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To the Victor…
Chapter 15: Lost and Found
by Tog
(Part 1 of 2)


Tog sat in the day room waiting to hear from Ent and Mourning.  They were escorting Justine to where she had hidden the evidence she talked about.  Athena’s voice roused him from his thoughts.

“Tog, you have a telephone call.”

“I’ll take it in here.  Thanks.”

He picked up the phone and his mood changed considerably.

“Wow! It’s great to hear from you.  Yeah, we’re in the same place.  I’m actually a captain here now.  How are things in your part of the world?  Really?  Yes, of course we’ve got a spot for you.  When would you be coming in? Great, I’ll meet you at the airport.”

“Good news?” asked Lista, who had walked in just as he took the call.

“Yup, you are finally going to meet someone from my checkered past.”

“Cool, are they hot?”

“In an awkward teen phase sort of way, I guess.”

“Pfft.”

A flash from the telepad in the room signaled the return of Mourning Angel.

“We got burned,” said Mourning.

“She lied?”

“I don’t think so.  Someone found her drive, reformatted it, then filled it completely with silly little graphics to overwrite the memory.  I brought her back here, and Ent went to get some things from her place.  Whatever was on that drive is gone.  I think they’re probably onto her now too.”

“Dammit!”  I thought we had something that time.  Today was actually looking up too.”  Tog stormed out of the room leaving Mourning alone with Lista.

“Hey, Lis, you got a minute for some girl talk?”

“Always.”

“I think I’m ready.  You know?  With Beau.  I’ve done a lot of reading on it so I know what to expect, but I’m still really scared.  Any advice?”

“Tons!  Okay what do feel comfortable trying?”

Before Mourning could do more than blush they were interrupted by Athena telling Lista she had a phone call.  As she hung up, she told Mourning that she was sorry and that she’d be back in a while.  Something had come up.  Davis was alive.

~~~~~

Lista landed on the ledge outside Marcus’ office in Talos Island and tapped on the glass.  He let her in and helped her down.

“This is no time to be copping a feel, where is Davis?”

“I was contacted by a woman named Mrs. Donnovan.  She said Davis used to work for her husband’s family.  Last year, he called them saying he was scared and had no place to go.  Since then, he’s followed everyone that was at the house the night Dover was killed.  All that he could at least.  He contacted me this morning, hoping he could get to you.”

“It was three words.  Where.  Is.  Davis.  I’ll say them again and you can grunt when I get to the one that confused you.”

“I’ve missed you too.  Davis is in hiding, somewhere in England.  He contacted me a few days ago—“

“And you just call me now?”

“He contacted me a few days ago to see if I could get in touch with you.  When he was sure I could, he sent me a package to be given to you.  It arrived about 2 minutes before I called you.  You suck at waiting.”

“Oh.  What’s in it?”

“Not a clue.”

Lista opened the package and Marcus watched as her eyes grew wide.  She keyed her radio and waited for a response.

“Tog?  We need to get an escort team over to Marcus’ office right away.  He’ll fill you in.”

She turned back to Marcus.  “I’ve got to go.  Read this.  Don’t let anyone in here until Tog and the others get here, then go back to the Harbor with them.  This is why Devon was killed.”

Marcus nodded as she dove out of the window, then picked up the papers and began to read.

Ms. Monet, or whatever name you go by,

You know me as Davis, the Butler from the house of the late Brian Devon.  I have information that I feel you will find extremely interesting.

Once the police had left the house, I began to clean up Mr. Devon’s office.  In doing so, I found a compartment hidden in his desk.  Inside that compartment was a compact disk that contained the back up of the file that he was passing out to the other guests.  By the time I looked at it, I realized that there was no one at the house that weekend that I could really trust.

Having worked for a few families of influence in the past, I was able to arrange for a fictitious death and moved back to England.  From there, I was able to keep track of the various people from that weekend.  Here is what I’ve found.

Mrs. Forsythe seems to be exactly who she appears.  A self-serving, cruel woman who cares far more about her position and influence than she does any form of justice.

Senator and Mrs. Wilson cannot be trusted.  Their activities after they left the house were normal enough, but he seems to be too easily manipulated, and she seems all too happy to control him.

Mr. Abernathy is obviously suspect.  Even if he had no real knowledge of what was happening, or his wife’s involvement, he is far too close to the events.

Mr. Hastings is missing.  Even if I could locate him, I don’t think I could trust him.  The terms under which he left the Royal Army, and his utter ineptitude while serving Mr. Devon, force me to wonder if he might not have been involved in some way.

Mr. Gauthier came up quite ahead of the pack once the events at his hotel, and his role in them, came to light.

You, my dear, were the only one other than Mr. Gauthier that I really felt I could trust, and that was only after seeing you appear in full costume at a press conference for some hero school that Mr. Gauthier is sponsoring.  Of the two, you seem to be in a much better position to actually get the matter sorted.  Since I am not privy to your chosen name, I took what I now feel is a minimal risk in contacting Mr. Gauthier in the hope that he may still be on good terms with you.

Here, then, is the file that the four of them were to have been shown that night.

God be with you,

Charles Davis

Attached to the letter was the report that was to be handed out to Marcus and the others so many months ago at the house on the lake.

Starting in May of 2004, I enlisted a private investigator to do some digging on some rivals.  This included the tapping of phone lines.  While I did get some useful information from a few of these taps, I also found something much more sinister.  Because these taps were not exactly legal, I don’t think these recordings can be used as evidence.  For that reason, I am letting the four of you know just what was said.  I chose you, because you were all named in some way that indicated you were being used.  You were to be involved in something that I’m trusting you did not know about.  I’m passing this on in the hopes that you will be able to stop this plan on each of your ends.

 

Results from the wire tap on the office phones of Mr. Reginald Danforth.

Report submitted Oct 14, 2004

 

Date: June 30, 2004

Time: 1838 EDT

Subjects: Reginald Danforth (RD), Unknown (UK).

UK: Yes?

RD: It’s me.

UK: News?

RD: Things are going well.  The code is in place, and working perfectly.  The test on Gauthier’s poker game should come off without a hitch.

UK: Very good.  We will be switching to a new print medium now that the newspaper has been compromised.  I’ve looked into some alternatives, and I’ve found that Forsythe Publishing has a weekly astrology magazine that includes a section on tarot cards.  Little will have to change to incorporate the code to the new format.

RD: Good.  It’s looking like this will go smoother than we planned.  You sure you don’t want to be my running mate?

UK: I have a head for politics, not a face for them.  Until your next report.

Call terminated at 18:39.  No trace on destination number.

 

Date July 21, 2004

Time: 1837 EDT

Subjects: Reginald Danforth (RD) and Unknown (UK).

UK: Yes?

RD: It’s me.

UK: How is the gel coming?

RD: It’s looking good.  We’re getting almost as much out as is going in.  Look for synthetic chlorophyll powered vehicles to complete federal testing sometime next year.  Once we have the… did you hear that?  Some kind of static on the line.

UK: I don’t hear it.  I’ll run a sweep from here.

Recording terminated 1837 due to extreme potential for discovery.

 

Date August 11, 2004

Time: 1837 EDT

Subjects: Reginald Danforth (RD) and Unknown (UK).

UK: Yes?

RD: It’s me.  Good news from the R and D front.  We’ve managed to get a mole into Abernathy’s operation and he says there will be no problem at all in setting up some backdoor access through the BIOS on the new machines being sent to the feds.

UK: Excellent.  Any word on the Senators?

RD: Yeah.  Thompkins’ staff is too tight to get anyone in, but Wilson has a spot open.  It’s a typist position, so we’ll be able to get some really good information from them.

UK: Very good.  I’ve set some other items in motion.  They will need some follow up in the coming months.

RD: Not a problem.

Call terminated at 1838.  Traced to Paragon City.

 

Date August 25, 2004

Time: 1845 EDT

Subjects: Reginald Danforth (RD) and Unknown (UK).

UK: Yes?

RD: It’s me.

UK: You’re late.

RD: I had a tail.

UK: Do you need support?

RD: My staff got it handled.

UK: Very well.  Where do we stand on the gel?

RD: We’ve got the plant all lined up.  How are things on your end?

UK: Proceeding as planned.

Call Terminated at 1846.  Traced to Galaxy City area of Paragon City.

 

Date October 6, 2004

Time: 1837 EDT

Subjects: Reginald Danforth (RD) and Unknown (UK).

UK: Yes?

RD: It’s me.  We’re all set on this end.  When do you want the meetings to take place?”

UK: No sooner than the 30th.  I still have some preparations to make.  Send out the invitations on the 20th, make them urgent but not critical.

RD: No problem.

Call Terminated at 1837.  Traced to Constellation Way in Galaxy City.

 

Date: October 11, 2004

Time: 1343 EDT

Subjects: Danforth (RD) and Unknown (UK).

UK: Yes?

RD: It’s me.

UK: This is very unusual.  Is there a problem?

RD: Not at all.  Everything is arranged and will be handled next weekend.  I’m also getting worried about a rise in hero activity around here.  I think I’d feel better if I were to have my data backed up at your location and my system purged.

UK: Do you really feel the threat is that significant?

RD: I do.  There are some local gangs active in the area that are attracting a lot of attention to this office.  I’d hate to have this operation discovered by some stupid hero barging in to save me from some petty threat.

UK: Very well.  I’ll have a courier there within the hour.

RD: I’ll be ready.

Call terminated at 1344.  Trace complete.  Destination confirmed as Shipping Office, Warehouse 8, Constellation Way, Galaxy City.

 

As I trust you can all see, some unknown groups is attempting to either use your services or infiltrate your offices for something far more sinister than just turning a buck.

Now that you’ve all had a change to read the transcript for yourselves, I’d like to go over some Ideas I have to stop them.

 Marcus gave a low whistle and set down the report.

~~~~~

Lista arrived at warehouse 8 just as the sun dipped down for the night.  The place looked abandoned and she hoped that anything moved here a year ago would still be present.

Hovering to avoid making noise, she advanced down the hallway to the first intersection.  Ahead of her, the hallway continued.  To her left and right were large storage areas.  She decided to try the right side first.  Nothing but crates.  The left side was the same.  She continued up the hallway to the next intersection.  This time the right side was not empty.

~~~~~

Tog arrived at Marcus’ office with Sliss, HAAL, and Mourning.  Tog went into the office while the others held a position outside.

“Okay, Marcus, what’s up?”

“Lis came here to pick up a package from the butler at that house last year.  She read through the file, then told me to call you and took off.  You don’t think she’s going to do anything stupid do you?”

“No, not stupid.  Reckless and impulsive; possibly self destructive, sure, but not stupid.  She runs by herself a lot.  She’s good at it.  If she gets in too deep, she’ll fall back.  I wouldn’t worry about her.  For now, let’s get you back to the Harbor.”  He keyed his Radio.  “Ready, Sliss.”

The office around Marcus vanished in a flash of light.  When the light faded, he was in the train station.  HAAL, was creating force fields around him while Sliss had already left on the train to secure the next stop, where Ent and Epim were waiting for them.

~~~~~

Lista peered through a gap in the crates.  Four robots stood in front of an office door.  None looked to be that heavily armed, but they were still quite out of place.  She readied herself for combat.  A few cleansing breaths, one last look around and she was off.  Her moment of focus boosted her power significantly, and she unleashed a swath of frigid air at the robots.  They drew what weapons they had, but two more rapid ice blasts made that a pointless gesture for the pair on the right.  As the one on the far left fired at her, she dove behind a crate only to pop up and freeze it solid.  Three more ice blasts put down the one remaining robot, and the fourth was taken out before it ever had a chance to repeat its attack.

As smoothly as that went, it wasn’t smooth enough.  She could hear the sound of a great deal of activity coming from the corridor on the opposite side of the hall.  Dozens of metallic feet striking the ground in rapid succession were headed her way.

Dammit.  Looks like this is one of those running away things, she thought, and leapt into the air.  She came out of the room and into the hallway just ahead of the advancing robots.  They were all around three feet tall, and seemed to be heavily armored and well armed.  She banked hard and accelerated down the hallway in a hail of laser fire.  Just for a moment, she ducked behind a crate and summoned an ice storm to block the hall.  It might not hurt them, or even discourage them, but there was a chance the ice shards might refract the lasers and give her a slight edge.

As she approached the first intersection again, her heart sank.  There before her, on both sides of the hall, were dozens more of the little robots.

Okay, this sucks.

She dropped as low to the floor as she could, hoping they wouldn’t fire if there was a chance they could hit each other.  Or maybe they would hit each other and take some of them out of the fight.  This hope quickly vanished when she saw them aim for a spot between the ones on the opposite side and fire a set of bursts that blocked the hall completely. 

Fire lanes?  Seriously?

She pulled up hard and began to use every evasive move she could think of as the flashes of light pulsed around her, hissing as they vaporized what little water was in the air.

How the hell did I make it thorough that?

There was now only one long hall between her and the door.  A quick glance behind her showed the robots in pursuit, but not firing.  She had just begun to think it was odd when she felt the skin on her fingers split in several places.  This was followed by her arms folding in and a similar sensation of the skin splitting on her face and shoulders. 

She had hit something.  Something hard to see, something that wasn’t there moments before.

Her speed slowed as she strained against whatever was in her path, until there was a sudden release of pressure in front of her and a loud metallic snap.  She lurched forward one last time and collapsed to the floor, trapped in a fine wire mesh net.

The net was designed in a way that when something hit it with enough speed, the frame would collapse on its hinges at the corners and midpoints, closing around the subject before they had a chance to fully stop.  The tips of two of the arms were powerful magnets that held the arms shut against all but the strongest of heroes.  The mesh was made of a fine wire made from some alloy with a very high tensile strength.  Some may have been able to get thorough it, but Lista was stopped dead.

She took all of this in very quickly and formed a plan that just might get her out, but before she could begin, a sudden pressure in her leg and the dull thud of an impact distracted her.  She looked down to see a large dart in her thigh, and feel a slight burning sensation spreading up her leg.  The burning soon turned to a cold numbness and the dart blurred away to blackness.

~~~~~

TO CHAPTER 15.2 >






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