Criticality (7): Jason Saint-Medieval, P.C.
Second Earth Special Police Force Base
“Let’s go over it, again!” Nayra Jeeves emphasized by slamming his fist on the conference room table.
Commissioner Gyro peered at Nayra first before swinging his eyes over to Sylvia. Thankfully, she was remaining calm, as the agent from Internal Affairs attempted to get a rise out of him or, at minimum, rattle her. There was history associated with this procedural investigation, and at least one person in this room was unwilling to let the past be the past.
Visibly rattled, Sylvia might not have been, but emotionally rattled, the Commissioner could tell she was. He had no question of her forthrightness in the matters that were being probed, but there was something being held back. Something was complicating things from within and not necessarily in an eating away manner either. This was more of an outwardly projected, worried concern – the furthest thing from concern for self.
“Let’s calm it down some,” Commissioner Gyro suggested.
The suggestion met with the ire of Nayra, “What kind of an organization are you running around here, Commissioner? Out of your super elite, crack unit, I now have two of your Police Force Officers under investigation – one suspended, pending. This whole entire place reeks of your influence, and I am going to continue to trace the dots until they stop at your office with a box for your belongings.”
Bringing up the past was pointless, but it was important to note how demented Nayra had become. Back on Earth, under Commissioner Gyro, the Internal Affairs agent was the most crooked cop that existed out of that unit. In a sick twist of universal fate, the agent had resurfaced some while later on Second Earth in this new capacity and had never gotten over his outing from back in the day. It was ironic. Who did he promise not to out in order to garner that position?
Ever since, the microscope of legal scrutiny had been tightened around the Second Earth Special Police Force like a noose just waiting for the chair to be kicked out from under the Commissioner’s legs. And there was no secret that Nayra wanted to bring his former superior officer down.
That part about Pete being suspended was technically true, however, the Space Force had overridden the directive in exchange for Commissioner Gyro’s full cooperation with Murk and Chico’s activities. The Space Force Soldiers were able to make the justification that extenuating circumstances contributed to the rugged cop’s previous mental instabilities and then used the legendary work he had done on the spam case to vouch for his incredible worth. Unfortunately, that angle would only work once.
If Sylvia were to be dragged down by Nayra, a pattern of corruption could be established (whether it existed or not), and with the Space Force otherwise being indifferent to the proceedings, the Second Earth Special Police Force’s affairs would need to be opened up and made to be public, so the effectiveness of the Commissioner’s tight-knit group would all but wane in the fervor of media crucifixion. This was a big deal, and one Internal Affairs Agent could not only bring down that unit but the fast-approaching interests of the leading government authority in the universe.
“I never thought I’d see the day when Sylvia would be in more trouble than Pete,” Julian admitted.
“It looks bad though – ,” Murk prefaced, “worse than anything we had to address for Police Force Officer Rogue.”
“Man, fu– Nayra!” Pete said agitatedly. “He was the worst of the worst – on the take, drugs, extortion. He was way worse than me. True, I bent some rules. He never followed them to begin with!”
“I sincerely hope Commissioner Gyro has an angle to play on this one,” Chico stated while trying to see if he could squint through the tiny holes that were threaded to hold the closed blinds in place.
The water cooler gurgled as Julian filled up his second conical-shaped cup of the hour. He walked back over to Pete as they all stood in front of the shut and locked conference room door awaiting the verdict of the judgment Nayra would surely pass.
“His name was Glove of the Shokan,” Sylvia spoke up for herself while sticking to her original story, “and he is their current leader.”
“It was a martial arts tournament,” Nayra said skeptically, “why would the Shokan who had already been eliminated be up in the box suite of someone from the Djibouti Clan?”
Repeating herself, Sylvia added a little bit of attitude to the response, “I already told you, there is a blood feud between those two clans.”
It was an opportunity to pounce on the belligerent demeanor change which meant Nayra was wearing Sylvia down getting closer to the point of slippage, “Don’t take that tone with me. You’re the one who can’t explain how none of Satori Diebold’s camera crew’s tapes instance anything you’ve claimed – anything other than you taking a detour from your duties to stop off for a bite to eat during your shift! That sounds like dereliction right there. Also why haven’t they said anything about this Shokan group? What, are they scared to come forward?”
“Yes!” Sylvia pleaded.
“Even you have to admit this sounds shady,” Nayra said while wafting his hand from the Commissioner’s seated position to Sylvia’s. “Let’s run through the part about Billy Smith’s family,” he placed photographs of screen caps on the table, “Johnny Smith, Charlene Eriksen-Smith, and Erica Smith. They helped you fend off the Shokan and protect the camera crew?”
Sylvia nodded dejectedly. Had she not seen this all with her own two eyes, this would not have made any bit of sense to her either.
All over that one, Nayra pressed, “With no training, no weapons, and no chance – they just managed to fend off these Shokan? Come on Police Force Officer Lenorox. Admit the truth! None of this adds up. Was it the Palatine Triad who turned you?”
It was the continuation of Sylvia losing her cool, “What the fu– are you talking about?”
“What are you talking about?” Nayra shot right back, “Godda-n Ninjas! We have a stadium in the center of town with a third of it demolished, on your watch no less. Hundreds are dead, damage is in the millions of dollars to not only Cipher Coliseum but the surrounding street and community outside as well – it looks like terrorists set off some sort of explosion, and the only thing you can hang your hat on is some fu–ing Ninjas? Who has you on their payroll? Is it drug-related?”
This was going nowhere, so Commissioner Gyro interjected, “Police Force Officer Lenorox has already told you her side of the story three times.”
Irrelevant to Nayra, he replied, “Then we’ll run through it three more times and three more times after that until I am satisfied with her answers! At this point, this is little more than outright lies.”
“Either make your findings with the information you’ve been presented or conclude the session!” The Commissioner urged while standing up to take a break from this nonsense.
“Where are you going?” Nayra demanded.
Clearly, there was nothing more that Commissioner Gyro could do for Sylvia in here, and he would rather not have to deal with the sight of Nayra any longer, so, “I need to make a phone call.”
In snaking his way around the table, Nayra should have thought better of trying to stall the Commissioner by getting between the larger specimen and the door. He disagreed, “No, no, no – I want you to witness this, so that there is no question of impropriety on my part. You’re hearing this craziness Police Force Officer Lenorox is spouting all on your own. These are not my words nor is it my doing.”
“Get out of my way,” Commissioner Gyro ordered while reaching past Nayra and slamming the door into the Internal Affairs Agent on his way to exiting the conference room and slamming the door shut.
“Your career,” Nayra turned back around to Sylvia to say, “is over, but there are things that you can do to help yourself.” He had wanted to rub the Commissioner’s face in this a while longer, but having unfettered access to the embattled Police Force Officer presented an interesting opportunity.
“Fu– off,” Sylvia clammed up. “I’ve cooperated enough and don’t have to tell you anything further until my lawyer gets here.” She was a Police Force Officer after all and knew her rights.
Chuckling, Nayra moved in closely on Sylvia and reminded her, “Only the guilty need lawyers.”
With a snicker of her own, Sylvia rephrased, “You’re right, I’ll put you in touch with my family’s attorney.”
Pete, Julian, Murk, and Chico had now relocated to the Commissioner’s office where he called out the name of, “Jason Saint-Medieval. I talked things over with Sylvia earlier and convinced her that we need to make use of her Space Force-privileged biography.”
This was surprising to Pete, “I would have pulled that card all along.” He knew the name of Jason Saint-Medieval all too well, and never thought a man of that stature would be available to a case of such small stature.
“She’s proud,” Commissioner Gyro explained, “and got to where she’s at despite the legacy of the Lenorox family name – which is impressive. Could Sylvia have pulled herself out of this without, her family’s clout? Yes, but none of us have time for that, and I need one of my best Police Force Officers back out on the street, plus I’m growing increasingly frustrated with these Internal Affairs clamps – especially from Nayra.”
Murk stepped up, “I know Chico and I couldn’t pull any strings from our side of the Space Force, but we’d like to help out in any way we can. Field work. Anything.”
Chico concurred, “It’s time we started to earn our keep around here, so just let us know what would serve your interests best.”
The sentiment was much appreciated, so the Commissioner asked them, “Can you please link up with Vim? He’s a rookie, but he was there with Sylvia and knows what we’re up against. His version of the events are almost identical to hers – just from a different perspective which still happens to be highly complementary. Neither of them have any reason to lie about something this devastating.”
Julian seconded that notion, “I know that’s the truth. Sylvia can sit back on her inheritance – not much reason to turn rogue, and Vim’s too green to have even been tempted yet.”
Everybody shared in a much-needed laugh on that one. Sylvia possessed more personal worth than all five of them combined and really only worked for the personal satisfaction that came from earning one’s own keep and not biting off of their family’s wealth. Vim, on the other hand, was still considered an ‘academy type’ which inferred that he continued to see the world in black and white terms of ‘good versus evil’. Until the great awakening that would force him to choose his moral allegiance which would hopefully fall to the conservative side of gray areas, he was as straight and narrow as they came. The Space Force and the Second Earth Special Police Force each had those types, and they were a breath of fresh air in the all-consuming stench of society.
“I’ve got to take Sylvia off of the streets until this latest episode with Nayra blows over,” Commissioner Gyro decided, “but I have no doubt that it will or that he bit off much more than he can chew this time around.”
“Jason Saint-Medieval never loses,” Pete confirmed, “from either side of the aisle – defense or prosecution.”
“I’m aware of him prosecuting your spam case,” Chico acknowledged, “but you’re saying there were others of note?”
“Especially back on Earth,” Julian explained, “when he was doing mostly defense cases. If there was ever a case to do things by the book, he had burned many-an-officer for not having done so. There was this case that they now cover in the schools where an officer put a wire on a child to get information out of a perp. The perp found out about the wire, and, in a jerk reaction, shot and killed the kid. He immediately dropped his weapon when the police moved in, but Jason Saint-Medieval took up his case.
The end finding of that case was that the police acted improperly in wiring a child – thus causing the fatality. It didn’t matter that the parents had signed releases which okayed the behavior. The department was liable and the parents were negligible.”
The Commissioner spelled out the logic, “This case set the precedent which asked how much a collar was actually worth. The perp was under investigation for selling drugs to kids, but he was arrested on killing that one child which was a stretch from the bench warrant and would not have even happened had the police not put that child in the position they did to get shot. As you can imagine, the practice of tacking on charges was shattered because Jason Saint-Medieval was able to prove that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ was really only ‘guilty until proven innocent’ which police have long since known and judges widely ignored.”
“But why would he take up a case and do something like that?” Murk asked. “I’m sure that made your lives, collectively, worse when dealing with perps.”
“He did it for the child,” Commissioner Gyro stated having read Jason Saint-Medieval’s entire brief regarding the case, “but the result of his litigation skills also caused police work to become more crisp. Throughout the universe, a shift from the focus of looking for the bad in people via all types of questionable methods was replaced with the push to look for the good in people, and I can vouch for this – from Earth to Second Earth, crime rates went down considerably. An argument was to be made that government was a major part of perpetuating the problem by the way in which the government persecuted it.”
Murk understood, “Looking for something that isn’t necessarily there and then putting about the circumstances to create the wrongdoing. That makes all of us government types look pretty bad, but what about the perp that is wrong as sin?”
Pete sighed, “The burden of proof is so subjective. People like Jason Saint-Medieval are working to move it away from public opinion and police coercive tactics to where I actually agree with and believe it should be which is if officers cast the first stone, they’d better be without sin, themselves. Even speeding tickets are not the focus anymore turning mostly to warnings because the entire Police Force would be just as guilty.”
“You’re guilty, Lenorox,” Nayra pushed. “Another dirty cop on the beat – I’d like your gun and shield, please.”
“You’re crazy,” Sylvia replied as she flipped the requested items onto the table and got up to leave.
Before the door slammed closed a second time, Nayra announced, “My office will be in touch.”
Vim had returned with Sylvia but had been ordered by her to put out an All Points Bulletin for the Smith family. Everybody had gotten separated during…whatever that was. He tried to reconcile his thoughts in order to make some sense out of a senseless situation, but for as lightning fast as those events had occurred, the rookie found that his grasp of the situation was slipping and came crashing down around him like thunder.
“I’ve got all available units out searching for them,” Sec confirmed. “We’ll find them.” He was younger than Vim by years, but hardened by experience. Being a dispatcher may have been behind the scenes work, but his efforts formed the nerve center of the Second Earth Special Police Force that kept all of the other facets of operations flowing smoothly.
Sec had been through it and seen it all. There was nothing that he had not heard or experienced but in much greater quantities than the Police Force Officers who resided primarily out in the field because they had concern for their individual cases whereas a dispatcher technically touched their cases as well as most of everybody else’s at some point in the process.
“How is it that you don’t become jaded with all of this?” Vim inquired while hovering over Sec and the dispatcher console.
With a finger held up to halt the conversation briefly while Sec listened to his Ear-To-Mouth Com for an incoming transmission, he attended to his day job first by answering, “That’s right. I have a unit of backup on the way. Roger. I’ll relay the position change.” Toggling to one of many screens opened up on his workstation, the dispatcher began to type away before toggling back to the main screen which featured an intuitive positional map of all Police Force Officers out in the field along with other data and a newsfeed which was really nothing more than a roaming ticker that pooled information from numerous different sources.
The daily inundation of data might have been overwhelming, Vim thought, had not Sec seemed to apparently be so proficient at the dispatcher position. He apologized, “Sorry to disturb you.”
Swinging around in his chair, Sec reassured, “No worries, man. Don’t worry about it. I’m here to listen. That’s kinda what I do.”
“Ha,” Vim smiled.
“In answer to your question,” Sec explained, “as Police Force Officers, we’re in an enviable position to be able to witness all of the scum, dirt, and just plain messed up occurrences firsthand. To me, this is very simple. It reminds me of how lucky I am not having had to deal with any of this darkness directly, and I come here day in, day out to help ensure that those who are going through it don’t have to do so alone.”
Murk and Chico walked over to Vim and Sec’s position having overheard that last part of the conversation. From the looks of keys jangling and their almost dismissive checks of their LUNC’s, it looked like the Space Force Soldiers were getting ready to handle some business.
With the LUNC re-sheathed in a shoulder holster that sat comfortably between Chico’s left arm and ribcage underneath his suit coat, he responded to what had been picked up out of the conversation, “Rewarding isn’t it?”
A nod in the affirmative accompanied Vim’s answer, “Extremely.”
“Then let’s get back out there,” Murk suggested while twirling the car keys around his index finger and catching them in his palm. “Sylvia may be temporarily benched, but that has nothing to do with Space Force jurisdiction. You’d be assisting our own investigation in case your friends at Internal Affairs asked.”
“Investigating the Shokan you mean?” Vim wanted to clarify.
“We’ve dealt with worse,” Chico agreed confidently.
Back at their desks, Pete and Julian decided to close out an eventful day with a quick recap of activities which had been lost in the shuffle as a result of the incident at Cipher Coliseum. Now, down one Police Force Officer, an already fast-paced schedule which had suddenly picked up was now threatening to mount and start to wear them down. Being on the same page was essential and frequent communication was a must.
“Stalkord,” Pete questioned, “what was his demeanor when you both learned of the latest hostage situation at an Ennead Building?”
The results were indeterminable, so Julian responded, “I couldn’t gather anything from it. I’m not sure if he was surprised, holding something back, or relieved. Hmm, you probably figure that he’s always holding something back, but that does us no good. Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way.”
Game for anything, Pete asked openly, “How so?”
“It almost feels like we’re starting too high,” Julian admitted. “I worked him pretty hard, but he still seems untouchable. You have to be in order to get to his level, so we shouldn’t act surprised. But, the people that carry out his dirty work aren’t. I’m of the mindset that we should follow up the sniper angle with a full court press.”
“I’d be in total agreement except that I want to keep some constant pressure on Stalkord,” Pete replied. “He knows things, and he’s just not telling.”
A compromise was brewing when Julian said, “And we can do that, but let’s try to keep him guessing for once.”
Sitting up in his chair, Pete smiled deviously, “What did you have in mind?”
Outside, in the motor pool, the warm rain that beat down gently, dousing Sylvia, had been beaten to the punch in terms of putting a damper on what was supposed to be a wonderful night. Meeting Billy’s family could not have gone any worse if she had planned it.
“You know I’m sorry about that,” Billy’s voice said from somewhere within the shadows.
More elated than startled, Sylvia called out, “Billy! We seem to have some sort of issue with our encounters.” She could not place his position and tried desperately to do so.
Billy took a moment to explain, “It was actually supposed to be the next discussion we had. A family’s legacy can tend to be a burden if you don’t exactly choose to embrace it.”
“Or even if you do,” Sylvia added, “there’s still the expectations that don’t even exist which you’re forced to live up to. Speaking of which, how is your, I guess – adoptive family?”
“They’ll be fine. They’ve been at this a lot longer than me. Things are going to be very difficult from here on out,” Billy did not sugarcoat the seriousness of the predicament that he found himself in. “Glove wasn’t able to acquire me within Cipher Coliseum, but what’s to stop him from trying again and again until he gets what he wants? I’ve gotta be on the move, and this is my one best chance to take it to him – while I’m fresh on his mind.”
Sylvia shrugged and admitted, “I currently have nothing else planned. They took away my badge and weapon.”
An audible sigh played precursor to Billy’s suspected feelings, “I thought they might with the way Glove and I tore up that stadium. You know the Shokan’ll be coming after you.”
“They’ll be coming after us,” Sylvia corrected and accepted.
The shadows were not supposed to shift, so for as unclear as to what exactly those shadows consisted of, it was clear that apparent movement was Shokan. Boldly assembling in the parking lot of the Second Earth Special Police Force Base, this was not a game, Sylvia was a target, and she had nobody within the base to call who could assist in time. The silent strike was upon her, and the usual evening trek to the car never seemed so dismally far away.
“Get your keys ready,” Billy said as he came out from under his own shadows to take hold of Sylvia’s left hand with his right hand.
The lights on Sylvia’s vehicle flashed and the car doors unlocked as she pressed the button on the key fob attached to her key chain. Shokan flung themselves acrobatically into view placing a veritable gauntlet in-between the car and the entrance to the Second Earth Special Police Force Base.
It might have been a smart move, here, to just run back inside of the base, but Billy and Sylvia had to leave sometime, and the Shokan were not exactly going anywhere – anytime soon. To live life constantly in fear did not quite suit them, and if not for principle, they needed to overcome their pasts and take control of their future – a future hopefully together by pressing forward through any place (and anyone) it might lead.