12/09/2011

Rad Munday - Case #1: Land Of The Lycans Act II




"I'm going to inform you of one little detail when it comes to working with me," Reuben shouted over the growls of the rednecks that charged toward them with murderous intent.  "I have what I like to call a 'Give One-Lose One Policy'."

"And what's that all about?" Rad asked, his back against Reuben's as they stood together in the circle of ravaging enemies.

"Its simple.  If I have to save your ass once, I'll abandon and/or sabotage you the next time you're in a bind.  It's fair trade."

"How is that fair?" Rad asked with offense.

"Its all part of the long run, Cliff.  Its all apart of the test to see if you're worthy of continuing with us.  You can compensate by saving my ass, but I doubt that'll end up happening any time soon.  Haven't been saved by anyone but myself in years."

"Well, longer cycles have been broken," Rad said quickly just as one of the men sprang forward and swung at his head.  He ducked quickly and countered by cracking the Fat Lady across his enemies' cranium.  As the man staggered backwards, Rad leaned in and smashed him in the head once more as he fell to the ground, unconscious.  With two of them down, seven more stood, all surrounding the two and preparing to make their move.

"Well?" Reuben shouted out at them.  "What are you incestual mutants waiting for?  Do something!"

As if on cue, the crowd of lycans unleashed an earshattering battle cry and charged forward, rushing the duo.  Rad acted fast and dove through the nearest opening between the men that circled around them, flipping back onto his feet as he watched them completely engulf Reuben.  In the heat of the moment, he had the impulse to charge toward them and start whacking away at their heads until they were all down and then check to see if Reuben was all right, but before he could even make the move, something extraordinary happened.  In the blink of an eye, the crowd of men were thrown back with tremendous force, one of which was headed right for Rad.  He used the Fat Lady to knock the flying man out of his path, which only rattled Rad slightly, while the man he struck was sent crashing into one of the vehicles set up along the edge of the culdesac field.  Right in front him, Reuben stood completely unscathed with his palms stretched out on either side of him after delivering the move of the century.  That was definitely something that could not be learned in a karate class

"Nice," Rad complimented with a smile.  The majority of the men were now unconscious and or dead from the impact of Reuben's shockwave.  But there were still a number of men struggling to their feet and making their way toward the two to continue the fight.  Rad nodded at Reuben.  "I've got the rest."

As one of them approached, he proceeded to swing at Rad, who juked back and dodged the shot, grabbing hold the man's outstretched arm, and striking him on the back of the knee with the Fat Lady.  As he bent backwards, his head thrown back and his mouth open, screaming in pain, Rad jammed his elbow across his nose and sent him to the dusty ground.  Two more were left and approached him fast, which made Rad wonder whether or not they were just stupid or genuinely thought they could take him down with a simple Knock-on-the-front-door approach.  As the closest one charged in and extended his arms to tackle Rad around his waist, Rad decided to get creative and vaulted over his hunched body, flipping over him and landing behind the lycan.  As he began to roll back on his feet, he brought the Fat Lady upward and struck the lycan right between the legs with so much force, the blow knocked him through the air and sent him into a front flip until he landed on his buttocks with a look of anguish painted on his face.  Rad used the momentum from his flip to land back on his feet, spun around, and swung his foot across the man's unprotected head, knocking his lights out.

The last lycan approached from behind, rearing back with a large wooden bat and preparing to strike.  Rad spun around and countered with the Fat Lady, blocking the blow.  The two weapons bounced off of each other and rattled the two opponents as they backed up slightly.  Regaining his energy, the man rushed Rad once again, raising the bat above his head and swinging directly at Rad, prompting him to juke to his side and dodge the bat as it slammed onto the dirt where he once stood.  Taking advantage of the man's current stance, Rad brought his left arm, which was holding the Fat Lady, up under the man's right arm, both hands of which were still gripped tightly around the bat, and looped it around, grabbing hold of the bulb end of the Fat Lady with his right hand.  Rad turned with all of his might and brought his shoulder upward, pushing up the man's elbow with it and causing it to bend towards the sky, effectively breaking his arm.  The lycan screamed out in pain but Rad wasn't done.  Still dragging the man's broken arm across his shoulder, he spun around and kicked the man in the back of the knee, crippling him.  Finally, Rad let go of the lycan's arm and swung the Fat Lady up, striking it onto the back of the lycan's head which had been thrown back horizontally by the pretzel-like position Rad had just forced him into.  The lycan immediately stopped screaming at the contact of the blow and collapsed to his knees but he was still upright, his eyes rolling around in his head in a sharp daze.  Knowing his enemy was almost done, Rad strolled nonchalantly in front of the nearly fallen lycan and smiled at him.

"Insert cool potentially iconic catchphrase here," Rad muttered aloud as he reared back with the Fat Lady and smacked it across the face of the lycan, knocking several teeth and a mouthful of blood from his lips as he tumbled to the dirt like a falling skyscraper.  With all of the enemies taken care of, Rad began to stroll towards Reuben, who nodded his head with an impressed look.  "That was fun.  And you didn't even have to end up saving me"-

A gunshot rang out and in the blink of an eye, Reuben was in front of him, his fist inches away from the side of his face.  Rad drew back in surprise as he watched Reuben pull his hand back and open it up in front of him.  A single crushed bullet lay in the middle of his palm.

"You were saying?" Reuben smirked as he turned to his side and hurled the remains of the bullet in the direction of the shooter.  In a flash, Horace, who had been holding a revolver aimed for the side of Rad's head, collapsed with a scream, holding his leg, which now had the broken bullet inside of it.  As he fell back, holding himself up with one arm, Reuben quickly stepped toward him.  "Rad, get my badge from the boy."

Rad spotted the young boy, who's name was Markus, lying by himself a few feet from him.  He had been surveying the fight from afar.  When Rad approached him, he made no effort to leave so Rad decided to go easy on him.  He simply held out his hand and beckoned for what belonged to Reuben.  Markus reached into his pocket and cautiously handed the badge to him without any trouble.  Rad took it and smiled before kneeing the boy in the face and letting him writh on the ground with a bloody nose.

Reuben had reached Horace and picked him up by the throat with one hand without a loss of momentum, slamming his back onto the surface of the ranshacked trailer he lived in.  Horace struggled to breath under Reuben's tight grip.

"You know anything about the death of Katherine Mars, you Flee-Ridden fuck?!" Reuben shouted angrily into Horace's intimidated face.  "Huh?!"

"No," Horace muttered aggressively, trying to catch his breath.

"Right," Reuben said, unconvinced before he pulled Horace from the trailer, carried him aside, reared back, and hurled the lycan through the front door of the trailer, causing him to smash through the screen door in front of it and tumble inside.  His head slammed onto the back wall and he slumped onto the floor.

"We're here for an hour and already brawling with a bunch of low-life's potentially connected to the case," Rad said, mainly to himself, as he walked to Reuben's side.  "I don't usually reach this point until a few weeks into the investigation.  Not sure how to feel about this pacing, but I guess its kind of nice."

Reuben turned to him with a scowl.  "What're you blabbering about?"

Rad sighed.  "Nothing.  Let's just get in there and see what we can find."

When Rad and Reuben stepped inside the trailer, they noticed that Horace had been knocked unconscious.

"Well, guess we've got to wait until he comes to before we can properly interrogate him," Rad said, looking into the cramped living room where old dirty clothes and trash was strewn.  There was an old torn-up couch with cotton spilling out of its openings across from an old television with more wires than necessary sticking out of the back of it and duct tape covering nearly ever inch.  To the right of them, there was a dirty kitchen and farther along the trailer past the living room was a single mattress laying on the floor in what was obviously supposed to be the bedroom.

"Depending on what we end up finding, we might not even have to," Reuben said, examining the area.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out the Reality Augmented Monocle, switching it on and fixing into his eye socket as he surveyed the kitchen.  Rad, who had decided to go on his own merits, worked his way past the living room and into the back, where he found a rather large suitcase lying in the corner by the makeshift bed.

Rad walked to it and picked it up, noticing that there was a small number lock located on it.  There were a total of five interchangeable number slots, all positioned on zero at the moment.  Rad thought for a moment.  What would a redneck set as the combination for something like this.  Rad decided to try something simple.  1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  The suitcase clicked open.  Unfuckingbelievable, Rad thought.  That's the last time I give a redneck the benefit of the doubt.

Rad pried the case open and was further overcome with disbelief, so much so that he was holding his mouth with his hand in surprise.  He suddenly turned and called out to Reuben to come join him.  When he reached the back room, Rad opened the case fully and laid it out on the matress for him to see.  Inside was a black jumpsuit, a silk black wig, black gloves and a single black face mask.  Rad looked up at Reuben, shaking his head with no emotion.

"Tell me we did not just solve this case that quickly."

Reuben shrugged.  "I think we did, mate.  Good work."

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"I can't say I'm surprised," the Sheriff said as he stood by a police car in front of the team just as Horace was forced inside by a trooper, his hands cuffed behind his back.  "Horace has an extensive record.  Not murder though.  This should send him away for a good while.  Should also do some good for the community as well without having his kind running around here causing trouble.  We appreciate the help, Agents.  Couldn't have done it without you."

"I'm pretty sure you could have," Rad nodded weakly.  "But you're welcome nonetheless."

"To show our gratitude, we'd actually like to invite you to stay a night at the Talbot Motel on the edge of town.  We'll pay all of your expenses and make sure you're boarded up well for the night."

Rad watched as the officer, who now had the apprehended lycan in the backseat of his car, got into the front and started to drive off.  As the car's engine started, Horace gazed up and made instant eye contact with Rad.  With a look of unmistakeable innocence in his eyes, Horace slowly shook his head and Rad felt something churn inside him.  As the cop pulled off, Brooke started to answer the Sheriff.

"I'm afraid we'll have to decline"-

"I'll stay," Rad said quickly, as everyone turned to him.  "I mean I'm still on that Free Trial, right?  This wasn't really much of a case so I'm thinking we should probably milk our time here for as long as we can so I can have some time to decide."

Reuben sighed with annoyance.  "Just quit the damn thing already.  If you're not sure now, you'll never be."

"Come on, Reuben," Laser defended, although Rad was sure he had read his mind and discovered the true reason for why he wanted to stay.  "This place isn't so bad, let's just relax for a little while and leave later.  Give Rad some time to think."

Brooke turned around and approached Rad with a dangerous intensity, her face inches away from his.  "We'll stay until 5pm, then we leave.  You have until then."

"Okay," Rad replied, holding up his hands in defense with an intimidated smile.  "Understood."

"All righty then," the Sheriff responded awkwardly.  "The boys will give you all a ride to the motel."

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"Brooke, what do you think about this new guy?" Reuben asked, lounging on one of the beds in the motel room they had been assigned to.  "You seem to have pretty profound insight."

"And I don't?" Laser retorted, sitting at the edge of his bed, watching the television that sat in front of him on the dresser.

"Laser, you like everything, so you don't count.  I want to hear it from Brooke specifically."

"I think he's good at what he does," Brooke answered, looking down at a hefty book in her hands as she sat by herself in the chair that lay in the corner of the room.  "Probably deserved being called the best amateur PI of his time."

"Yeah, but what do you think about him as a person?" Reuben asked curiously, leaning up from the bed and turning to her.  "I mean, do you think it'd be more suited for him to go back to being the best amateur PI?"

"It doesn't matter what I think.  We're all professionals here and as long as he stays professional too, I'm fine with him.  We're here to do our job, no matter how we feel about each other."

"You know, Brooke, sometimes you're more machine than Turqoise is, I swear.  I have yet to figure you out."

"Trust me, you don't want to," Brooke said nonchalantly.  "Tell him, Laser."

"Its true.  I'd end the conversation there if I were you."

Reuben shrugged and laid back down on the bed.  After a few minutes, he turned back to her and asked, "What are you reading anyway?"

"The Bible," she said, holding it up for him to see.  "I saw it laying here and I decided to check it out."

"Ah, so you're one of those religious types?"

"You've fought demons before, haven't you?"

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean there's a God."

"It kind of does."

"Bullshit.  You know half of the crap in that book was fabricated by a bunch of biased scholars who wanted to make up rules to alienate people."

"So which do you not believe in?  The bible or God?"

"Both," Reuben said, turning back towards the television.

"Then how do you explain angels?"

"Glorified aliens, they are.  As far as I'm concerned, there is no heaven either and if there is, its not for us non-humans.  No, no matter what good we do on this planet, we're still the unholy creations of whoever and deserve to burn in hell for eternity.  Says the "bible."  I'm sorry but if the creator of all things makes rules like that, I'd feel a bit more comfortable believing he doesn't exist than hating that he does."

Brooke shrugged and looked back down at the bible.  "Not going to lie.  That's a pretty interesting interpretation."

"You hear that, Laser?" Reuben said, smiling.  "Brooke thinks I'm interesting."

"I said the interpretation was interesting."

"Don't ruin my moment."

Suddenly, the door to their motel room flew up and Rad stepped through, holding a notepad and a six pack case of Heineken.  He paced in quickly and put the case and notepad down on the dresser by the television.

"Listen up, guys," Rad said energetically.  "This case is still open."

"I seriously hope you're talking about the beer case," Reuben replied dismally.  "We've been waiting almost three hours for you to get us that thing."

"That's because I was out - Wait a second, is that Real Housewives of North Star City?" Rad said, his attention caught by the program on television.  "Please don't tell me I missed the part from the previews where Charice gets hit in the face with the Lawn Mower?"

"I'm afraid you did," Laser admitted with sympathy.

"Ghost Damn it."

Brooke leaned to her side and grabbed the remote, turning off the television and catching Rad's full attention.  "What do you mean the case is still open?"

"Well from the moment we found the killer's wardrobe in that suitcase at Horace's trailer, I knew this couldn't be the end of it.  I mean, yes, we have the evidence"-

"We just got a call from down at the precinct that he confessed too," Reuben said lazily.  "So I think your point is moot."

"And I think you should shut up and give that hole in your face time to heal," Rad snapped.  "Now as I was saying, We have the evidence and apparently a confession too.  The confession should be the trump card, but we don't have a motive and that's the one thing that had me puzzled.  So I went into town and found some interesting stuff."

Rad walked across the room, pulled off his peacoat, and laid it on Laser's side of the bed.  "October 25th, November 4th, and November 13th, which is today.  Those were the dates of all of the murders committed by this particular killer.  I asked around town, did some research, and discovered that Horace Perkins worked at a local lumberyard across from where his trailer was located.  He's got like seven absences there and he's almost always late but one thing about his schedule was unchanged.  Everyone comes out of their wolfed-out state at approximately 7:00am, give or take a few minutes.  I went down to the lumberyard myself and discovered that Horace's shift there starts every morning at 7:30am.  Now check this out."

Rad walked over to the notepad on the dresser and opened it.  "First Victim: Camille Holden, age 15, Time of Death: 7:51am.  Second Victim: Stacy Small, age 14, Time of Death: 8:20am.  Third Victim: Katherine Mars, age 14, Time of Death: 7:35am, just like the coroner said when we arrived on the scene.  And I checked Horace's attendance record.  He arrived on time, right on the dot on the dates of October 25th and November 13th.  He was also scheduled for a dentist appointment on November 4th at 8:10am, ten minutes before Stacy Small's murder.  I'm pretty sure that appointment did nothing for him.  I mean, did you see that guy's teeth?  Jeez.  Anyway, I checked the surveillance cameras just to be sure and it checked out.  He's got an alibi."

"So what are you saying, he was framed?" Reuben asked, sitting up from the bed.

"Can't be.  You said it yourself that he confessed, right?  He must be covering up for somebody.  I don't know, what do you guys think?"

"I think you should hand me my damn beer before I throw something at your head for making us stay here longer."

"I apologize, Reuben," Rad said with a sarcastic scowl, reaching into the case and pulling out a bottle of Heineken, tossing it in his direction.  "I have the tendency to do the right thing every now and again so you'll have to forgive me.  I know that's got to be hard for you to deal with."

Rad grabbed another beer and tossed it across the room to Brooke.  He reached in to get another and prepared to throw it in Laser's direction, but Laser protested.  "I'm underage, Rad.  Can't drink."

Rad sucked his teeth and tossed the beer at him anyway.  He caught it awkwardly.  "Drink the damn beer and relax."

Rad handed him a bottle opener that lay in the crevice of the case and Laser smiled back at him excitedly, pulling the cap off and taking what was probably his first swig of an alchoholic beverage in his life.  Suddenly, he gagged hard, nearly spitting a mouthful of it on the floor as the remainder washed down his throat.  When it was gone, he grimaced harshly.

"Gosh, its gross," he said with disgust.

"I know," Rad laughed, taking the bottle opener from him and popping open his own bottle.  "But you get used to it.  Takes off the edge."

He took a large gulp of his own beer and tossed the bottle opener to Brooke, right after spotting Reuben who had his hand held out for it.  Reuben smacked his teeth and watched as Brooke opened her beer before him.  "What was all of that about being so professional?" Reuben complained.  "Beer on the job sound professional to you?"

Brooke shrugged apathetically.  "If James Bond can have a shaken but not stirred Martini while on the job, a simple Heineken shouldn't hurt."

"I'll drink to that," Rad said, lifting his bottle and taking another sip.

"So what's the plan?" Laser asked clearing his throat, still cringing from the after taste of the heineken.  "I mean do we have any other leads?"

"Well, we've got one," Rad said, turning around and going through his notepad again.  "I did some research into Horace Perkins' background.  Turns out he and Sheriff Fleming are actually stepbrothers."

"Really?" Reuben said with a bit of surprise.  "He could have told us that."

"Yeah, he could have, but he didn't.  So I say Laser and I go pay him a visit at his office.  In the meantime, you two can go scope out the area around West and Fifth."

"Why there?" Reuben asked.

"Because that's where that girl said she saw the murderer carrying Katherine Mars."

"And you think she was telling the truth?  After how she sold us out?"

"Well considering how everything about the killer's wardrobe was on par with the evidence, I'd say so."

"You know," Reuben started, standing up.  Rad rolled his eyes impatiently, anticipating what was to come.  "I don't think I care much for your so-called 'leadership'.  I think I might challenge it."

"That would be counter-productive."

"To you, maybe, but as far as I'm concerned this case is pretty much over," Reuben leaned in and whispered into Rad's ear.  "And I guarantee you here and now, if this turns out to be a dead end and somehow Horace really is the killer, I'm going to brutally murder three of these townsfolk and blame it on you, so that you can personally get discharged from PULSE."

"Um," Rad cleared his throat and edged his head over towards Laser.  Laser smiled and waved at Reuben, who had forgotten that he would be an eternal witness whenever he was in their pressence.  Reuben laughed nervously.

"You know what, I think it would just be better if I went with you to see Fleming, so uh, shall we?"

"So you can ditch me the second we get into a jam?" Rad said, shaking his head.  "I don't think so.  Besides, I need Laser to be there and hear Fleming's thoughts, see if he's hiding more info from us.  Just deal with the fact that I'm better than you at leading this team and everything will be fine."

Reuben smiled and lightly tapped Rad on the cheek.  "As much as I know you'd love that, its not going to happen.  Come on, Brooke, let's go see what trouble we can get ourselves into."

Reuben headed for the door as Brooke collected their things and they prepared to head out.  As she passed him, Rad tried to connect eyes with her, but she avoided even giving him so much as a gaze.  He swallowed hard.  He had no chance.

"We'll buzz you if we find anything," she muttered before closing the door behind them.

When the two were gone, Rad turned back to Laser with a look of hopelessness.

"I've been there, bro," Laser said, walking up and putting a hand on his shoulder to try and comfort him.  "We've all been there."

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 The Police Station was just as small and humble as any small town precinct, complete with a few cells for detainees and one desk where the receptionist would be of service to visitors.  As Rad and Laser made their way to the Sheriff's Office, Rad quietly reminded Laser of the plan just before reaching the door.

"Just play it cool," he muttered, knocking on the door as Laser nodded back to him.  The Sheriff gave them permission to enter and they walked in naturally.  The Sheriff smiled at their pressence.

"Agent Munday and Agent Barnes, its nice to see you," he greeted warmly.  "You enjoying your stay here?  Everything to your liking?"

"Yeah," Rad said enthusiastically.  "I love it here.  I grew up in a small town, so its nostalgic."

"I'm glad to hear that.  Anything I can help you boys with before you're on your way?"

"Uh, yeah actually," Rad said, choosing his next words careful.  Before he could speak, however, something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.  He spotted a novel over by the shelf to the right of them that was propped in between several other novels.  Why that one in particular stood out amongst the other books was beyond him; possibly because it was the only one with a hardback cover among the others in the Sheriff's collection that were paperback.  At the sight of it, Rad pulled it out of the shelf and gazed at the cover, which was a watercolor painting of a hunter wearing wool-like clothing and traveling in the wilderness with his grey wolf companion.

"'The Man and The Wolf'," Sheriff Fleming said, when he noticed Rad's interest.  "Classic Literature."

"I'll say," Rad said, flipping through its pages.  "I remember reading this when I was in the 8th grade.  I loved this book."

"I think its the subtlety in the depiction of the hunter's descent into madness that really made the book pop out for me.  Its one of my favorite novels of all time."

"What's it about?" Laser asked Rad curiously.

"It takes place in the early 17th Century and centers around a hunter who's camp is killed by a group of apaches," Rad explained.  "He and his companion wolf are the only survivors.  He then travels across the forests and mountain landscape with nothing but his supplies and his wolf but after being alone for so long, he starts to lose his mind.  Basically, the rest of the story shows how, over time, the hunter becomes more and more vicious and animal-like, while the wolf subtley starts to take on the responsibility of caring for him, much in the same way the hunter had done for the wolf earlier in the novel.  Eventually, the hunter becomes the animal and the wolf, for lack of a better inflection, becomes the human.  It was written by M.R. Wilson, one of the only lycanthropes or supernatural creatures of any kind to actually become 'famous', if you want to call it that.  This was his Magnum Opus.  It became like a bible of sorts to most lycans afterword, but nowadays, only old school lycans tend to know it even exists.  Its pretty old."

"Yeah," The Sheriff chuckled warmly.  "I guess I am pretty old school."

"Here, take a look," Rad offered, handing the book to Laser.  He watched carefully as Laser took the book and opened it up.  Then he looked at Rad and shrugged.  Rad swore under his breath.  Part of the plan had been to find a belonging of the Sheriff's and allow Laser to touch it, in order to see into the past and possibly discover a clue involving the case.  However, for some strange reason, Laser's psychometry wasn't kicking in.  It seemed like they were going to have to go with Plan B.

"So yeah," the Sheriff continued.  "You said you needed something?"

"Right, right," Rad said, getting back on topic.  The two took a seat in front of the Sheriff's desk and Rad went on.  "Um, I was a little....disconcerted by the turnabout of the case.  This is a normal thing for me; whenever things seem too easy, I always do a little more digging than I really need to and ultimately I end up at a dead end and realize that there was nothing to worry about in the first place.  Its just general procedure.  But I found something that I just wanted to run by you and just have clarified for the sake of clarification, if that was all right with you."

"Sure, that's fine," the Sheriff said confidently.  "What did you find?"

"Well, you'll have to forgive me here," Rad started, making eye contact with the Sheriff.  "But I looked into the past records of your current suspect in the murders, Horace Perkins, and I happened to find out that he was your stepbrother."

The Sheriff looked unphased.  He smiled and looked down.  "Yes, that is true, Agent Munday.  Horace Perkins is my stepbrother.  That doesn't mean that we got along.  In fact, we hated each other.  I personally was very happy to find out he would finally be behind bars."

"Ah, I'm glad," Rad said with a nod, exchanging looks with Laser.

"Is that all you came here for?"

Rad didn't answer.  He knew telling him of Horace's contradictions would be a bad idea if Sheriff Fleming really was hiding something from them.  For now, he had to play dumb.

"Did you - Did you think I had something to do with the murder?"

"No, sir, that's not what we thought at all," Rad said quickly.  "We were just struggling to understand why you hid this information from us.  It just made it seem like you might be hiding more than that."

The Sheriff sighed.  "You boys....you have no idea what its like on our end of the board.  I want to tell you a story.  Its 100% true, down to a T.  When NASA first started sending astronauts into space, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens wouldn't work in zero gravity.  To combat the problem, NASA spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that worked in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass, and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 degrees celcius.  The russians used a pencil."

The Sheriff stood and paced in front of his desk.  "This is a small town, gentlemen.  We don't have a mayor.  We don't have a sports team, besides the high school football league at Neshoba High.  There are a lot of things we don't get to enjoy because of where we are.  We are forced to cram every routine of our day into 12 hours because as soon as the clock strikes 7pm, that's when we  lock up everything and you can pretty much figure out what happens next.  Its a difficult living, boys.  But we deal with what we can and use what we have to get by.  And in some ways, like the Russians compared to NASA, what we already have is pretty much all we really need.  There are a lot of things we can't share with the world, can't share with people like you.  You humans are so quick to turn against us."

"We weren't trying to turn against you," Laser defended.

"I didn't say you were, I'm merely stating the reason for why I didn't tell you why I was legally related to Horace.  We lycans have feelings in the same way a human does.  Before I came to this town, I was around humans who were aware of what I was and I was immediately blanketed into a category from the moment I met them.  Now tell me this, Agent Munday.  If I said you were the same as Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson, simply because you are of the same species, does that make it true?"

"No, it doesn't."

"I know it doesn't.  But its apparently true for us lycans, seeing how almost every human believes that.  This is the reason why you felt a degree of hostility when you arrived here; these people have felt that sting, they've felt what its like to be considered a lower creature.  And we know that the littlest offense can set you humans off, which was one of the reasons why I didn't tell you of my relation to Horace.  I figured you would connect me to him and figure I had some hand in this too.  I don't like my brother.  I don't care for him and I'm ashamed that we are legally bonded the way we are, so it wouldn't exactly be easy for me to admit that he was my brother either.  I don't know you humans, I'm meeting you for the first time today.  But I know what your kind are like.  So you'll have to forgive me for stereotyping you for your tendency to stereotype.  But I'm only trying to protect myself and protect this town.  That's my job."

Rad nodded.  "I understand.  My apologies."

"Its okay.  I'm glad you understand.  I'm sorry if I come across as standoffish at all, I'm still grieving a bit over the death of that girl.  When I walked into that warehouse and saw those lifeless eyes looking back up at me, I....It reminded me of back when I was a teenager and I witnessed the murder of my girlfriend at the hands of a pair of human hunters.  I just got so angry, you know?  How could someone do this to another being that looks so much like them?  How can one ignore the beauty that we all share as children of God and simply murder on the sole principal of genetics.  It just isn't right."

"I agree, Mr. Fleming, wholeheartedly.  I'm sorry for your loss.  As many cases as I've done, I know that feeling all to well."

"I'm sure you do.  It was nice talking to you boys, but if you don't mind, I've got some business to attend to.  If you like, I can walk you out."

"No sir, we'll see ourselves out," Laser said politely, standing up along with Rad and heading for the door.  "Thank you."

"You boys take care," the Sheriff waved as they exited the room.  The two walked down the hallway and didn't speak to each other until they were out of the police station and down the sidewalk on their way back to the motel.

"You hear anything?" Rad asked, referring to Laser's telepathy.

Laser sighed with frustration.  "Barely.  It was all really choppy.  It came out in spurts, almost like when you talk on a phone with bad signal.  It kept going in and out.  He also did a lot of talking.  Every time someone talks, it makes it twice as hard to read their mind, because its like having two televisions on at once and trying to watch both."

"You paint a pretty awesome picture of what its like to be a psychic, dude," Rad complimented.  "That's pretty awesome.  But anyways, could you make out any of it?"

"Not really.  I couldn't even if I tried."

"Damn.  I wonder why that happened.  Do you think its because your psychic powers are a little on the fritz or something?"

"Maybe.  But that rarely happens.  I don't get a vision every time I touch things, maybe that book just didn't have enough history for me to get a vision for.  And I don't know, some people are just hard to read.  What about you, did you figure anything with your super detective skills?"

"Oh yeah," Rad said with a smirk.  "Aside from all that yabbering lawyer-type shit of him trying to cover up his reasonings for hiding stuff from us with a long-winded speech which is typical suspect behavior, I caught him on two things."

"And those are?"

"Well before I go through the first one, I can only express some of my thoughts because its pretty outlandish and you'll probably think I've gone off the deep end, but it definitely has something to do with that book, 'The Man and The Wolf.'  For years, that book has been to lycans what Mein Kampf is to Neo-Nazis.  Its a dangerous book.  It promotes radical ideas that often persuade lycans to do pretty horrific things, particularly to humans.  But what it has to do with this particular case is the speculation that I can't share with you at the moment, because I'm probably wrong.  I'll tell you it later when the case is over.  Or maybe sooner if I turn out to be right."

"And the other thing?" Laser asked.

"Well the second thing stood out pretty heavily, at least to me.  That story of how he saw his girlfriend's murder further fuels my first theory which I'm trying not to entertain.  But the biggest thing is how he started it.  He said that when he first walked into the warehouse, he saw Katherine's dead eyes looking up at him.  But that McCloud girl told us that she saw the killer close Katherine's eyes under a streetlight that was no where near the warehouse."

"Whoa," Laser exclaimed.  "I didn't even notice that he said that."

"Yeah, it almost went over my head too.  No, I'm kidding, I caught him on it as soon as he said it."

Rad reached down and activated the watch on his wrist, alerting Reuben from the other side.  After a while, there was a short beep and Rad could hear Reuben's voice in his head.

"Yo," Reuben said quickly.

"You find anything on your end?" Rad asked.

"Yeah, a few things," he answered.  "Me and Brooke did some looking around in an alleyway and found a small wedding ring or promise ring or something like that lying near a trash can.  Its got a little blood on it.  We're thinking it belonged to the killer and was the reason why the girl had those scratch marks on her wrist."

"Awesome.  Anything else."

"Yeah.  We found a trail of blood leading to a fire escape.  We took the fire escape up to the top of the building and found that pint of blood you were talking about earlier.  It looked like that was where the girl was wasted."

"Sweet.  That's some good stuff.  We can have Turquoise analyze the DNA on the ring.  She can do that, right?"

"Yes."

All right, good.  Let's meet up at that place, Newman's Bar, the one we spotted on our way here.  We'll talk about what we've got."

"Sounds good.  See you there."

"All right."  Rad dropped the watch from his face and looked off into the distance with uncertainty.

"Why aren't we just meeting at the motel where there's nobody to eavesdrop?" Laser asked curiously

"Because," Rad said, swallowing hard.  "I'm pretty sure Reuben and Brooke have been compromised.  Meeting with them is going to lead us into a trap."

"What?!  Are you sure?"

"Like 92%, yeah."

"How do you even know?"

"Well for starters, he didn't insult me or make a witty remark to belittle me once in that conversation.  He also didn't sound anything like how I've heard him sound since I met him, which obviously means something's up.  He had no enthusiasm.  That's one of the perks of only meeting someone long enough to see one side of them; seeing another side just lets you know that something is wrong."

--------------------------------------------------

Rad and Laser sat at the counter of the bar, patiently but nervously waiting for Brooke and Reuben to arrive with whatever threat happened to be tailing with them.  Laser turned and reached into his pocket.

"Well, while we're waiting for whatever's about to go down, I think I'm going to get a soda," he muttered, before realizing his pocket was empty.  "Ah damn, I left my wallet on the ship."

"I've got you," Rad replied, reaching into the non-enchanted pocket of his peacoat and pulling out his own wallet.  He pulled out a five dollar bill and handed it to Laser.  As soon as he touched it, his light blue pupils went solid black and he spaced out for approximately five seconds.  When he was back into reality, he tossed the bill away, letting it land a few inches in front of him on the counter.  He held his shoulders up, grimacing.

"Stripper dollar," he said plainly, pointing at the five dollar bill disgustingly.  Rad cringed and picked up the bill delicately with two fingers, signalling for the bartender to meet them on their end of the bar.  "One tall Sprite, please."

He handed the filthy dollar to the bartender, who took it and poured a tall glass of Sprite for Laser, handing it to him when it was full.

"Thanks, Rad," Laser said gratefully as he took a sip of the drink.

"No problem."  The two waited for about ten minutes more before they were finally greeted by Reuben and Brooke, who walked in from the front entrance.  Rad stood up from his stool and walked toward them, noticing the uneasy looks on their faces.

"How many?" Rad asked discreetly when he approached them with Laser by his side.

"A lot," Reuben answered anxiously.

"And they took your composite pistol?"

"Yes.  That's why we're complying."

"Okay.  We'll go out the back."

"They're covering the back," Brooke said impatiently.

"The front too, I'm assuming?"

They both nodded and Rad looked away in thought.  After a while, he reached into the enchanted pocket of his peacoat and pulled out the Fat Lady.

"What're you going to do?" Brooke asked.

"The Fat Lady has four crossbow bolt settings: Tranquilizer, Poison-laced, Composite/Lethal, and...." Rad inconspicuously converted the Fat Lady to its crossbow form and held it at an angle where only his team could see.  "Explosive."

Rad walked to the entrance of the bar and opened the door slightly, peeking out on the other side.  With one swift move, he aimed the Fat Lady between the opening and shot it into the back tire of a convertible that was parked a few feet by the entrance.  With the charge in place, he shoved the Fat Lady back into his pocket and walked towards the team.

"Back entrance, now," he muttered as they followed him to the back of the bar and avoided all eye contact.  When they reached the back and were out of view of the drinking customers, he lifted the Fat lady back out.  "On the count of 3.  1....3."

Rad hit a switch on the Fat Lady and a tremendous boom rang out from outside.  Rad waited a few seconds and shoved the back door open with the Fat Lady pointed outward vigilantly as the team emerged into the alleyway behind the bar.  The explosion had lured whoever was waiting for them there to the front of the bar.

"Laser, contact Gloria and tell her we need a ride out of here," Reuben commanded.  "We'll send reinforcements or something to handle the rest of the case for us.  Tell her we'll meet her at the field where she dropped us off.  We've just got to get out of here without dying."

"Gotcha," Laser said, activating his wrist watch and addressing it.

Rad led the way out of the alley, but spotted a figure rushing in from the street with his gun drawn.  Rad switched the Fat Lady back to tranquilizer, its default setting, and sent him to the ground with one shot.  After a while, they were out on the street and Rad switched the Fat Lady back to explosives, firing at several cars and activating the charges, which sent them into a roar of flames and provided an even larger distraction.  Gunshots could be heard in the distance as the team continued on and soon, Rad discovered that Brooke had her gun back, having taken it from the first fallen lycan that Rad had floored.  Reuben was taking down several of the lycans with his bare hands, using his speed and agility to his advantage to avoid getting shot.

The team charged onward down the road and into a nearby park, where they were swarmed by a load of unarmed lycans who came out of virtually no where.  In the resulting struggle, the four of them were forced to fight their way through the park to reach the other side.  Rad was wacking many of them away with the Fat Lady and then tranquilizing those that were out of reach.  He moved with a purpose until he reached the far end of the park and realized that he was alone.  He couldn't see the rest of the team.  He knew he had to go back for them.  He didn't care if he made it to the ship or not, it only mattered that he made it with them or not at all.  Before he could move back, he felt himself get swooped into a headlock and soon found himself spinning through the air until he slammed down on a sidewalk with tremendous force.  As he rolled about on the concrete, he could see that the field where he'd first arrived in Neshoba was just out of reach not a few blocks down his line of sight.  Unfortunately, from around the block that lay in front of it emerged several more lycans rushing in his direction.  He started to get up but soon he felt a presence behind him.  He turned in surprise to see Reuben standing over him, smiling.

Rad started to sigh in a quick breath of relief until he realized something.  None of the lycans were powerful enough to throw him off his feet like he had just been thrown.  He had just been tossed away by Reuben.

"You're not about to help, are you?" Rad asked with little emotion.

Reuben shrugged.  "Give one, lose one."

In an instant, Reuben sprinted away.  "You sparkling douchebag!" Rad screamed as he was apprehended by the lycans that charged up from behind and beaten across the head until he was out.

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