in his tracks too at this and looked at where the flashlight was pointing. The body from what Patrick guessed had been there for days by it's look and smell.

Morbid curiosity taking over him, Patrick then crouched down beside the body to try and take in what he was seeing. The old man was grateful he didn't know the person. But what he wondered about was the cause of death? It didn't look like a normal murder but then again murder could be carried out in so many ways. If VILE really was behind this person's death. Annoyed by the lack of light, the ACME detective tried to motion to his friend to uncover his hand from the front of the flashlight, he'd been holding.

Linus let go only when realizing the detective was trying to do his job. Then again the homeless man thought, he could just tell his buddy what he'd seen happen. Not to this person but he was sure he knew the person's passing likely had happened one of two ways. Keeping his voice near a whisper, he told Patrick. "There are many other bodies down in this area. Patty-oh-burger, I can see what your looking at. Normal guns didn't do this. I can show you them."

Instant curiosity took over him then, as Patrick took back his flashlight and shined it about. It's beam catching visuals he wished it didn't, more dead bodies. As he moved it further around in the cavern to try and spot the abnormal guns mentioned. Himself not moving by way of Linus holding him back. A noise started creeping into earshot, footsteps.

No prompting was needed. Patrick shut off the flashlight as the footsteps grew louder as the unknowns approached. When the unknowns where in the same space as they but a distance off. A very good distance both men felt grateful for. One of the unknowns shouted into the darkness. The one who'd been behind the lead. The one that had, if Patrick's eyes where right in their dim setting, a gun pointed in the back of the other. "Maelstorm, I have a matter which needs to be tended to! Ended!"

The reply didn't start vocally. It started with the sound of more steps from the unseen. These sounded a little faster unlike the slower ones taken when the people who now could be seen, had entered the cavern. Vocally when it came, it made both Patrick & Linus's hair stand on end. "More than one matter, Hurricane. You weren't followed I believe but we aren't alone. I don't think it's the vermin who live around here. They'd know better than to bring a flashlight to this place."

I'm not prepared, I'm not prepared in the sense it matters. Thought Patrick as he got as low to the ground with Linus by his side, as he could. The dead body before both of them making it an uncomfortable matter to do. He felt sick with fear in now knowing who exactly working for VILE was in the cavern with them. He'd encountered Maelstorm before when he and Jocelyn were in Ontario. He was the leader behind a team in VILE named Storm. The case leading them into encountering the Storm team agents, had been dealing with a high profile theft which also was stained with some brutally carried out homicides. Not only was it's leader twisted in whatever guided his reasoning. He was also sick in how he liked to kill anyone connected to his works that he didn't want talking. But lastly what made him all the more worse to be feared is he was very intelligent. He had out smarted both detectives more than once on that case and in the end escaped their custody when they were convinced they had him cornered with no where to go.

The malefactor the ACME detective knew was looking for him and his friend. The one Patrick didn't know. He had not wavered from keeping his gun pointed at the back of other man unknown, in front of him. God, the once caramel brown now silver haired man, nearly said aloud. The word almost slipping out with at first wondering how Maelstorm could move about the mess of the area with confidence without the aid of a flashlight of his own. To realizing how he could do it, with the eccentric looking device fitted over his head and over this eyes. This made facts click together in his head in a way that made him wish that not only he had his hand gun with him. He also wished his partner was here with him, her with gun in hand. Gunnar Maelstrom was using a night vision pair of goggles.

Only military used those. It was military technology not available to the general public. The abnormal guns had to be military ones. The tremors that shouldn't have been, it was the weapons in use. Both he and Jocelyn were on the same case at that moment and him entering into it now had been unintentional.

One blur of a person named Harper behind himself holding a gun on him. Another blur of a person named Maelstorm at some distance roaming the area for an unknown person or persons in the same space. The muzzle of the gun felt less prominently embedded between his shoulder blades than it had been for sometime. Chester suspected why that was had to do with Harper's curiosity about Maelstorm's search. Was he ready to pull the trigger on Maelstorm's find if that should happen? While awful for the hidden, it was good to him.

Pretending his blurred vision surrounded by near darkness was merely the result of having his eyes shut. The detective working for PBS, dropped down, turned and kicked hard at Harper the Hurricane. Forcing him to loose his balance and fall to the ground, letting go of his pistol in that act.

The goon being stunned by the sudden hit and fall, didn't last long. As Chester felt for the gun to try and gain leverage in the situation. Not that he was bent on the idea to hurt the man. What he wanted was to not be in harm's way of him. Answers about what was going on would have been appreciated too and he felt the criminal wouldn't tell him in reverse circumstance. Harper was fast to move at trying to regain his missing firearm.

Locating the gun wasn't easy because of it's dark shape among dark shapes. Making out the shape of Harper against them was easier. Beating him to the punch of the direction he was reaching for was a different matter. As the second abductor started to take hold of the gun, Chester hit him in the lower arm of the one making the reach. The advantage then fell to the detective as he took hold of the gun. A shot was fired then but not by Chester. Maelstorm had decided to turn his attention on the people he could easily locate. The bullet had whizzed by close to each of them. A device used to get their attention was the thought on both Harper's and Chester's minds.

Then the team leader for Storm had his attention jarred. Knowing the man once thought to be another possible victim now was no longer under threat as he had been. Seeing he needed help to avoid yet another who intended him harm. Patrick plowed into the leader from the side. The knock hadn't sent Maelstorm off balance as it had Hurricane. It only caused him to stumble and much to Patrick's displeasure, not cause him to loose the grip he had on his gun.

"You're slaughtering people down here using military weapons to do the act aren't you!" Patrick shouted as the commanding VILE agent took in the sight of him.

Gunnar Maelstorm smiled at realizing who he had in his presence and more. The ACME Detective Agency had been a thorn VILE's side for as long as it's founding, even longer he was told. Patrick Gardener was as deeply embedded in that history as the others who worked for ACME. He knew how Gardener worked and that Gunnar knew made him lucky. His other half was missing, and as good as the man was at improvising. That didn't work here. That is unless the old man made it to what he'd just said aloud. The stock of M1 Garand rifles and 37mm Gun M3s. Aiming his gun in hand. He exclaimed, "you aren't alone and even better without your bag of tricks friend."

Linus knew he was so deeply in danger he didn't know what to do. He'd decided to stay frozen to where until not long ago, both him and Patrick had been on the ground. He knew he should run but felt helpless. He only wanted to grab Patrick. Pull him aside and get him out of there. But that help was at the mercy of another he considered the devil incarnate after all he knew the man had done. At least all he was aware of. The evidence, the bodies of men and women, he'd taken their lives. The mass grave Linus was in. Unless Patty's friends came to where they were right then, this was it.

More gun fire sounded off then but not from Maelstorm. The sound echoing around the cavern resulted in a few things. Linus giving the facial expression of one in shock at sudden death. Patrick dropping into a crouch and momentarily wondering who could have fired the shots. Gunnar flinching by instinct but then looking in the right direction to find out where the shots had come from.

The gun fire sounded off again. Chester was trying to make sure, as Harper tried to grapple with him for the firearm. That his aim while directed towards Maelstorm, didn't by mistake hit who else was standing a good distance off. That last shot had thudded into one of the dead bodies. The other shots he'd fired off had, hit the roof of the cavern. Hit derelict excavating equipment and lastly in a sharp sounding ping, hit against an anti-tank gun.

"Hey other guy! I'm nearly blind down here, go back to being ducked down and get away. I'll keep this Maelstorm person in check while you get the cops! Don't worry I'm a detective!" Chester shouted in the direction of the duo in danger from the senior VILE agent.

Studying the look on the younger detective's face told Maelstorm that he was indeed having vision problems. How he could hold such a job beyond having educated reasoning unless the person normally wore glasses? The thought a handicap man could do such a job amused him. The thought also told him despite the gun in the blind man's hand, he was actually harmless. As Gunnar pulled back on the trigger before firing, he wanted to share at least part of his thoughts openly. "He clearly isn't with your agency, Gardener. That makes this only a little less enjoyable."

The sound wasn't really what recorded in Chester's mind. It was the jolt of impact. The feel of it. The pain deepening and deepening in it's sensation through out his body. Where the bullet struck was causing the most of that but the pain couldn't be solely pinned down to one spot. It radiated through out his whole mid-section and chest, even down into where his legs started. Where it was in him it couldn't have been just muscle. Feeling with his fingers to just below his rib cage on the right side of his body. They pressed gently against the open wound. They felt blood sliding around them, surfacing from broken veins.

He didn't want to blackout. He'd done that once already today and that had been by forced matter. This would be forced matter too he realized but not like the blow to the head had done it. He had to stay awake. Things now he could hear were taking an interesting turn.

Seeing the lights entering the cavern would normally send Linus and others he lived with, packing in a heartbeat. Unlike when the confrontation started and he'd been spotted, now he didn't feel like a stunned animal not knowing what to do when faced with danger. This time he made sure to get out of the way. Of the cutthroats, the detectives, and the ones entering the area. The lights didn't seem interested in spotting him. Their focus was on those he knew good & evil. Slipping out into the tunnels came easy. He just wished his conscience forgiving him for the act would be more so but he doubted it.

At seeing the intrusion upon the space they and others affiliated to them, had been using to perform local executions in. Both Storm team VILE agents present had the same idea at the same time. To make their way over to the stolen high-powered arsenal and fire on the new company. Not wanting to put anything to chance of getting shot at. To ensure a thundering barrage of 30-06 Springfield cartridges didn't go blasting off at them. The holders of the copious of lanterns and flashlights were faster on their feet than the two men. As they shot by, Patrick noticed something about them which he didn't see when they were a distance off. Their dress almost looked military in nature and to top that aside from what looked like non-standard billy clubs. Some of them had handcuffs hanging off of their belts.

As both criminals were tackled and handcuffed, considering pulling one of the now slower moving men aside. Then deciding simple questioning might be better. The ACME detective asked one of the invading force, "who are you guys?"

The one among them that decided to take question. Patrick couldn't be sure because of lighting. That the invader looked pale in the face. Lighting or him taking in the sight of the mass grave they were standing in. Understandable to second explanation the old detective thought if that were true of the man's expression beyond his faded pigment appearance. Who wouldn't be feeling sick at such a sight unless they were used to seeing such a thing. Speaking up, the guessed sicked man answered. "Non officially here, sir."

"Excuse me?" Patrick was confused by the answer, but knew there had to be a good reason it had been said. He just wished he knew why.

After trying to shield his nose from the smell of the cavern's non-living. The man that had just spoken in reply that he wasn't there, answered again but clearing up the earlier comment. "Not officially with Fort Sherman. Reserve ready for serve but not in service, sir. Off record and not accountable by military law."

Jocelyn had put two and two together as well. Making that even better at least Patrick hoped he was right about his guess. He asked, "but you can bring in those two to the custody of law enforcement? Make sure your stolen firepower makes it to where it needs to be? Also not tell the normal operation of the law about people you've seen down here, not VILE agents?"

"What people here besides the ones with VILE?"

As the reply had come, the ACME employee knew the man had meant the question in jest. Then the unofficial, not present man pointed towards a spot off in the distance which was moving lightly with back against the floor. Adding, "is that man with VILE as well?"

Taking in a sharp breath at the realization one element in this event had been forgotten about. Patrick shouted, "not VILE and lord I hope not ready for heaven either! Do any of you people have medical training!?"

Pain had been consuming most of his focus, that and staying awake. From what he could gather it seemed like the cavalry had arrived. Confident sounding new voices questioning about the surroundings they were in. They also were drinking in noticing the place was apparently acting as an illegal home to their property. Chester could only take their word for that but it added up. While he could barely make out his surroundings. He had heard the vocal non-criminal speak of military weapons being put to use here. Were these men soldiers? He couldn't hear everything being said. The latest shout from the non-criminal he'd heard. Help for himself was coming he hoped. He could hear other shouting as well. The cavalry taking charge of handling Hurricane and Maelstrom. Both men complaining about being taken captive.

Despite all that was going on, one true lack of an answer about all this bothered him. The fate of Dennis Fannon. The PBS employee had a feeling the answer had been handed to him. When the non-criminal had shouted about the deeds being preformed by way of military weapons. Chief Partlow had been right if this was indeed true and that had made this investigation worthless. Fannon was dead as a new sick feeling in his gut told him. The smells to make one sick, surrounding him also he felt told the same message.


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For two days the Partlow, Bumpass and Sullivan Detective Agency had wondered what had happened to it's missing employee. That mystery ended when the middle name returned to work looking sheepish and was noticed to be wearing a hospital wristband, IDing him with basic information. Not removing the band had been a very conscious decision. Chester didn't want to hear of his mistake and he also felt lucky he'd been able to acquire new if however generic glasses while in the hospital. His misuse of time that while not documented in the books for what it had been of investigating a truth he didn't want to believe in. It had turned into a time misuse to the agency when he'd vanished for the days. Docked pay now and hoping he wouldn't get fired for it. If he had any luck at all he knew, they'd see the band and realize something bad had happened but wouldn't pin that bad to working on a case.

The wanted luck had come with his chief and Sullivan but not from Cheri. She didn't speak except once over the matter when seeing the band. The multi-job employee knew it likely connected to what had happened the other day and she had played a minor role in it. At least to her thought perspective. The connection for her had clicked together but she didn't ask the question Chester dreaded answering. Of the case and whatever happened to the subject of it. All she did ask about was, "our acting. Did that do this? Get you hurt? Were the suspected thugs VILE?"

Answering the questions was something Chester could only bring himself to do after a long pause of sitting at his desk and choosing until speaking, to avoid her looking at him. "Not directly and yes, the group VILE has been confirmed."

The day in it's hours passing that question, continued uneventful. No new cases were presented and the only work the agency had to deal with was the never ending flow of paperwork and phone calls it produced. Communication with various police stations and city hall over processing of their work, the acquiring of permits for investigations not fully taken underway yet due to red tape. The contacting of families and businesses over earlier created investigations, recently concluded plus ones in their initial phases of being put together.

It was almost closing time when a knock sounded at the door. Hopefulness at a new opportunity for work was what went through the minds of Partlow and Sullivan. For Cheri it was a disruption but her job to handle. Greeting whoever wanted the agency's time and showing them to whom they should be working with. Why she considered it a disruption wasn't too common for this time of the day. At this time she'd either be mentally getting ready to leave for home or getting ready for Y shift if asked to. Today at almost 5pm, she only wanted to have a long chat with her friend to discover why he'd vanished for two days beyond the obvious. For Chester the knock meant the same as it did to the other two offical detectives present with the exception of his heart wasn't in the idea of a new case. Just not then. He needed a little time.

The faces of the people Cheri greeted at the door were of people she didn't know. Expected. New faces entered the agency on a regular basis. These two entering the lobby area with her, looked like a married couple. At least she assumed they were. High up in their years, standing side by side as partners tended to do and also looking very formal for presentation. The secretary / unofficial detective dropped the assumption they were a couple when noticing only one wore a wedding band. The lady was wearing the ring and it by the look it had on her. She'd had started wearing it a long time ago. So that meant the man was a friend or relative? Taking the initiative to speak after Cheri had verbally welcomed them in, the man spoke. "I understand this is the agency a mister Chester Bumpass works for?"

A little shocked he knew off the bat to which of the formal investigative staff he wanted to speak to. Cheri wanted to discount the common reasoning behind how that could have happened, of a handled over business card at some point in time. She wanted to think this person more or appropriately noted this couple, had something to do with Chester's missing time. Answering the man's question, Cheri exclaimed and motioned to the door of Chester's office. "Yes, he's in."

Before the pair reached the office door, Cheri had to add. "You have business with him? I mean established business with him?"

Patting the door lightly before both he and his lady partner turned to face Cheri. The man answered, "nothing he'd want to brag about I'm sure. But Jocelyn and I hope to establish formal business with him. I figure it's owed."

Chester had heard the conversation beyond the door to his office. When the pair entered his space, shutting the door behind them, he eyed couple before commenting to the man. "Sir, while I don't recognize your face and I'm sure you remember why that is. I do remember your voice"

Putting hands to table top and leaning in. Speaking in a hushed tone, Patrick replied. "And I remember you firing off a gun like a mad man."

Not the sort of thing the young detective wanted to think about. The wild firing having not been his goal but done to instead send a halting warning to the VILE agent who'd been more in command than the one that had held him at very direct gun point. The shots being wild had come from the struggle he'd been facing to keep hold of the gun from Harper. Keeping his eyes fixed on the ACME detective that had just spoken, all Chester could think to do in response was moan.

Now the lady leaned into the table bracing her self with it by only her left hand. Continuing in the same tone as Patrick had, Jocelyn stated. "We're keeping our voices lowered so as to make sure your co-workers can't hear this conversation."

"Thank you," was as far as Chester could think to engage into the topic he was sure was still being spoken of. The urge to melt into his chair was what else he wanted to do, but knew that was impossible.

"My name is Patrick Gardener the person who was with me in that subway cavern was Linus Kade. You saved his life with that distraction you caused and likely mine as well. I am sure you discharging that gun as much as you did helped in sound, lead those reserve officers to us. Mrs. Jocelyn Deyriès and I, we head up a non-offical detective agency named ACME. It's a little under staffed right now. Interested?"

His brain shutting off hadn't been intentional. He knew what he was being asked but that isn't what his mouth decided to do. Question what he'd just heard, "what?"

Lowering into her voice more and giving a look that told Chester more of play than seriousness. Jocelyn using her right hand, forced him to pay attention to her, shifting his chin forward. She said, "we'd like to poach you into our agency."

He had heard this Mr. Gardener person correctly. Mrs. Deyriès had also confirmed it. He'd messed up and then corrected himself. He'd saved lives and they knew that. His illy executed action for which he could easily get reprimanded by his co-workers for. It had helped save the day.

No longer wanting to disappear, Chester got up from his desk and chair, to give the offer some thought. Yes, he had a job and he enjoyed it. Although he didn't want to feel he was in danger of getting fired any time soon. But if him disobeying leaving a case from what it had been altered to, working on it's first reason to exist only to discovered he'd been wrong. And being gone for days without being able to say the full explanation without lying?! Surely taking the job made sense if the worst happened however there would be one job aspect he's miss if he left. Taking a cue from his visitors in knowing this too was a matter better said in hushed tones. Chester asked, "do ladies get paid nicely at ACME?"

"I'm like to think I do and the other women in our employ." Jocelyn answered still keeping her voice low, unsure how to take the question from him.

While the two ACME detectives exchanged looks, Chester opened the door to his office. Then motioning with a finger of hooking it inwards a few times towards himself, he used it to prompt his friend as he spoke. "Cheri could you come in here?"

Doing as her friend had prompted, Cheri entered his office and shut the door behind herself. As the group spoke out of sight from the other employees curious to know what was taking place. Quieted voices not helping their intrigue and ever prying nature. All they got of the four way conversation before leaving for the day was a shout from the older man exclaiming him and the lady he'd come in with were going to be getting a ceiling fan. Followed by the older lady simply saying his name sharply before the soft speaking continued again.

The End


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Hello @systemcat.

I hope you don't mind that I held my comments until the end, that way I can read the whole thing. I really liked this a lot. I loved the name of the detective agency Partlow, Bumpass, and Sullivan (PBS..lol... and of course "Bumpass" being the real last name of the actor that plays the CHIEF on WoEiCS?) and of course a lot of fans that liked the WitWiCS? gameshow will love that Cheri's last name is Thigpen, and will look at her as the unofficial Chief, which I think was your intention--foreshadowing what ACME could become.

I liked the relationship between the characters a lot--Jocelyn and Patrick kind of reminded me of Zack and Ivy--although it was clear they weren't siblings--and also liked the relationship between Cheri and Patrick--it reminded me of Greg Lee and Lynn Thigpen on WitWiCS? and I also liked little touches, too, like Cheri tossing him the fedora, and the undercover outfit also reminded me of the clothes of Rockapella--and Patrick not wanting to mess his hair up for some reason reminded me both of Scott Leonard (the blonde guy from Rockapella and Zack from WoEiCS?) Patrick getting the thick rimmed glasses--foreshadowing the ACME CHIEF on WoEiCS?

I know from talking to you about this before, that you were trying to show Cheri as an unofficial ACME Detective and a Chief, in a time when, although "modern" she wouldn't have been able to have that kind of job. And believe me, I can sympathize.

If you look in the Sandbox on here, you will see the Halloween themed role play that Zack put up many years ago, that was basically like a game of Clue--guess who stole the wealthy socialite's necklace. It was set in the 1930s, so we all had to do some historical research to come up with characters specifically for the role play. So, I called myself Rhea Porter (lol) and said that I was a reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle, which, at the time was one of the few papers hiring women. But at the time there were no journalism schools out west that were admitting women, and I was like, "Oh, shit. (lol). But, then, I widened my search a little, and then I found Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio was the first college to admit both blacks and women; and I felt a little stupid; because I'm from Ohio, and I should have known that. Lol. So your use of the news and commercials on the radio was good.

But you might want to put the date at the beginning of the story; that way people will know the era that you're talking about, regardless whether the person reading it has read the other stories you've on here, and the fact that they overlap, since this is more detailed and prose only.

I liked that VILE criminals were "bad" guys--and I don't know if this was simply a nod to real--and fictional "bad guys" of that era--or a nod to the current Netflix "Carmen Sandiego" series that mixes ACME and VILE characters together--especially Maelstrom. But, I have to say, if the the part of the Netflix "Carmen Sandiego" series was a well-written as this one story, I'd actually WATCH it!! Lol!! Great job!!

OK, snack time, then bed!!


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First off thank you for the detailed review, I'm not used to my work getting that. 🙂

Going out of order here to explain somethings.

While CS elements started getting introduced into the AU in Iron and Steel, I strangely felt no need to bring up mentioning VILE until Smoke, Steam and Mirrors which introduced Jocelyn and Patrick. Until that story that yes, CS was established but the only bad guy groups really brought up were MAD and RAGE. Even through I've had this unwritten as of yet thought that Carmen worked for VILE before turning to RAGE. This VILE started getting a little defined in it's first AU appearance but here I wanted to take that further creating work teams in the international divisions. There wasn't an intent to look like it was crossing details with the Netflix version. When Chester is going over names of different mob organizations, except for Scolex Enterprises ( that decades later is renamed to MAD ) all those names came from reading about real mob activity in NYC historically.

Both Cheri and Chester neither has a sort of Chief role in this story. In fact the only hierarchy ideas relayed here are with Sergeant Fuller being the lead shown for the Fort Sherman, Chief Eli Partlow to PBS, and Maelstorm over Storm team. Part of the history I haven't written on yet is after both Jocelyn and Patrick pass on and ACME is well established. Those two do take on Chief roles to their detective teams, as do likely some others as ACME spreads out. Odds are in Loaded Stone I'll be writing Zack say something in regards to one or the other, likely Chester ( due to WoEiCS? ), about his days working for ACME.

About noting the time period this is set in. With comic based stories this tends to come out very fast, with the exception of Tidal Shifts, where I again also had a newspaper show a date and at that this didn't happen on the comic's first page. With prose work I have to figure out a subtle way to put that information out there. The only time in prose for my stuff where it was almost directly started at least the year setting was with Forge of Hate at it's start but only for the flashback prologue. The one that people might want to hit me over since I tried to nod when in history the setting was, was with Silver Light being in Nov. '89. Since I never said a year. When alley scene was taking place, I figured the newspaper shade idea was the best excuse to finally come out with when this was happening beyond nods to the era.

Patrick didn't have glasses but Chester did.

Also again I'd like to say thank you for something else. When you said you'd watch this. No one has made that comment over my work in a long time.

Your review has helped give me further inspiration to write the follow up to this story that again will help to fill the information gap in explaining the opening scene to Loaded Stone.
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I'm so glad that what I said was helpful to you.

We all try to help and encourage each other here, in whatever ways that are needed, and however we can, considering that even on the internet (which we all have a love/hate relationship with, at times. Lol) we are still somewhat limited by time-zones and sometimes, actual geographical distance. But the caring that you will find from people here is truly genuine, and is hard to find in a lot of other places--especially on-line.

Yeah, I clearly meant Chester was the one with the glasses, looking back on it. I guess I can chalk that up to late-night reading/reviewing (lol) which I have admit, I haven't done in a while; but as I said, I enjoyed your story very much, and I look forward to future installment of this story or perhaps seeing some of the characters pop up in other stories, or whatever.

Okay, I'm going to check out Facebook for a minute, and maybe have something to eat (it's always about food for me; even in my stories. Lol) and maybe I will try to come back later, and do a little more reading. Take care and ttyl. 🙂

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    Laverna Laverna: It’s sure to taste fowl