Renaissance Man #1: "Ashes to Ashes"
Many do not know it, but there is a big chasm that separates Indigo City. Its an invisible border that divides the North and South of the city ever since the Great Impact over a year ago. It is not as simple like a river, or a mountain, but the effects of it go deeper than any trench or higher than any summit. Many go about their mundane lives not choosing to see it, but it is there.
Indigo City was not perfect before the Great Impact, but on that day it seemed that the prosperous isolated themselves into the North while the deprived scattered South, bringing with it a darkness that echoed loudly through every alley of its being. Every third Sunday, the darkness of Denton bear witness to the light from young Haley Winston. In her lies a hope that shines as brightly as the sun itself.
"I really wish I could do this more often," said Haley Winston.
I didn't know if she had a deeper meaning so I asked. "Feeding the less-fortunate at Saint Barnabus?"
Haley gave a shrug of her shoulders. "In a sense. I was referring more to just helping out the public. I feel I can do so much more."
"There are a lot of professions that do that Haley. Doctors, nurses, social workers; the list can get quite long."
"I know, but there is this deep joy I get when I come here and help. We not only pass out food to the hungry, but we also talk to these people. We get to know them. We..." Haley's sentence is cut short from a weeping woman entering the church grounds. It takes her but a second but she disrobes her apron and walks over to the woman. "Mam, are you okay?"
The woman's emotions choke the beginning of her sentence, but she manages with a moment. "My daughter is missing. I came to light a candle and pray for her return."
Haley gasps at the news. "Did you contact the police?"
"I have, but they can only do so much. Especially when one lives in Denton. All I can do now is pray."
I hear the conversation as I approach. "I don't mean to sound harsh, but could she have just ran away from home?
"Not my Maria," she answers emphatically. "Our neighborhood is littered with gangs and thugs."
She was right. My past duties with the Winston's made me aware of certain areas in the city that were prone to such influence. Denton had a variety of such influence. "Where do you live and the areas where your daughter is most commonly seen?"
"I live three blocks from here."
Damn it. She had to have been near 5th street. That area had been claimed by Armenians years ago, and when Armenians are involved then human trafficking usually followed.
I manage to shift my lonesome face into a smile I struggled to maintain. "I will make some calls, Mam. Do you have any others living with you?"
She nodded no, which was a relief of sorts. "You should stay with us until I make some calls."
"That's a great idea," Haley concurred. "If James says he can help than that is good enough for me."
5th Street and Franklin
Detective Kevin Murray had known Indigo City his entire life. Born and raised within the metropolis limits, Detective Murray symbolized what it meant to be from the "I.C.", that was of course before the Great Impact. Now he was a relic within its ever changing population.
"What we got, West?" Detective Murray asked as he entered a battered building with bodies stretched out across the floor.
The only non-uniformed officer in the room was Detective Michael West, Detective Murray's partner for the last two years. Murray towered over West with his sandy blonde hair and blue eyes to reveal nothing but more questions.
"Armenians," West answered with a huff. "Lots of them. Lots of injured ones."
"It must have been some major turf war throw down to drop this many bodies," Detective Murray responded.
West arose from his crouched position still analyzing the scene. "That's the crazy part. There are only Armenians here. Each one of these bodies have Armenian markings There are barely any shots fired in this place."
Detective Murray tried to contemplate what had happened. He had been to many organized crime scenes, but this was the weirdest he had ever seen. "Maybe it was a coup?"
"With only three gun shells in the entire room?" West answered with a chuckle. "That doesn't really fit their style. I'm no coroner, but there was definitely a fight here, but I don't know who or what did this.
"So we basically got squat?"
"You said it, I didn't." West stood silent for a moment until another possibility came to mind. "You think it was a Carrier?"
Detective Murray shot his partner a wicked stare out of the corner of his eyes. "I'd rather tell the Captain that we had nothing to go by at the moment."
Detective West chuckled. "The Captain gave you the standard speech this morning, huh?"
"Yep," Murray sneered, "I just feel the love every time I hear about our lack of numbers."
"Maybe we can pitch it as a Carrier organized crime group?"
"Bro, where do you come up with these things?" Detective Murray smiled.
"It's bound to happen."
"And then the CBTF would take over and boot us off the case."
"Detectives!" A uniformed officer announced with a curious look on his face. "You may want to see what we found on the roof top."
The two detectives shot each other a look. How much more weirder could the night turn, they each wondered. As they made their way upward on the stairway, the moment they opened the door they knew they would never forget this night.
A man dangled from the rooftop structure, gagged and naked. His eyes screamed help even though his mouth could not due to the duct tape over his mouth. His markings signaled Armenian, but the moment did not make him selective for help.
Everyone else tried to refrain from laughter. "Someone get this man off the ledge. And please get him some clothes." Ordered Detective Murray.
INDIGO CITY PRECINCT
"What do we got here, Detective?" Captain Rizzoli asked as he entered the observation room in interrogation.
Detective Murray snaps his answer as he keeps his eyes onto the double sided glass. "Armenians crime family got beaten real good in Denton."
"Typical turf war," Captain Rizzoli mumbled.
Detective Murray laughed. "Not quite, Sir. There was only one person left that could talk and he spins it differently. The rest are receiving treatment for the injuries."
The Captain stopped the coffee short of his lips. "That's interesting."
"Wait until you hear the story," Detective Murray responded with a devilish grin as he pressed the speaker button mounted onto the wall. "Go ahead West."
"Lets go over this one more time, Ari." Detective West said. "You are telling me that one guy took out your entire Armenian branch by himself?"
A man glanced at Detective West, still slightly shivering from when he was found hours ago. "Yes, that is what I am saying."
"And he appeared to be in his early twenties and he strolled in and took out a bunch of Armenian gangsters by himself."
Ari nodded. "You forgot that he was wearing a suit."
"How could I have left that out, Ari?" Detective West raced his hands through his hair, his face cracking a small smirk to further build a connection with the person across from him. "Tell me one more time, Ari. From the beginning when you heard the commotion."
"Like I said before, it happened so fast. I was getting a drink when I heard some noise from outside the front door."
"The door which was guarded by three armed men?" Detective West asked, trying to paint a clearer picture of what happened for the Captain.
Ari shook his head denying the claim. "We had three men guarding the door. Whether they were armed or not I do not know. I did not hear any gun fire."
"And this is when you encountered the man in the suit?"
Ari shook his head in shame. The look on his face lingered as he was reliving the moment all over again. "Yes. He kicked the door in and then threw one of the guards into a couple of us."
"And that is when the man in the suit went Bruce Lee on the rest of your gang?"
Ari nodded. "He was fast. His legs moved so swiftly. Before I could blink he had knocked out three more."
"And this is when your guys started to pull their guns out?" Detective West asked as his eyes shifted from his papers toward Ari. "This is my favorite part, so please describe it to me slowly. Then what did this man do to your group?"
"He took Taniel and we shot Taniel because he was in the way. Somehow he got Taniel's gun and shot three of us in the knees and foot."
"So the man did not come into the building with a gun?" The question was legitimate yet building intrigue within Detective West along with Detective Murray.
"I do not know if the man came with one or not. All I know is that he really did not need to use one if he did carry a gun."
"I count nine people he took out by himself before your guys could even catch a breathe," Detective West aid, trying to refocus Ari. "You think he was from another mafia family?
"You keep saying I am in this MAFIA. I do not know what you are talking about, so I cannot answer that part, but the man was very skilled. Like the assassins you see on the movies."
"Oh yes, the movies." Detective West interrupted as he searched his notes. "You said it was like a scene from the Matrix and the Bourne Identity?"
"They were very good movies?"
"I think so too, Ari, but young assassins don't just come strolling into Indigo City and start pummeling Armenians like they were grade school punks."
Ari nodded to agree with the comment. "Whether this man was assassin or not, the man moved like he had been very well trained."
There was a small knock on the room door to be followed by a man in a gray suit followed by another officer. He stood tall and confident, a certain aura of entitlement followed him. He moved like an expert in such scenarios and everyone that looked at him knew it.
"Don't say anymore , Ari." The man called out as he reached for a card from his jacket pocket, flipping it skillfully to reveal his name upon the card.
"Yo, hold up!" Detective Murray shouted as he exited the observation room into the hallway. "Who are you?"
"I am Ceasar Lucas from Adams, Moore, and Pierce, and I am representing Ari Kalajian."
"Come on man. How is Ari able to afford a lawyer from the Griffith's?" Detective Murray asked as soon as he recognized the address on the card. "Your suit just cries out Harvard law."
"How my client is able to retain me is not really of your concern, Detective. What really matters is that he is represented by me, and that we will be leaving now since no formal charges have been charged to my client." Ceasar snaps his fingers at Ari and signals him to leave. "We are going now."
"You know Ari was part of a major skirmish," Detctive West uttered. "He could really help us find out who did this."
"And I assure you that my client will help in anyway he can...just as long as it is through the Firm." Ceasar looked at the Detectives and smiled. "Good day, Detectives. Captain."
There is no specific way to interrogate someone. The Chinese rely on the cold to break the body. The Iranians rely more on stress points. It really is a different strokes for different folks type of deal. The most common misconception of interrogation is that physicality will break the man. It doesn't in most cases, not for the trained that is. Its actually the mental aspect of that man fearing more of what he does not want to endure any longer and than threatening him with that fear.
Today I am that fear.
I had gotten Ari to squeal fairly quickly about where to find one of the people above him with knowledge of what I needed to know. That led us to where I stood now, facing the man I had managed to obtain in a cold, dark room. He remained silent, wet and hooded, his wet clothes adding extra weight to his shackled self. He had remained that way since I had captured him, I guess trying to show his stoic nature.
I drag a chair closer to him, his head shifting toward the direction of the noise. I grab the hood and pull it off, his eyes squinting from what little light was in the room. I wait a little and smile when I realize he can finally recognize my face as his tormentor.
"Levon, I hear that you can help me with something?"
He does not answer, still trying to prove himself. I merely chuckle as I sit back further in the chair. To further establish a bond I ask him something again, but this time in his own Armenian language. "Are you going to help me, Levon?"
The question doesn't catch him off guard, its hearing me say it in his own language that throws him off.
"I will not talk," Levon replies adamantly.
I quickly respond with a hearty laugh. "Levon, I do not think you fully understand who I am. I am not FBI or a rival trying to move in on your turf, or even the CBTF. I could care less about them. You have to realize that I am the man who can end all the suffering you are enduring. All I need is an answer."
Levon remained still and silent, trying to prove to himself he could endure the situation. I slowly get up, moving the chair until I get to a table covered with a cloth. "Levon, I see you do not want to cooperate. Which is quite a shame since I wanted to get along.
I slowly unsheathe the cloth covering to reveal the tools of the trade. Some of the blades and clamps are for show. The others quite effective. I grab neither, but rope and a pool ball.
"I have been trained to endure such torture!" He shouts with confidence.
"Torture?" I repeat mockingly while tying a knot around the pool ball. "Who said anything about torture? I am going to tell you an Armenian story."
I whip the rope in a rotating motion as I walk around Levon, reciting a tell thought to many to be lost. "There was once a boy long ago. He was a happy boy raised in a small village not to far from the mountains. The boy had a sister around his age. Her name was Mariam. One day it was cold and Mariam went by the lake and started to walk on the lake even though their mother, Eva had told them not to so many times."
The rotating ball begins to get louder as I increase the force into the motion, yet maintaining a slow pace around Levon. "Mariam had fallen into the icy waters and the good brother jumped into the frigid waters. He went under which seemed like hours, searching for Mariam, and then when all hope was lost, a hand emerges like a phoenix among the ashes and both the siblings emerge from the waters. The boy is a hero. I always wanted to know what happened to that boy and his family."
"Do you know this story, Levon?" I ask, snapping the rope to a halt as Levon remain silent. I look at Levon one more time, giving him another chance to do something right in his life. "A girl went missing in your neighborhood two days ago. I want to find her. Where do I find this girl?"
Levon looks at me directly into my eyes, and that is when I know his next words would be true. "There is a man named Ruben. He hangs around a corner restaurant by Jefferson. You will find him there. If you find him, you will find the girl."
I drop the rope while exiting the room, the echo sounding like a canon shot from a battleship. I remain silent until Levon speaks. "Are you just going to leave me cold and shackled?"
"If I find the girl than you wont have to see me. You will be found. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. That I will promise you. If I do not find the girl than I will know what happened to that little boy and his family." With that I shut the door, only the sound of it slamming shut for Levon to meditate upon.