Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Speechless: Aiming High Part 3


I belonged in the position of Magistrate no more than I belonged aloft and flying through the sky. It was not my failure to catch Jack Lorenz that brought me to this conclusion. It was the actions of my fellow Judges that brought me to this conclusion. I sat in the darkness of Sturm’s office, hands folded, waiting for his return. He would return soon, no doubt. He would not be expecting me to be here. Why should he? I would out hunting Jack Lorenz. I would be being a useful tool, a sword that held swords. It is what I should be.

Sturm’s access card was glaring at me from where I had laid it in the center of his desk. It was not pleased with what I had done. “You were supposed to use me to catch Jack,” it whined. “You weren’t supposed to poke around needlessly. Your behavior is very unbecoming a Judge, let alone a Magistrate. You should be ashamed.”

I was ashamed. It was not for the reasons most would be though. I clicked the play button on Sturm’s computer again and watched the footage I had found over again. I watched each clip, my fingers pressing tight against one another thought. When they had finished, I watched them again. I had just finished watching that batch of them when the door to Sturm’s office cracked open.

He did not come through. No one came through. It appeared there was no one to come through. There was only the brief breath of air from the cold air outside of the office and its companion, fluorescent light. I didn’t rise from my seat at Sturm’s desk. There was no reason to. Few had the authority to question me if they found me here. There was no hurry. The animals had already been released.

The videos played on his computer for the ninth time. I wasn’t seeing anything new now. It was just like watching them the third or the fourth time. The same sounds, the same flashes. Now, it was not a shock, but simply another act that had been carried out. That is how Sturm would see it. Just like the torture of the rat, it would be just another means to an end.

It would yield the same results though, whether he cared to admit it or not. I had hoped he would, but he hadn’t. The last message sent by him from his hospital bed was to affirm his pleasure with the contents of the last video.

There was another set of feet walking past his office. They stopped at the door. I waited for Sturm to enter, as did his access card, as did the video of Mr. Shine. The feet dropped slipped three items under the door and pulled it closed.

I couldn’t see what had been left under the door. I would find out after I had spoken with Sturm about the appropriateness of releasing Mr. Shine and his handler Simon. We would discuss the prudence of everything the videos had shown. We would discuss what was dripping down the walls of their cell.

There were others we would talk about as well. We would talk about Anne and her brother Tobias. We would talk about Curtis Eye, about the little girl they called Riot, and about Daniel Corsair. There was a great deal to talk about. When we got to the end, we would talk about Jack Lorenz again.

I was watching the videos for the seventeenth time when the door handle turned and it swung open slowly. A hand flipped on the light switch and Sturm stared at me from across the room.

“Your mail is on the floor.”

“You haven’t gone through it already?”

“I’m not as rude as that. I only look at the things I am invited to look at.”

“I don’t think I remember inviting you to access my machine.”

“You passed me your access card.”

“In order to get whatever you needed to find Lorenz.”

“It hardly seems like he should be of top priority to me now Sturm.”

“Of course he’s top priority. He’s still the most active terrorist we’ve ever had to deal with.”

“Without catching you mean.”

Sturm hobbled forward on his crutches. He would have to stay off of the newly grafted on foot for at least a week before it would heal. He slumped into the chair I had been sitting in the day Angela had been killed.

“Tell me Sturm, about Mr. Shine.”

“Mr. Shine?”

I rose from the chair I was sitting in and turned the monitor to face him. The image on the screen was paused and fuzzy, but clear enough. It was clear enough to see the three human corpses lying on the floor. There was one male, two female. Their throats had been cut wide and deep. So deep were the cuts, the one female’s head looked like a hard shake would knock it loose from her shoulders. From the quantity of blood on the floor, it looked like there were probably more than just those three in the dingy cell we were watching. That would be believable too.

When I told you that the corpses throats were cut, I did not mention that their lips were missing. I did not mention it because they were not missing, per say. They were in little glass boxes on a shelf above the bodies. There were over thirty-six boxes resting on that shelf and each one had a name on them, written in what appeared to be lipstick.

What truly caught my attention was the individual in the foreground. He was unassuming as far as humans go, in appearance. They looked so much alike to each other anyway. This one had scruffy brown hair and a lanky presence, even though he was no more than five and half feet tall. He looked just like another human if you were able to ignore the fact that he was wearing no clothes except for a filthy, blood and bile covered apron. In his right hand, he was clutching a scalpel that shimmered in even the dim light of his cell.

From the video, I had learned that his name was Simon. His scalpel’s name was Mr. Shine. Mr. Shine thought lips were lovely. He liked to separate them from their owners for safekeeping and put them in little houses. He liked to tell people this as he cut the lips from their still thrashing bodies. He only cut their throats after he was done rescuing the lovely lips. I knew this because I watched the piranha guard outside his cell give him two trussed up humans to work with. I knew this because I watched as a ray bearing a letter from an Arbiter was delivered to the piranha. Together, they cleaned and dressed Simon and Mr. Shine and released them to the outside world.

“That’s right. Tell me about Mr. Shine.”

I hit the play button.

Sturm fidgeted in his seat, averting his eyes from the screen as Simon talked so softly to the first woman. No, I correct myself, as he talked to so softly to her lips.

“What’s wrong Arbiter? You’ve watched this before. You watched all of these. Shall I queue up Mr. Eye? How about Riot? Would it make you less squeamish to watch a little girl squeeze a man’s head until his eyes pop out from across the room before asking for another toy?”


“I am waiting for you to tell me about these people Sturm. I am waiting to hear why they were not disposed of, or sterilized and fitted with explosives. Those are our orders are they not?”

“This situation is different.”

“How is it different Sturm? How is releasing over a dozen murderers contrary to our orders? One of them killed over three hundred Judges just by walking out in the bay.”

“They are being escorted into Chrysalis Falls. I have my orders as well. The Consulate believe they will destabilize the city.”

“It took Lord Leviathan himself to contain Corsair!”

Strum was silent for a moment.

“Lord Leviathan wasn’t able to contain Corsair. Corsair left a hole in him the size of a truck. It was only after Corsair finally ran out of energy and fell asleep that we were able to contain him. Lord Leviathan is still recovering. I… I don’t believe he is aware of The Consulate’s plan.”

“What does Jack Lorenz matter now to me Sturm? What does anything matter? We are the kind of people that would release a god-killer back into the world to make our lives easier.”

“You forget Nagy. You’re just as guilty as anyone else. You’ve stooped to my methods in the past. You fell in love with a human. When it comes time for you to be Judged, you’ll be found wanting like the rest of us.”

I was across the desk and severing his head before he could continue any further. I kicked the chair with his corpse in it aside and finished making my way across the desk. I picked up the three pieces of mail that had come for him. Two messages were from The Consulate, one from Lord Kraken himself.

I tucked them into my kimono along with Sturm’s access card and pulled the door closed behind me. I swiped his card behind me and I heard the door lock.

There would be time to get inside Pier 451 before his body was found. From there, I would find Lorenz. Then… I would have to go into the corrupted city itself. I was unworthy, but my masters were even less so. I would have to find my own way.

The water would guide me towards purity. With luck and grace, it would carry my message to The Divine.

I was ronin now.

Mr. Shine glimmered in the back of my mind.

No. I had always been ronin. It was all I could be.

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