Chapter Four: World News
London, England – June 3rd, 2000
“What do you mean, she’s not there?” Quentin Travers, head of the International Watchers Council roared over the phone at his operative that had been assigned to watch the progress that Slayer Lehane was making in prison, and now was being told that she’d been released and disappeared from their radar. Quentin listens to the operative speak for a few more seconds and then slams the phone down on the cradle.
“Completely unacceptable.” He mutters angrily, striding around his desk and out of his office, completely ignoring his assistant Lydia Chalmers as she calls out to him from her desk in the adjoining room as he continues right through to the exit of that room.
He makes his way down a corridor and enters another office a few yards from the entrance to his.
“Did you know about this?!” Quentin demands angrily of the second most senior official in the council, Roger Windham-Pryce, the father of the slayer in question’s ex-watcher, who was apparently just as in the dark as to Faith’s whereabouts as he (Quentin) was.
“I don’t even know what the hell your talking about Travers.” Roger replies irritably. “So why don’t you fill me in?”
“Slayer Lehane was taken out of prison sometime between April 14th and three days ago. The operative I had watching her had been called away to help with a situation in San Francisco and was gone for close to a month and a half. When he came back, he was informed she’d been exonerated due to the confession of another, and the prison staff refused to give any further information.” Quentin informs the deputy head of operations, who pales at the news.
“That is.. unfortunate.” Roger agrees. “And there are no leads?”
“None, other than we know she is no longer in California.” Travers replies.
“So we get someone to find her.” Roger suggests. “The wetworks team has been complaining of inactivity lately, let them flex their muscles.”
“Indeed.” Quentin states, dropping into his chair as a thoughtful expression comes over his face. “Yes that will do very well.”
Baltimore, Maryland - August 21st, 2000
Detective Vernon Holley looked down at the four badly burned bodies inside the alleyway dumpster with a grim expression on his face. He keeps his gaze on the four corpses for a moment before glancing around the garbage littered concrete around the base of the dumpster, shifting around the debris with his foot and letting out a sigh of relief as he catches sight of a wallet laying amidst the trash, and reaches down to pick it up.
Holding it up to his face and flipping it open, he lets out a colorful string of curses as he sees that the identification card is for a British national named Thomas Huntsman.
“Find something Vern?” Detective Edward Norris questions, making his way over from where he had been examining the tire treads imprinted into the tarmac at the mouth of the alleyway. Vernon gives him a dry look before tossing the wallet across the distance where the other detective catches it, taking a look himself. “Fuck. We just had to pull this one.” The veteran detective curses as he sees that they’ve just stumbled on an international incident.
“Rawls is gonna be pissed.” Vernon comments, taking another look at the bodies in the dumpster.
Raven looked up from her spot on the stoop as a folded newspaper lands on the step below her feet and sees Snipes and Ava standing at the base of the stoop.
“They found the bodies.” Ava says tonelessly, pulling a cigarette out and lighting it as she looks around the street, her eyes searching for cops before she turns back to face Raven again.
“So?” Raven questions, reaching down to pick up the paper. “Your acid took care of them ever being identified.”
“Yeah, but none of us noticed the wallet that one of them dropped.” Snipes replies, looking grim. “The cops have it, and with one identification, it won’t be too hard for them to narrow down the identities of the other three.”
“Shit.” The dark slayer curses, flipping open the paper to see the small headline on the bottom of the front page ’British diplomat found murdered’
“This is horseshit.” She comments a moment later. “Those bastids were no goddamn diplomats, they were assassins sent by one of my former employers.” She pauses for a moment as she skims the brief article. “Do Spiros and the Greek know about this?”
“I don’t know.” Ava replies, with uncertainty in her voice. “I can’t imagine they can be all that pleased with any of us if they do.”
“Where’s Mick?” Raven questions, a bit surprised that the Irishman hadn’t come up with the other two.
“Down at the diner with Von, sitting in on the meeting with Proposition Joe.” Snipes replies. “He said he’d page one of us if Spiros mentioned anything.”
“This says that they don’t have any leads.” Raven comments, looking up from the paper and dropping it back onto the step.
“Doesn’t matter.” Ava responds. “Seen and done enough of this kinda shit to know that there will be an investigation into the deaths of four foreign tourists, one of which is an diplomat on-paper at the least, it’s too high-profile.”
“Ava’s right.” Snipes agrees. “We all are going to need to lay low for a while at least, so aside from any jobs for the Greek, we can’t draw attention.”
“What do you suggest?” Raven asks, taking her own sweeping look up and down the expanse of the streets that meet at the corner she is currently managing, having left Shortstack in charge of Ice’s old corner while she was over here.
“No more dropping asshole Brits, for starters.” Ava says dryly.
“I can’t guarantee that they aren’t gonna try again.” Raven bemoans, rubbing at her temples as she feels a headache building from the stress brought on by the re-appearance of the council in her life for the first time in over a year.
“If they do, then we’ll just have to be more discrete about it.” Ava says after a couple moments, breaking the silence that has fallen upon the three enforcers. “We can’t leave any more foreign bodies in Baltimore.”
Raven gives a nod of agreement, her gaze returning to the other two enforcers.
“One more thing, we need to make sure that Shortstack and Blim are not going to speak out of turn, especially to the cops.” Snipes says, glancing from Raven to Ava as he speaks.
“Shortstack wouldn’t talk to cops if they were holding a gun to her head.” Raven defends her underling and trainee enforcer.
“And Blim?” the black man presses, receiving a shrug from Ava.
“Hard to say, he did turn on White Mike quick enough.” The red and black haired woman replies uncertainly. “I’ll keep an eye on him, and have either Jammer or Frog watch him when I can’t, make sure the cops don’t try to flip him if it comes down to it.” Ava goes silent for a moment. “As it stands right now, the police have no reason to suspect any of us right now, Shortstack and Blim included, and they won’t know about why those four were here since we burned the file on Raven with them.”
“So we just wait for it to blow over then?” Snipes asks dubiously.
“Not like we have many options, not without alerting Spiros.” Ava rejoins.
“Fine.” Snipes finally acquiesces. “But this could get really bad, really quick.”
“I know.” Faith replies, feeling uncertain for the first time in months.
“Autopsies came back on those three John Does with that British dip, two of them were too burned to be identified, but we got a positive ID on the third.” Vernon told his partner and Major Rawls as the three sat in the Major’s office. “Vic’s name is Frank Curtis, he’s an antiques dealer, at least according to the records we were able to dig up. Neither have any warrants in this country or the UK, they both came up clean.”
Rawls gave a short nod as he looked over the file on his desk, his eyes shooting back and forth over the words on the page.
“Do we have any leads on this?” The major inquires as he finally looks up at the two homicide detectives.
“Not yet, but the way the bodies were disposed of screams execution, and given the location it was more than likely drug related.” Norris replies.
“We’re building a list of the crews within a quarter mile of the dump site in each direction, see if we can’t find someone who maybe saw something.” Holley adds.
“Get this taken care of quickly, and quietly.” Rawls orders. “I don’t wanna hear anything more of this in the papers, unless it’s that we’ve solved this case or made significant progress. Now get out of here, I have a meeting with the Mayor and the Commissioner in a half hour over this bullshit.”
To Be Continued…