Code Dead – The intermission between “Glenda” and “I, The Jury” [Chapter 4, Part 3]
Just standing there, Madam Wu’s avatar, ADA Onatopp is no hapless woman-in-peril, though. Nor should she ever be mistaken for one in any situation.
There is more than a hint of cold-calculation on the part of the three female principals involved—they exude it in spades. Madam Wu, ADA Onatopp, and Mondo Kane are “thinking” women—the “slide rule” jockey type who you never want to cross swords with. Never underestimate them because of their looks—mere sexual objectification, at your own risk. None are harmless harpies. All are capable of populating a given situation with evil intent, as well as murderous intent in the case of Madam Wu and Mondo.
And above and beyond that … Never underestimate the guile of any female, most especially that of a full-grown woman. Women are not called the deadliest of the species [any species] frivolously or lightly or without due cause. Mortal males have the distinct advantage of being physically stronger than their female counterparts—it’s their saving grace, their ace in the hole, in many ways their sole defense against a competing female’s superior cunning. Alas … Supernatural males have no such advantage.
Then Mondo kicks it up several notches, with the intent of fine-tuning the appeal of her look. As if to punctuate her own well-deserved reputation for perversion and penchant for inspired fetishism, the shrew lets her hair back down—inspired no doubt by the severe hairdo of female members [i.e. Talia Winters] of the PSI Corps of Earth Alliance in the Babylon 5 universe. Think: Lorna Maitland’s measurements were 42D-22-36; she was three months pregnant during the two week Lorna shoot, which augmented her already very large breasts. Sternka giving way to strait hair has a similar effect on augmenting the severity of a face that’s already pegging the dominatrix scale. Employing a coy usage [of head movement], of which she’s quite adept; Mondo gives teasing glimpses of her creepy knobb to keep the hook well baited. ADA Onatopp’s nethers moisten; likewise for Madam Wu. Give them a taste of shrew à la spinster: strait gives way sternka, and add sternns for good measure. Then kick them in the balls for effect: sternka abdicates, strait returns, makeup stays put [stilted and heavy]. It’s the often razor-thin distinction between a confidential secretary and a private one, although the titles are used interchangeably—there is a difference, as Mondo has so aptly demonstrated, although that was not her primary intent.
What about sternns delete? She’s still toying with the idea. They don’t get pursed, for now. Nor do her prudz. To reiterate: private vs. confidential secretary. Besides, she’s made note of the fact that Madam Wu is wearing old-fashioned nose pinchers for eye glasses and gloved with prudz.
“You have stated to me that no one killed Ricky in your opinion, Vampire. But before we start in earnest with your what-if … Let’s make this ‘exercise’ official, and dispense with even the appearance of impropriety. Ergo, this is no longer an obvious sham, for my benefit. I hereby ‘permit’ the humans to have what they wish … a proper legal proceeding … I declare myself, my family, my [restaurant] staff, my House, and my associations to be impartial non-indigenous supernatural parties in this matter. And … furthermore … I am the ‘neutral’, if that’s agreeable to all parties concerned.”
A CCTV feed materializes near the table. It broadcasts the proceedings into the chambers of Judge Cahill [the associated human judge]. Present in the judge’s chambers are Judge Cahill [a human] and his court clerk [who is likewise mundane]. Obviously, Madam Wu as neutral is agreeable to all parties concerned.
As the various dishes are partaken, by Madam Wu and our Miss Kane, ADA Onatopp’s part of the cross begins upon a seemingly casual gesture from Madam Wu.
“Discuss why you, Miss Kane, dismissed Ricky McCormick’s criminal associates as responsible for his death.”
Madam Wu smiles at ADA Onatopp’s reference to the Vampire as Miss Kane. She likes that usage. It fits her intended use of the Dead girl.
“They’re much too direct for such a methodology.”
“Don’t you mean stupid, Miss Kane?” asks Madam Wu, no longer referring to Mondo as Vampire.
“I meant what I said. Direct is not the same as stupid. For example, Goons are very direct in their murderous intent. In their Business, you murder someone to make an example out of them for purely business reasons. There is nothing stupid about their methodology; it’s quite sophisticated, in fact.”
“Please continue, Miss Kane.”
Madam Wu and ADA Onatopp will continue to tag team Mondo. But whoever is executing the cross, Mondo is always careful to look ADA Onatopp dead in the eyes when she’s giving her answer. After all, this is a human proceeding, albeit in a Dragon context. And, as such, there was no need for Mondo to swear in before giving her testimony, because she is supernatural and therefore “bound” to tell the truth.
“I don’t know if Ricky McCormick’s associates are stupid in their usage, but their usage is quite direct. If this death was murder, it was anything but direct. It speaks of circumvention of forensics on par with that of how Were murder.”
“Are you capable of murdering in this way; this Were way of misdirection?”
“Continue. And … Give us your expert opinion on the murderous IQ of Ricky’s associates based upon your study in connection with this case of their past known crimes. Not conjecture on your part, just your expert opinion.”
“Their murder IQ is very low, to non-existent.”
“Now let’s discuss the involvement of Werewolves in Ricky McCormick’s death.”
“Why, Miss Kane?”
“I believe in that manila envelope you’re holding is irrefutable proof of why any Were involvement is immaterial.”
It’s ADA Onatopp’s turn to smile broadly. And she does so. Skillfully, she’s steered Mondo’s testimony in such a way that she can now introduce evidence that would otherwise be prohibited. With supernaturals involved and national security at stake, and this being a closed door proceeding and all, ADA Onatopp must serve as council for the defense and the prosecution. This is not the first time that ADA Onatopp has been pressed into special service.
“Before we discuss that, let’s discuss Ricky McCormick’s cryptic note. Is it a code dead?”
“I need detectives Eddie Dean Kent and Samantha Teri Lane for that.”
All of the goings-on in the restaurant are suddenly apparent to detectives Eddie Dean Kent and Samantha Teri Lane. The same can now be said of officers Buggy Nova and Sara Del Rey.
“They will confirm my suspicion that under expert scrutiny back at the police lab Ricky McCormick’s original note, which was borrowed from the FBI, and the copy in police possession are identical in the ordinary sense of the word.”
“The court acknowledges this conformation of ordinariness, and accepts the notarized statements of Detective Eddie Dean Kent and his partner Detective Samantha Teri Lane into evidence, after said detectives are sworn in and they testify to the same.”
The detectives are sworn in and testify that the two notes are identical in the ordinary sense of the word, and that they were present when the test was done by the lab tech, Riley Jensen. In Judge Cahill’s chambers, Riley enters, is sworn in, and confirms the results of the tests. Of course the government official, with legit credentials from an agency that the judge has never heard of before, who’s also present in the judge’s chambers has no challenge to Riley’s expertise, nor does he ask for Riley to leave the room after his testimony is given. Neither the judge nor his clerk wonders why—they can fill in the blanks on their own—in the interest of protecting national security and under the threat of being charged with treason if they don’t, both of them have signed confidentiality agreements supplied by the aforementioned government official. Of course, all of the notes the clerk is taking will be confiscated, marked Top Secret, and sealed.
Once the detectives finished testifying, they disappeared, materializing downtown at police headquarters.
ADA Onatopp removes the two notes from her envelope, allows Mondo to compare, and then returns the copy to said envelope.
“Your conclusion is?”
“The two notes are identical in the ordinary sense of the word, as I suspected.”
She allows Mondo the original.
“Please read the note from here … that line … to … there …”
“I’m dying. I can feel it. I hope Beegie makes it there in time. I don’t want to die alone, there. There is where I want to die …”
“As you can see, the copy is abridged. The lines you just read are only in original. Nevertheless, they [the original and the copy] are identical in the ordinary sense of the word. In the interest of national security, all copies of Ricky McCormick’s note are deletions—obfuscation would have proved … at the very least … ‘indelicate’, I dare say even indiscreet.”
ADA Onatopp returns the original to said envelope.
“Miss Kane, what is a code dead?”
“It’s an anti-life equation. If that’s what Ricky McCormick had stumbled on accidently in the course of writing his note, he had written an anti-life; then he would have died. But because you can make an identical copy of his note, his note cannot be a code dead.”
The fact that the two police officers [Bugs and Sara] have not been removed, speaks volumes of who they have connections with. Like Riley, they too must be with some government intelligence agency, secret or otherwise.
Idiot savants have been known to stumble on “profound” things by pure chance—secrets of Creation kind of things. For that reason, governments watch them closely; carefully and surreptitiously scrutinizing their output. Obviously, Ricky McCormick stumbled on such a thing or maybe even things, which explains why certain portions of the original are not in the copies and why Mondo was allowed to read only a certain portion of the original. That doesn’t explain why the lines that Mondo read in “court” were deleted.
“So far … None of this, Miss Kane, proves that Miss Beegie Leslee Thomas-Adair is innocent of wrongdoing or that Ricky was not murdered. What else in that manila envelope provides that proof? And how did you legally obtain said evidence?”
Not to quibble about details, but it was ADA Onatopp’s code dead tangent that delayed Mondo’s discussion about said proof. Mondo doesn’t take Madam Wu to task about this; discretion being the better part of valor in this situation.
Beegie prefers to be called “Ms.”, but she knows better than to correct Madam Wu; once again, discretion being the better part of valor in this situation.
“The proof is footage of Ricky McCormick’s death taken by a spy satellite.”
A triumphant ADA Onatopp is finally allowed by Mondo’s disclosure to produce detailed photos of that fateful night and introduce them as evidence. She allows Mondo to inspect the photos. Then she hands them to Dwayne and Beegie for their inspection, before finally returning them to Mondo’s hands. Both Dwayne and Beegie gasp at what is revealed in the Polaroids, and realize why they were allowed to see them.
“My phone, Phone, obtained raw footage for me. It maps to the ‘processed’ photos that you are showing me.”
“What do you mean by processed? Do you mean doctored?”
“No, I mean processed. The snaps are legit. They are obviously the result of some type of top secret, hi-tech photographic process. Unclassified tech indigenous to your world cannot record Were, either visually or audibly. But, as you can see in the photos, you can clearly see Miss Thomas-Adair with Ricky McCormick, both in her human form and later as her Wolf. At no time is she shown doing anything nefarious to Ricky McCormick. He appears to have just died. There is no evidence of anyone killing him.”
“In your expert opinion as an experienced murderer, not speculating … People do just die, don’t they?”
“It happens. Not common. But, it does happen.”
“Describe this process, used in the footage supplied by the government, from what your research has uncovered.”
“I cannot. I don’t know what the process entails. Nor did I have any foreknowledge of its [the process’] existence. This is my first time seeing the processed snaps. As I have stated before, I previously had access to raw footage only to formulate my conclusions. I had surmised from careful scrutiny of those [raw] snaps, using some predictive modeling algorithms and discrete extrapolation techniques, that someone else and later someone’s Wolf were also in the company of Ricky McCormick while he died. The processed footage shows Miss Thomas-Adair as being one in the same: that unknown person [the someone else] and that unidentified Wolf [the someone’s Wolf], which I had deduced from the raw footage.”
“By what legal means did you obtain your classified raw footage?”
“A clause in the off-world treaty between your universe and mine, allows me to obtain state secrets by any means necessary as long as it’s ‘for just cause’, said discoveries are not subsequently used against the legitimate government in question, I refrain from unauthorized disclosure of said secrets, and I detail to said government the means by which I obtained those secrets so that the aggrieved government can prevent their future violation by those means.”
Under oath, the government official in Judge Cahill’s chambers affirms that Mondo did just that.
“Neither Ms. Thomas-Adair nor the other Weres involved are found to be culpable nor are they found libel. The state drops its motion against them, waves any further criminal action, and injuncts any future civil action by any party against them.”
“Ricky McCormick’s death remains unsolved.”
“Court is adjourned.”
The CCTV fades away, along with ADA Onatopp and officers Buggy Nova and Sara Del Rey. ADA Onatopp materializes at the DA’s office. Officers Buggy Nova and Sara Del Rey materialize by their police cruiser.
“Shaking my hand, that was your only mistake—you’re not supposed to make any unnecessary physical contact with ‘another’. But you had to, for some unknown reason that completely escapes me.”
Dwayne starts to say something, but Madam Wu waves him off. This is between Mondo and Beegie, and it’s Mondo who has fired the first salvo.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You’re me in this universe. You’re one of my alternates.”
Too late, Dwayne realizes that he’s been used. You can see it in his eyes. He believed in her [Beegie’s] innocence; so did the others. He was so sold on Mondo’s guilt.
Beegie decides to stop playing dumb. Why not? She got away with it [cold-bloodied murder], scot-free.
“And I think of you as one of mine. I just had to touch you, flesh on flesh. You obviously don’t understand why; doubt I could explain it to you.”
“I can cipher how to kill any person, place, or thing. Yours, on the other hand, appears to be the more ‘closet’ talent.”
“Closet, what?” Beegie smiles, as she asks mockingly.
“That style to kill someone and, even under the closet scrutiny, make it look like they just died. I don’t know how you did it; I just know you did it.”
“You said no one killed Ricky McCormick.”
“And ‘no one’ did.”
“Who is ‘no one’?”
Finally someone has asked the right question, albeit the guilty party, asking it rhetorically.
“You are ‘no one’.”
“You got all this from merely touching me?”
“Yep. But … since I divined it via supernatural means, it was not of course admissible in a human courtroom; hence, my response of ‘no one’. Judicially speaking, I expressed myself truthfully, per the letter of the law, which was all that was required of me. If the court didn’t pay enough attention to my dictation and confused ‘no one’ with no one, that’s clearly not my fault. I never lied in my testimony; I just choose my words carefully. If ADA Onatopp had been as slick a prosecutor as she was a defense attorney, she might have noticed that, and that might have been enough of a tipoff and things might have gone differently for you.”
“Thanks … I’ll know to wear gloves next time, when I shake the hands of my others [my other alternates]. Better yet, as you so well advised, I’ll avoid all unnecessary physical contact with them. Of course, I’m quite familiar with the ‘no unnecessary physical contact’ caveat, but what I was unaware of was just how much you can reveal of yourself to the ‘other’ when you violate it—heavy duty ramifications, indeed. What’s most interesting about that though is that it seems to have been a one-way street, as I learned nothing of you. There must be some trick to it, that I don’t know and you do?”
Mondo continues to display her prowess, revealing even more of what was revealed to her via a mere handshake. Her casual use of such virtuosity “disturbs” Beegie somewhat—maybe this one will not prove to be the soft touch that Beegie initially thought that she would be. “Maybe this one is an abomination like I am, if so that would explain an awful lot”: Beegie thinks.
“As for killing all the others … that won’t make you The One. It’s been tried before—proved to be nothing more than an urban legend. It doesn’t work.”
“Thanks for the advice, I’m well aware of that past failure, but I’d rather try for myself anyways. Cause you never know, I might prove to be the exception.”
“I hope whatever they’re promising you is worth it.”
“Impossible!!! She grafted about our deal, as well!!! Worse, she’s implying that the dog is also in cahoots with the humans!!!” That stray thought is Madam Wu’s.
“Maybe you should worry more about your own well-being, just saying.”
“I’ve never been one to worry.”
“You’re looking a little peaked, these days. Coming down with something? Cold? Flu? Nervous condition? Lost your nerve? Maybe I should look you up and see how you’re doing.”
“I’m in the phone book. I’m not hard to find.”
Mondo purses her sternns. Beegie totally misses the significance of the gesture. Mondo is discreetly asking Madam Wu to decide: me or her, you have to choose.
“You might be biting off more than you can chew?”
“I was just thinking the same thing, about you … in passing. Too bad [for you] that petite doesn’t work on protected humans or supernaturals. So, you’d have to do me the old-fashioned way.”
Maybe it’s what she’s been saying [such in-depth information plumbed from a single handshake] or how she’s been saying it [in the cavalier manner that one killer speaks to another killer who they perceive as their lesser in the “art” of murder] or maybe it’s both.
But … whichever it is … Mondo finally hits a nerve.
“Stuck up, bitch!!! My talent is nothing so trivial as that!!! I can kill in any style, indistinguishable from even its most virtuoso practitioners … just like you can!!! I can kill protected humans!!! I can kill supernaturals!!! I can kill you!!!”
Thanks for confirming what I had already guessed. I just needed you to say it out loud mouth in front of Madam Wu.
Madam Wu raises an eyebrow: just the reaction that Mondo was looking for.
“Anyone can be killed, no matter the precautions employed, if someone is determined to kill them.”
That’s when Beegie realizes that she’s been had. Even a fish can’t be caught, if it doesn’t open its mouth.
“Please put your glasses on, Miss Kane. I find you much more attractive, that way.”
Mondo obeys Madam Wu, and does as she is told. She slips her sternns back on.
“Miss Thomas-Adair, your services will henceforth be no longer needed. Consider all agreements with us null and void. Good luck in your future endeavors with the humans.”
Before Beegie can get in the last word, Madam Wu gestures and Beegie fades away.
“Hopefully, Miss Kane, you will be more discreet than your predecessor, Miss Thomas-Adair. You will begin in the morning with your hostess training. Sue-Ling and Jung-Li [the Taiwan Amazons] will do their best to ensure that your services should prove adequate, for my needs. You will speak only when you are told to and you will dress the way you are now, while you are in my service. How you are off-duty is not of my concern.”
Madam Wu gestures. Mondo and Dwayne fade away. They materialize in his apartment.