Byross Short Story

Byross Short Story

A Story by Trevor
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The city is about to riot, two kids are implicated in an assassination and the King needs answers. (Acts as Chapter 2 to my Byross script as well as it's own Chapter 1).

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 “This...I've never had to deliver news of this level of significance in the entirety of my career. Most would wish for something earth shattering and important to make a name for themselves, but...I feel sick. Alright, let’s just...get into it, I suppose. During the weekly Royal address in the early evening last night, King Ned chose to unveil a brand new policing force for the city of Hermiphia. These new urban soldiers would be the first official and royally sanctioned protectors we have had since the King disbanded the Guard from the city nearly thirteen years ago. Equipped with the latest in lightweight, durable armors, powerful firearms with a plethora of variable special ammunition types, and high tech vision helms, these officers would have replaced the gangs running rampant in the capital city with a legitimate crime-fighting organization. Some of you may have noticed that I said ‘would have’ just then.

    “*sigh* Almost as soon as the ceremony began in Deltan park, a sniper fired onto the stage, killing Ms. Felia Kaplan, captain of the New Hermiphian Police Force. The highly trained officers of the NHPF quickly located the source of the fatal shot on top of the old Jenner complex just overlooking the park. The crowd began to disperse as the NHPF returned fire on the assassin. It was not long, however, before more gangsters - No, I’m sorry. Let’s call them what they are: terrorists. These terrorists managed to flank the brave men and women on stage from the memorial tower in the park and...

    “Sergeants Yilond and Tren were the only survivors of this sickening attack. It is believed that all of the...individuals involved are now in custody and are under interrogation. Their identities will not be revealed until investigators are absolutely certain of where the guilt lies in this tragedy. Now, we do have footage from that night, pieced together from the cameras and video phones from those in the audience. The reduced quality of these images does not make the events themselves any less disturbing, so any sensitive viewers may wish to - “

    Mick Vont had stretched his arm and stood on his toes to switch the high held monitor off. As he heard the blonde news man's voice suddenly die, he pulled his arm back down to his side, stopping only to let the cigarette between his two fingers rest on his lips. Mick rested his back on the cold wall beneath the vacant screen, taking deep breaths through the unlit roll of paper and processed plant particles. He let his right arm rest, lifting his left to take the cigarette from his mouth. His forefinger tapped the end, and he imagined the bright embers and ashes dropping, soiling the hyper-clean Palace floors. Mick was trying to distract himself. Worse yet, he knew it.

    He hadn't done any proper work, none he could be proud of anyway, since the department was “re-purposed” a decade and a half ago. Drug dealers, thugs, fraudulent corporations, serial killers, those he could be proud to bring down he brought down. Then King Ned’s reign started. That self-important fool. Mick wasn't tracking criminals anymore, wasn't arresting bad guys. His activities would be confined to the Royal Palace and it’s residents. Gossip became evidence, a sly comment of his majesty became a crime, the King’s mood was probable cause. It’s not hard to figure out who hates the King when everyone does. His job became a joke. So much so that he could barely take it seriously now. When he actually had to do his job again.

   Was he nervous? Mick didn't think so. Excited? He hoped not. Mick wasn't sure he felt anything at that moment. Perhaps it just hadn't sunk in yet. The mere prospect of doing solemn work seemed a distant one. He considered for a moment breaking the King’s law, pulling out his lighter and blackening his lungs just a bit. Why not? Who would stop him? He’s the lead investigator of the most monumental tragedy in over ten years. The little offences seem so inconsequential next to the bigger ones. Mick withdrew the lighter from his pocket.

    “Oh, you better not be doing what I think you’re doing.” echoed a voice from down the left hall. Mick glanced quickly and let out a sigh when he saw the officer’s uniform.

    “You must be confused, my good man.” said Mick, trying to hide a guilty grin. “I've not lit my cigarette. I've committed no crime.”

    “Ah, so you admit it’s yours, then? That’s all I needed to know.” The man in the baby blue uniform and helmet sauntered up to Mick, shoulders tight and arms off the sides, ready for anything.

    “Is it a crime now just to own a cigarette? I don’t seem to recall the good King proclaiming that.”

    “He said it three minutes ago, sir. Sorry, but ignorance of the law is no excuse. Especially for someone in your position. Now come along with me so that you m-may face the-the King’s justiceHahahahahahahaha!” The man broke into uncontrollable laughter, and it was only half-way through the episode that Mick recognized the voice under the visor. He swore quietly to himself for not seeing past the act sooner.

    “Billand, you son of a b***h.” he said, half angry and stifling a laugh himself. Billand Som awkwardly removed his helm between fits of giggling, unearthing the short, jet black mess some would call hair. The tall man was mostly handsome. A very strong chin and eyes that always seemed awake. People would call him handsome if not for his skinny, pointed nose, taking the attention from his other qualities. They love to focus on the bad more than the good.

    “Its-Its just the fact that you didn't know! You couldn't tell! That’s what getting me!” He managed to explain.

    “Really? I just thought you couldn't say ‘King’s Justice’ with a straight face.” Mick chuckled.

    “Mr. Vont, I’ll tell you right now, I don’t tolerate comments that insinuated anything unjust about his majesty.” Billand held his composure and air of seriousness for mere seconds before both men could no longer hold it in. The empty hall echoed with the forbidden laughter of the two peacekeepers.

    “Oh Lord. Heh. So Mick, can I assume you’re heading into the city for the reason I am?” Mick was about to light his cigarette before he looked to Billand for his approval. He gave it. Two deep breaths before he considered the question.

    “I’m to go down and interrogate the terrorists responsible for the massacre. Just waiting for my escort, then - Oh, wait.” he said, raising the burning roll in his hand to point. “You’re my escort aren't you?”

    “Nothing gets by you, does it?” he mocked. “Yeah, I’m pulling double duty on this one. I’m getting you down there safely and then I've got witnesses to interview.”

    “Why do I feel like you could just as much information watching the grainy cell footage on the news?”

    “Hey, it’s Kings orders. Plus,” he added “I’m not on cleanup crew.” Mick began to walk down the gray and silver hall toward the train station. He gestured for Billand to follow.

    “Oh God, I’d hate to be those poor b******s. Did you know any of them? In the NHPF?”

    “A little. Not well enough to grieve, but...y’know.”

    “Imagine what they must feel. Scraping their friends blood and brains off of the pavement. And the grass in the park. I’d never go down there again if I lived there.”

    “Some folk’s homes are right under the park, actually. That’s right on their roof.”

    “F**k. I’d forgotten about those. Those poor people.” He tossed his cigarette toward a waste can and missed. Neither said another word until they were in their small, underground train car, about halfway to Hermiphia. Mick read a magazine in the windowless car, Billand listened to his music. If you asked Mick he would say it was a miracle Billand's ears didn't bleed it was so loud. Fortunately, it seemed Billand forgot to charge the player before he left the Palace. Unfortunately, Mick wouldn't be able get through the rest of his magazine with his escort wanting conversation.

    “You got any, y’know, theories so far? About why they did it?” Billand asked, earnestly. Mick reluctantly closed the thin little book.

    “Bill, I haven’t interviewed either of the suspects or seen any evidence beyond what was on the TV. And the news station is owned by the King anyway, so even what was shown on that is questionable.” His friend seemed unsatisfied with the answer he was given. Mick let out a heavy sigh. “But, from what I've heard, gang war seems the most obvious explanation. That city’s been at their mercy for years, so it makes sense that whoever’s on top in the food chain wants it to stay that way. But, like I said, I don’t know enough yet.” He snapped the book back open and pretended to read it for the rest of their journey. The train stopped directly under the old police station in the city. When the pair emerged, they were greeted with heavily armed soldiers and workmen trying to get the old station up and running.

    “That’s right.” Bill remarked. “The old place is a decade behind in security.” They made their way through the crowded station and to the front desk. The fat woman greeted Billand with a smile and was pointed to his interrogation room. A line of anxious people leading from it. Mick wished him luck and Bill made some sarcastic comment Mick didn't hear. The front desk greeted Mick with smile, a small tablet (containing the files on the suspects, he was told) and pointed down the hallway on his right. Upon entering the gray, square room, he draped his long coat over the back of one of the little metal chairs and made eye contact with the cameras in opposite corners of the room. He sat and stared at the tablet before switching the thing on. He tapped the first of the two icons, the one marked ‘B. Folkin’.

    The file read:


Name: Byross Folkin

Age: 23

Sex: M


Mick skipped down to the end, where the real information was.


    “Suspect sniper in NHPF shooting. Located on the roof of the Jenner complex with suspect Jessik Cull. Ballistics show the round that killed Captain Kaplan was fired from a La’Shrakan  rifle, also found on the roof, with Folkin’s fingerprints on the grip, barrel and trigger. Both suspects were found unconscious on the roof.” The hell happened? Did they try to kill themselves with some bad arsenic or something? No, toxicology came back negative. Mick buzzed the front desk from the tablet to let him know to send the first one in. He thought he was ready to begin. He was not, however, prepared for the nervous, wiry boy they threw into the room with him. Mick said nothing as he took stock of his new environment, all twitches and wide eyes. Once he was settled, the boy planted himself in the cold chair opposite Mick.

    “My name is Mick Vont. Do you know why you’re here, Mr. Folkin?” The twitchy mass of limbs nearly leapt from his chair. His eyes somehow managed to open even wider.

    “I didn't kill that woman! I swear to-to-”

    “Whoa! Alright, OK, so that’s a yes. Just, take some deep breaths. Yeah, in and out. Good. Ok, you wanna tell me what happened? Why were you unconscious on the roof of the Jenner Complex with the murder weapon, Byross?” Byross was startled at first at the sound of his name, but took one more breath before starting.

    “I was with my brother Joll. At his apartment. We were just watching TV when this-this news broadcast starts in the middle of the game. It said that these people were firing on a crowd in Deltan Park, right? So, I called my friend Vor. He said he had just seen it too and that we should get moving if we were gonna stop it. He told me -”

    “Wait, hold on, you were going to stop a massacre in the street? With your friends?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Why, kid?”

    “We’d been doing stuff like that for years. Who do you think kept people safe while the Guard was gone?” Mick had a distinctly difficult time picturing this kid protecting anyone at all. Though it was still early in the interview. Maybe he’d be surprised. “Anyway, he told me to meet up with Jessik on the Jenner Complex. Said it had a good vantage point of the park. She brought the rifle, I was gonna be her spotter.” She just brought a La’Shrakan military grade rifle? Who are these kids? “But once we got there, we noticed that there weren't any gun shots or people screaming or anything. Everything was fine. That’s when I went unconscious. I have no idea what happened afterward. Well, I mean, I do now.”

   “Alright Byross, first question. That was her rifle? Your prints are all the weapon.” The boy straightened when he heard this.

    “That...doesn't make any sense. I never touched the gun. I’m usually the guy making quick-shots on the run.” Mick wondered what the hell that meant.

    “Right. Now you claim you fell unconscious before any shot was fired, correct?”

    “Yeah. Yes, that’s right.”

    “Do you think Jessik knocked you out so she could take the shot without you seeing?”

    “I...No. No she’d never do something like that. And even if she would, she would tell me. We’d talk about it.” Sounds like they're together or something. “And wasn't she out like me when you guys found us anyway? She do that to herself?”

    “You've got a good point, kid and I’m gonna be working every angle I can. The Palace and the public want someone to lynch but I won’t throw anyone under without being one hundred percent certain. The officer outside will take you back to your cell. Thanks for your cooperation.”

    If these interrogations were going to reveal some sort of teenaged swat team in Hermiphia, he was going to need to be much more awake for them. He poked his head out as Byross was escorted back to holding to ask the fat woman at the front desk for something caffeinated, he didn't care what it was. Mick thought that, unless the wiry little nerve ball was the single greatest actor and liar alive, there was no way he could have killed anyone. So who would want to take out a new police force? The obvious answer was rival gang. But Byross said that he had seen a broadcast of the shooting before it even happened. Did the media know about this? Who would even have information on the NHPF beforehand, anyway? And how did they send a fake newscast to only these kids? Mick was tired and he knew his day had only just started. He tapped the bright screen, opening the next file.


Name: Jessik Cull

Age: 24

Sex: F

Height: Yadda yadda and so on. Nothing that really matters. He scrolled down.


She was on the roof with Byross. The rifle was hers but the prints on it were his. And officially she’s just the manager of some little convenience shop downtown. Is this their front? Mick would need to send officers down there. Maybe they could turn up some firearms or maybe one of those little manifests the more dramatic psychopaths enjoy. He didn't expect anything like a confession note, just something to help him paint a clearer picture.

    Jessik came in escorted by two of the Guard from outside. Apparently she had bitten someone when they tried to arrest her. Mick liked her already. She looked a little beat up, some marks on her face. One of the officers handed him the drink he had requested. It was hot. He was hoping for something colder. As he took a long sip from the mug, the girl’s eyes fired directly into his. He raised his eyebrows to her, trying to brush them off. But truthfully, Mick was having a hard time not finding this girl with short brown hair terrifying. He was going to need a stronger drink.

   “Jessik Cull, do you know why you are being held here today?” She flicked some stray hairs out of her face before responding.

    “Some people were shot. You think we started it.”

    “Not just some people. And not just shot. Royal soldiers were assassinated and the bullet that made the first initial kill shot came from your rifle. From what I've heard already, your little posse had something going for itself. Rival gangs taken out and arms added to your collection over the years. So, it’s not hard for me to imagine the big fish wanted things to stay the way they were. You killed Captain Kaplan and six others on the stage last night to keep what you all had built, that sound about right?”

    “No.” she said, flatly.

    “Oh right, I forget about how you knocked out your boyfriend so he couldn't see you take the shot.”

     She slammed her fists on the table, making the Guards behind her take a cautious step forward. “No! Someone had gotten to us on the roof! They hit Byross with something and when I turned to look they kicked me in the head!” That explains the bruises. She slumped back in her chair. “We were lying down, taking a view of the stage. There wasn't anything going on which freaked us out because we’d both seen on the news that it was a bloodbath. Byross was about to call the rest of the...team, I guess, but someone came out and got us.”

    Mick rotated his tablet and opened the notes. “Alright, what can you tell me about this guy? If they are a guy.”

    She leaned forward, rubbing her fingers together. “I think they were. Their voice was deep enough. Though I was fading out, my hearing might not have been the best.”

    Mick looked up from his notes. “Wait, you heard them speak?”

    “Yeah, almost right after they fired the gun. I heard them say something.”

    “What?”

    “They got real low next to where Byross was lying and I think they said ‘Keep up the good f****n’ work.’” The hell does that mean?

    “You think it has anything to do with what you all were doing before? With your gang?”

    “It’s not a gang!” She answered like she had said it a hundred times before. “We help people! We were getting guns off the street and feeding people!”

    “Alright, alright! I’m not gonna argue semantics with you, Ms. Cull, I’m just to figure out what happened.” Mick really needed a cigarette. “Now, how many members of your...organization are there? I’ll have questions for them. To confirm the facts in your story.” The girl tensed up and glanced around the room. “Look, there’s nothing resembling a structured law enforcement body in Hermiphia right now. I get that. If you guys were, I don’t know, keeping the peace the entire time, great. I thank you for that. But now we’re trying to dive into this whole cluster-f**k basically with our eyes closed. I won’t be ordering any arrests of any of your friends if what they say checks with what you say, OK? All I need is information.”

    She took a slow breath before nodding in agreement. Apparently, they were hiding out in some abandoned school downtown. Not the worst place to hold up. Besides Byross and herself, she told him, there were three other people on their team. Two boys, Dany and Vor, and one other girl named Fae. She mentioned several times to be careful around Vor. And she mentioned it once more walking out the door back to her cell. Mick could scarcely imagine what this kid had done to warrant so many warnings. The day was only half over but he already wanted his bed.

    Stepping outside for some fresh air (and hopefully to find an empty alley for a quick smoke) the fat woman mentioned something about his office being ready. Mick was unaware that an office was even being put together. One of the workmen brought him around a few corners and brought him to the sleek door that guarded Mick’s new office. The workman, whose name Mick never learned, commented on how close it was to the restrooms and how lucky that was. Mick just nodded and entered the new space. A desk was attached to the wall on his right, with a monitor resting on top and a keyboard beneath it. The entirety of the left wall was a touch screen. Someone knew he liked to see everything he worked on. He’s old fashioned that way. He looked around for the wheeled chair and found it in the corner near the door.

    Mick found the grove on the desk top and slide his tablet into place. All of the files appeared on the monitor in alphabetical order. He spent the next few hours arranging what little he did have on the screen wall, changing the background on the computer to something less default and generally staring at nothing. He found himself wanting another drink when Billand came in, appearing relieved when he saw Mick.

    “There you are. Didn't know you had gotten an office.”

    “Neither did I. Just found out about it.”

    “You've really made it your own, I see.” Billand jabbed, pointing to the background image on the screen; a concert with a much younger Mick Vont with a rather attractive and barely dressed young lady.

    “It’s practically a home away from home already.” Mick smiled

    “Yeah. How’d it go with the merciless psychopaths?”

    “As far as I can tell, they didn't kill anyone. Well, at least not Kaplan.”

    “Yeah, most of the witnesses said as much. Did you know they were some kinda kiddie crime-fighters?”

    Mick chuckled, “They’d put it in different words, but yeah. It seems like they've been helping people out while Ned screwed them over.”

    “Yeah. Most everyone I talked to said they would never do something like this. They were heroes and all that. Though others say they say it coming a mile away. Didn't care much for those ones, myself. Have you taken a look outside? There are actually people protesting for their release. It’s getting f****n’ crazy.” Mick said nothing. “I read the report though. They were unconscious when our guys got ‘em on that roof, right? Did the kids see who got to ‘em?

    Mick sighed. “The girl, Jessik, she said she heard them say something after they beat the crap out of her and the boy. Something about ‘keeping up the good work.’ I don’t know.”

    “That’s some weird s**t, man. Alright, now that we’re looking for a third party I’ll get back to the witnesses, see if they saw anyone else near the Jenner Complex. All one hundred and twenty. And that was just today.”

    “I do not envy you.”

    “Be back in a few.” Mick did envy Billand a bit. He got to go do something. Mick must have gone over the same few lines of information on the monitor and the wall seven times before Billand burst into the room, practically tearing the door off the frame. “Man, you need to hear this!”

    Mick stood and walked out the door with Bill, keeping up with his brisk pace. “What, did someone see something?”

    “Not only did she see something, she knows who did it! She’s got a goddamn video!” Billand couldn't contain the obvious joy he felt. Mick felt something a bit darker.

    “What?”

    “She wanted to tell you personally, so hurry up.”

    “Well hold on, how do know she’s credible? Who the hell is she?”

    “She’s got a f*****g video of this guy on the roof, taking the shot, everything. She wouldn't show the guys face unless you were in the room.” Mick was in disbelief. There’s no way this could be over this quick. His big case, the one that brought him back to real work couldn't be over this soon. He felt ashamed for thinking it but he couldn't help himself. He didn't want to enter the little room, didn't want it to be over yet. But Billand held the door open for him, all smiles and good intentions. He couldn't drag his feet now.

    Mick didn't set any expectations for the witness, yet she shattered any he would have had. The woman sat patiently with her hands folded on her lap with her back perfectly straight. Her yellow blonde hair was tied into a ponytail that hung about halfway down her back. But what killed Mick entirely was the smile she gave him when he entered the room. He couldn't sit down and talk to her fast enough.

    A few seconds had passed before he realized he had yet to say anything. Good God, get a hold of yourself! You've got a terrorist to catch! He cleared his throat before he spoke.

    “You have evidence you wish to present?”

    The woman widened her smile and produced her video phone. She told it to play.

    Both the kids arrive on top of the Jenner Complex, the girl sets up rifle. Mick notices the video has no audio. Byross looks down to the stage, which is not visible in the video, and says something to Jessik. She looks down the scope of the rifle. The boy pulls out his phone, then something swings around from the side of the video screen and hits him in the back of the head. The girl looks back and a foot lands on her face. The assailant comes into view but the face is obscured. Mick can’t tell if they’re male or female, the clothes are pretty thick. They bend down, pick up the gun and fire a single shot. It takes a few moments to kneel down next to Byross. ‘Keep up the good f****n’ work.’ Mick mouths to himself. Then they look directly into the camera. And she smiles.

    His eyes widened and he slide back in his chair. His lips parted and his mouth was agape. The woman giggled upon seeing his reaction. He’s brow furrowed and his face hardened. “Is this a confession?”

    She shrugged. “More of a message.”

    “From who?”

    She leaned in close as she said “The Kings.”

    “Kings?” He asked. “Plural?” The woman continued to smile at Mick. A chill ran through him. “Which Kings? The ones in Zikahn? Shyka has multiple rulers, don’t they?” He raised his voice. “Whom do you serve?”

    “Oh, none of those. They serve my Kings. Though they don’t realize it.”

    She was crazy, that much was clear. Was she acting alone? Then how did she get that fake footage to those kids? “Who are you?”

    The woman tapped away on her phone. “It’s funny how easy it is to just walk in to a place under construction. So many people from so many different departments.” She held the phone to his face. “And there’s always something left over when you’re done, isn't there?” The screen was divided into several smaller ones, each showing some part of the station. The holding cells, the front desk, the train station underground, everywhere in the building. And each screen showed some little object just sitting around, square, light brown and being ignored by everyone. “No one bats an eye if there’s something they don’t recognize in someplace like this. Someone else must know what it is, right?” She pressed the button on the side of the phone.

    The boom itself was deafening, but Mick felt it in his chest before he heard it. Then another. And Another. The latest damaged the door to the interrogation room and distracted Mick long enough for the woman to flip the table and pin him down. He didn't even try to get up. He knew she’d be gone, and the prisoners would be gone. He didn't know how he knew but Mick was certain that by the time someone came and helped him, everything that could have gone wrong will have. He wouldn't be disappointed.

    Billand helped him out of the station saying something along the lines of “And it was such a nice office, too.” Mick couldn't be bothered to even crack a smile. He sat on the curb as Billand ran back inside and could only reflect on his situation. No one besides he and Bill had even seen the blonde woman, and both cameras in the interrogation room went dead when she entered. She was a ghost. Byross and Jessik had escaped in the confusion. He wondered if that was the intention behind this attack. But then why show him the video? Why let him know at all? Nothing about this was going to be simple. The pressure to find the truth was only going to get greater with the deaths in this bombing. King Ned would be on him, the public will probably riot. It was going to be a long f*****g job.

    Mick glanced at the smoking station, the singed corpses being pulled out and the frenzied people running around. A paramedic, probably a new guy, sat next to him on the curb staring at the blood on his hands. Mick produced two thin cigarettes, lit one for himself and offered the other to the shaking man.

© 2014 Trevor


Author's Note

Trevor
I've been doing nothing but staring at this for the past couple days, so a fresh set of eyes to tell me what I need to change, clarify or get rid of is appreciated.

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Added on December 23, 2014
Last Updated on December 23, 2014
Tags: Byross, investigation, Mick, Vont, Sci-fi, mystery, conspiracy

Author

Trevor
Trevor

Hockessin, DE



About
Hey, my name's Trevor and I'm attempting something that I'm pretty terrified of right now. I'm putting my ideas and works out to be judged and critiqued. The things I'd like to focus on the most are i.. more..

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