OtherSpace: “The Trilogy” – Log 2: Surviving

This scene picks up after Morning Train:

Raleigh Devrees, San Angeles chief of police, is reviewing the latest reports about the mass-murder-by-drone on Crawford Street. His brow is knit in consternation and concern.

John Bannister, San Angeles District Attorney, enters the office. “Any new information?” he inquires as he takes a seat in one of the visitor chairs. “Word is our two accomplices are safely ensconced in their prison cells. So far I have drafted charges of conspiracy to commit murder, terrorism, sabotage of public property, and accomplices to first degree murder, though if we find any more evidence I’ll gladly add to that pile.”

The chief sets aside his datapad for a moment, regarding the prosecutor. “Plenty of witness statements. Our friends from the train have been interrogated multiple times. They haven’t given up much that’s new. Or useful. And I think that’s probably by design.”

“No doubt they were kept in the dark. For all we know, they were hired and simply told to make a distraction for the attack. They may have no idea who, or where, the check came from, so long as they got it.” John says. “Not that it will help them. The case is too airtight that I can see, but I have a sneaking suspicion some hot shot defense lawyer is going to eat this one up for the publicity.”

“Maybe,” Devrees replies. He scratches his chin with the fingers of his left hand. “I’ll let your team deal with that. What bothers me right now is…the diversion itself.” He turns his chair a bit so he can look out over the government complex sprawling below. “The hijackers said I was meant to be lured back onto the train to avoid the cafe.” He looks to Bannister. “You were meant to keep going. You’re supposed to be dead.” His attention drifts back to the city. “What made them want to exclude me from the massacre?”

“The thought that I could have been blown to atoms on the basis of a simple decision is foremost on my mind at the moment.” John says, leaning back in his chair. “But that is an excellent question. They seemed to be targeting the more politically facing positions.” he says, then leaning forward to rest his head on his arms propped on his knees. “However, if I may be so bold, your death would have put the department into chaos. Which suggests to me, there is more to the game… this is only the first move.”

The chief tilts his head, considering. “Maybe they’re saving me for later.” He raps his fingers on the desktop, turning fully back around so he’s facing Bannister. “That feels personal. And that’s what I’m struggling with. If it is personal – who’s got this kind of an axe to grind with me? I’m wracking my brain. Obviously, plenty of petty criminals and a few mobsters hate me plenty. But enough to justify something like this?”

“I may remain a target as well.” Bannister says. “I’m going to be watching my step for a while, but I would agree, this is too big for some petty criminal’s attempt for payback. This is big, and far more organized, than a typical street thug or his gang.” he says, leaning back in his chair with a thoughtful look at the ceiling. “I have to wonder if their story about trying to prevent the Mystics from joining the Consortium has anything to do with it, or they were just blowing smoke up our asses to keep their cover.” he says with a sigh. “It could be either, it could be both, either way, we need to stop it and fast. I’ll have my team start searching case records for any possible clues.”

Devrees nods. “The Mystic thing seems too convenient. Definitely smoke.” His datapad pings. He picks it up from the desk and reviews the display. Frowns. “That took longer than I expected.” He looks at Bannister and says, “Consortium Intelligence is assuming oversight of the investigation. Like us, they expect this is part of some larger operational plan and it probably goes well beyond San Angeles. And, surprise-surprise, they’re concerned about the diversion protecting me while others remained targets.” He shrugs. “I’ll remain part of the investigative team, but they’re using me more for PR than anything. The department’s effectively sidelined.”

“Typical bureaucracy.” John says. “They can try to sideline me all they want, but I tend to take attempts on my life personally.” he says. “I’ll get you those case records.”

The chief shrugs. “I appreciate that. But I think you need to consider the possibility that the CIS is going to find ways to keep the fruit out of your hands too. It’s a potential interstellar terrorist plot. Beyond our jurisdiction. They’ll let us manage any locally focused cases, but I think CIS agents and prosecutors are chasing The Trilogy.”

John frowns, but nods, leaning back in the chair. “You’re right. It’d likely be a losing battle to try, but I intend to keep my ears to the ground.”

“I am damned curious about who’s behind this group, so you can bet I’ll play nice with the CIS as long as I can,” Devrees says. “Expect a visit from their lead investigator, by the way.” He checks the datapad again for reference. “Name’s Colclough. He’ll probably have some basic questions about the train incident.”

“I suspected as much.” John says. “I’ll answer whatever questions he has, but I hope he doesn’t waste time with rehashing what we already know.”

Devrees chuckles. “I absolutely expect him to waste time. They’re just giving us the appearance of hearing us out. The CIS has an abundance of covert surveillance technology – some of it probably outside the bounds of Consortium charter legality. They’ll just make us feel better, I suppose, knowing we’ve been heard.”

“Little comfort.” John says. “But, I guess it’s one way to find out where you stand in the grand scheme of things.”

The chief nods. He settles back into his chair and crosses his arms. “I’m adding some plain-clothes police to your protective detail, by the way. Perimeter security. I’m also requisitioning surveillance sweep drones, but the CIS may object to that simply because that’s how the massacre happened. Never mind that some eyes in the sky could help fend off a repeat or copycat attack.”

John nods. “Thanks. At least someone will be watching my back.” he says. “It’s appreciated. If you get some resistance about the drones, let me know, I’ll see if we can find a sympathetic judge who might be willing to sign a court order.”

“I’ll let you know,” Devrees says. “Meanwhile, I’d cancel any plans you might’ve had for taking in a show at the theater. Limit your exposure.”

John nods. “With a target on my back, I’m likely going to be hanging around the office most of the time.” he says, standing. “Speaking of which, It’s likely best if I head there now. Just…. one other request..” he says, looking to Devrees. “If you can spare a couple cruisers on patrol, have them keep an eye on my home. If I am a target, my family….” he says, trailing off a bit.

“I wouldn’t leave them out, no,” Devrees replies. “Don’t worry. We’ll dedicate some units to their protection.”

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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