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A-to-Z Challenge — Letter V

April 25, 2015

Vanity

Astraeus Earth Force Station, 2115 A.D.

Rourke and Davies rushed out of interrogation and down the hall to Security Center prime. They filed into Davies’ office and sat across from one another at the desk. They were closing in on The Reaper, Davies could feel it. And The Reaper had to know they were.

“I though Sparks said The Reaper and the loan shark were two different people,” Davies pondered.

“He said he’s never seen The Reaper’s face. As far as he knows, they could be two different people. I mean, think it about it, Charles,” Rourke began as he stood up and paced around the small office. He continued, “We’ve got a guy lending funds in the Caverns only known as the loan shark. He wears a mask and a hooded sweater when he meets with Abrams the first and only time. Every time Sparks sees The Reaper, he too is wearing a mask and hooded sweater.”

“Yeah, but Sparks knows who the loan shark is. He just won’t tell us,” Davies added. “Maybe we should go ahead with the plan to capture The Reaper. We would get them both then.”

Rourke chuckled and stopped pacing. “You know, that is a pretty good racket. Both loan shark and ghost supplier. Either way, whoever this person is gets all the money. Abrams said the loan shark is a big time techie,” Rourke stated.

“You thinking Kerchev again?”

“No. I honestly think he is clean. I don’t think this person is a big time techie, I think he wants people to assume he is. He probably has great skills, but little recognition for it.”

Davies stroked his goatee. “That would make sense. Maybe a disgruntled worker?”

A flash went off in Rourke’s head. He grinned down at Davies. “Put Marshall and Abrams in the hole. Charge Marshall with conspiracy and Abrams with extortion. Call Sparks and tell him to place that order. When you are done, meet me up at Command. We need to have a chat with Kerchev.”

Davies wasn’t sure what suddenly had Rourke excited, but he liked it. “Will do, Jeremy. See you in thirty.”

Davies waited until Rourke left and he called Shannehey and Tomas into his office. When they arrived, he gave them the Commander’s orders about Marshall and Abrams. While they set off to do their duty, Davies called Sparks.

“Commander Rourke said to place that order, Sparks,” Davies said over the link-in.

“Yeah, sure,” Sparks muttered. He’d still had very little sleep.

“And Sparks, if you tip The Reaper off, there will be hell to pay,” Davies explained and then cut the call.

Davies stood and was about to leave his office when his secure line buzzed.

Incoming call from Earth.

“Accepting call!” Davies barked into the air.

“Hey Davies. Sanchez here.”

“Good to hear from you, Sanchez. I hope you have some good news for me. I could really use some.”

“Do you still have a guy named Alex Murphy working on the Station?” Sanchez inquired.

“Sure do. He works in Mechanics as a tech. Why?”

“His brother, Jason Murphy, works for Ambassador Assad. And get this…” his voice trailed off and the sound of shuffling papers filed the airways for a second. “Their dad, Lieutenant Oscar Danton, served with Commander Rourke on Ganymede. He was dishonorably discharged for conspiring with the Makaa, and jailed for high treason. The boys use their mother’s maiden name.”

“Son of a… Thanks, Sanchez. I think you just solved our puzzle!”

_______________________________________________

Rourke waited for Davies as long as he could stand. He looked over at Kerchev, who sat across from him in the Command Center looking at his hands. ‘Have you fired or passed anyone over for promotion in the last six months?” he finally asked Kerchev.

“I haven’t fired anyone. I’ve reassigned some techs,” Kerchev offered as he lifted his head and focused on Rourke. “Scott Kingman… he works only on finances now. Jasper Ackerman… he got reassigned to intelligence.”

“But they still use their original skills, right?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Anyone else?”

“Yeah, shortly after we hired Marshall, I got a call from Brody and sent Adams and Murphy to him. I figured with Marshall’s skill set, I could do without two techs,” Kerchev stated.

Adams and Murphy. Rourke thought the two over in his head. Adams was genuinely scared, but Murphy… Murphy offered information. Wasn’t that one of the signals to look for in an investigation, someone planting themselves in to gain information?

“That’s all, Kerchev. You’ve been a great help,” Rourke said as he dismissed Kerchev.

Davies ran into Kerchev at the doorway. He was winded. “Sorry, man,” he said to the Tech as he skirted past him and into the Command Center.

“I know who it is!” Davies exclaimed as he sat down at the table.

“Murphy,” Rourke stated.

“How’d you know? I just found out from Sanchez.”

“Tell me what Sanchez found.”

Davies relayed all of the information he’d just learned from Sanchez. Danton, his two sons, and their connection to the Makaa. “I checked on Danton. He died six months ago in a high security prison in Turkey.”

“That’s about the time Murphy got bumped down from a high tech job to a lowly Mechanic tech job,” Rourke confirmed.

“So all of this is what? Revenge for his dad?”

“That and I think his vanity and pride got in the way.”

“Not to mention his high security clearance. He wouldn’t need that in Mechanics,” Davies said.

“Right, and without it, he couldn’t carry on his scheme as a loan shark and The Reaper.”

“Should I haul him in?” Davies asked.

Rourke shook his head. “No, we need hard core evidence. He’s covered his tracks pretty well so far. Let the sting with Sparks play out.”

Davies stood and slapped his hand across his thigh. “We’ve got this bastard!”

(more to come in tomorrow’s challenge!)

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3 Comments
  1. Wow – you wrote all this each day? Or do you schedule for each challenge? Impressive! ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

    • Hey Liz… I have written each section of the story for the day it was due on… nothing was preplanned and none of the story outlined or plotted… just flying by the seat of pants! Thanks for your lovely comments.

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