Author Note: I'd just like to thank all my amazing readers, even a few that have actually waited for me to update while this thing was on hold. I start college within the week so there is a very real possibility that this story will have to be put on hold until I get some free time. Could be the first weekend I'm there or it could be over Thanksgiving. All depends. I'll keep writing though.
I've never seen something so…violent before. Detective Grimes thought as he picked his way through the scene, his weapon drawn.
The usually peaceful scene of a small, out of the way, Everglade shantytown was brutally disrupted when something very big tore through the left wing of the town. From where Grimes stood the left wing of the town was more or less the 3rd house to the left. Grimes frowned at the ruble of the former "left wing"; this area had been a hot spot for demonic surveillance for some years, now, it was dust. Well, dust peppered with body parts and touched, ever so lightly with bodily fluids. In short, it reeked.
Grimes pulled the perimeter tape around the last broken corner of a building and tied it off. He took a step back and brought his camera up to his face and began to snap picture after picture.
Might as well get a jump-start on these guys, after all.
Time passed and Grimes was just finishing up the perimeter of the town when a nondescript black SUV bounced to a stop on the poor excuse for a road, he stood up straight and looked back to see Detective Brown and the returning DCSI James climbing down from the mammoth SUV. Grimes was around briefly when James was working as a DCSI, the boy certainly had grown into something. When Grimes was around James was still learning the ropes, still just a teenager; Grimes never actually taught anything to him, back then he was assigned to the International Unit. He'd heard various clips when he was stationed in Albania for a few years. Grimes's eyebrow raised. The last time he saw this kid he had a slight case of acne and wore the same type of shirt every day. Now James had grown into a considerably handsome man. He had boyish good looks and the youthful expression in his eyes was dampened a little by the weight of years of demonic crime scene investigation. His hair was cut short and curly; years of straightening his hair and keeping it cut short enough to still be straight had long disappeared. A pair of sunglasses where tucked into the neckline of his smart shirt. His jeans were relaxed enough, if a little rumpled from sleeping in them, which Grimes didn't fault him for; god knows he's been there enough times.
I remember hearing about the Van Helsing case- that was James's proving ground. He rose pretty quickly through the ranks before hand, but he made lead DCSI in a matter of weeks after the case first surfaced. This kid has talent, wonder why he left?
"What the hell happened here?" Detective Brown's voice boomed out over the eerily silent landscape.
James looked across the leveled landscape and surveyed Grimes's stout form. Grimes was short, with a hard, searching set of green eyes and lines etched into his chiseled and aged good looks. Wisps of black hair fell across the bridge of his nose and annoyingly enough, behind his light-tinted sunglasses, which served more for fashion than purpose. His attire was sharp and professional, a tailored suit with a silky red shirt and black tie with black dress shoes. James raised a quizzical eyebrow at the man in the midst of the rubble, was this the rugged DCSI turned hunter he'd read about in his files?
"I was hoping the DCSI could answer that question." Grimes said, letting the camera hang around his neck. "Dr. James Argery I presume?" Grimes held a strong hand out to the younger man, who nodded and grasped it with an equal firmness.
"Detective Ronald Grimes?" James said, eyeing the camera.
"One and only, kid." Grimes followed James's gaze and smiled. "Just thought I'd take the perimeter, Doctor. No harm no foul."
"Right." James's tone was light and he flashed Grimes a lighthearted smile. "Sorry, I've gotten to be a little territorial over my crime scenes."
"No big deal, kid, I've been there plenty of time, especially on a hot case."
James nodded and looked around the scene and swept back his hair. "Jeez, whatever did this, well, from just looking around, I'd say two or more, small, around the size of a man, but very violent. Mmmm…from the blows to the buildings, it looks like they were from the outside, so no one on the inside…" James walked under the perimeter tape and stooped to look at a large gash in the ground. "They where wielding axes, or large swords, maybe a hammer or two, from the looks of the damage. No magic…it's quiet, but this stillness is just natural, not the hushed fear of a demonic attack." James pursed his lips and knelt by the corner of the 3rd building from the left.
"So…you're saying that this-this carnage wasn't the work of a demon?" Detective Brown sounded stunned.
"Yes and no." James was now digging in his kit for a pair of rubber cloves.
"I see your thinking, kid." Grimes said, stepping under the tape and looking through the lens of his camera. "These guys, assailants, bust down that building over there and completely decimate this little spit of a town…but how? I don't see any evidence of explosives, just brute strength."
"Well, here's the yes part." James stood up; a charred bit of wood was enclosed within a clear plastic bag. "They had a little help, nothing overly demonic, most likely a homegrown strength enhancing potion, possibly an amulet. I'll know more once I process the scene and get the lab results.
The day-glow rubber ball bounced from the walls of Velken's apartment to Aislyn's hand and back again an uncountable number of times.
Why won't anyone let me go on a mission? I've been on enough to be considered a full agent. Can't they see that I'm great? No matter if I'm 14? Can't they see I want to help? Every case could have something to do with Mom and Dad…
Her face was rock hard, and with each new bounce of the ball she tossed it a little harder.
I should just nab the tracking records from the SUV and follow Detective Brown to the scene…it sounded really gory. I should just take what Kate got and run off in my own direction with this "cold case." Hell, I can get access to any file in the Holy Order with my mom's password. If I do my own investigation, then, I can find something that everyone else missed. And follow it and get Mom and Dad back. Then everyone will understand my drive. The drive that I got from Mom and Dad.
Aislyn threw the ball so hard against the wall it bounced back into her hands with stinging vengeance.
"Ouch!" Aislyn dropped the ball and shook her hands lightly. She watched the ball roll under her desk and frowned at it.
If I wasn't paying attention to where the ball went, I wouldn't be able to find it, except for its day-glow paint. It's obvious where it is, but if it rolled a little bit further back I couldn't see it at all and I've have to follow the clues to get to it. Might take me a while. I might even give up…but when I returned to the search with fresh eyes…I'd find it again…. just like Mom and Dad.
Aislyn dove for the ball, stuffed it in her pocket and stood up. Her face was set in determination as she threw on her jacket and swept out of the apartment. Velkan was sleeping soundly on the couch, having fallen asleep after exercising with Aislyn. Aislyn smiled at the thought of her uncle, he was really the only family she had left.
I want to find Mom and Dad again so Velkan can go back to being a drummer…recording in studios and playing in shows out of state again…I don't want him to give up his dreams because of me!
Aislyn pushed open the doors of the headquarters of the Holy Order in Orlando and looked around, there was no one in site but she knew all to well that there were holy spells placed to alert the monks whenever someone entered the complex. She had to look as nonchalant as possible, like any ordinary visit to Kate or Carl, hell even to one of her classes.
The most obvious place that someone would try and enter the secure systems would be from one of the public computer terminals, thus they would be the most watched. However, if I entered from a computer that frequently looked at the Van Helsing files say Kate's computer, the spells would be fooled. I might even get lucky enough for Kate to have downloaded the files onto her desk top so she wouldn't have to keep revisiting the slow back-logged networks.
Aislyn navigated the twists and turns of the labyrinth like headquarters on autopilot. She had to think of a good reason to get Kate out of her office…maybe she could sneak into Carl's lab and grab one of his non-lethal spinning fireworks and set it loose to make it look like an accident, that'd get her out of her office. Kate was always first on the scene for an office disaster, no questions, she just was. Especially if it involved Carl. Aislyn paused briefly at the turn for Kate's office and Carl's lab.
Better to see if she's away before I play.
She turned right and stopped, a few feet from Kate's door, slowing her steps and her very breath to a crawl, if there was one thing she learned from her time with Kate was that she was able to sense someone from a distance away, indeed if she was in her office sneaking up on her mentor would not look too good, so she made her presence slightly known. Practically tiptoeing to the door she peered in, no sign of Kate, and her computer was asleep.
Aislyn looked both ways before hopping behind the keyboard and entering in a complicated set of codes and another set of readjusted codes and one algorithm that would fool the detection software just long enough for her to grab what she needed. She strained her ears over the soft hum of the computer for footsteps of any kind; if anyone were to catch her on this computer she would be facing some serious questions. Time seemed to slow down, it seemed as Aislyn looked back to the door for what had to be the thousandth time. Finally the friendly, yet generic, background of all Holy Order computers popped up; a gentle stars cape with a cross in the middle of a supernova. Aislyn scanned the files and froze, someone was coming, and the footsteps grew louder, more pronounced. Aislyn looked around the office and ducted below the desk, a lame hiding spot, but she was fairly sure it wasn't Kate, as the footfalls sounded too heavy.
Wildman's forest-scent filled the air; Aislyn could hear the hunter's deep breaths as he stood in the doorframe.
"I coulda sworn…" He mumbled, the doorframe creaked a little as he leaned in, no doubt in his typical fashion, his arms clinging to the opposite ends of the frame and his body hanging forward. After what seemed like an eternity he pulled back with another creak, removing a piece of paper from the folds of his jacket he tacked it to Kate's door and left. Aislyn didn't move until his footsteps were well out of range. Popping back up her fingers flew over the keys and she winced.
Five minutes already wasted…that algorithm won't last forever, I gotta refine that.
Her eyes continued the search of files on her mentor's desktop and she clicked a few folders until she found what she was looking for.
Perfect, now to get it in the flash drive.
Aislyn plugged in the mini flash drive and manipulated a few more algorithms, opened a hidden program and the download began. It would take approximately a minute to complete. She crouched behind the desk and waited tensely until the little upload bar vanished. She unplugged everything and hit the sleep button with 30 seconds left on the scrambling algorithm. Too close for her comfort. She slipped the flash drive into her pocket and took off down the hall, deciding to take a more complicated route out of the building since it was drawing close to 6AM and most of the hunters would be returning from missions, no one questioned when she came in early to have a lap around the building, and this route led directly to the training centers, she could easily slip into her gym clothes and half-heartedly beat around the punching bag for a while, just enough to look sweaty and then leave. No one would question her use of the facilities, she'd done it enough times to warrant a free pass.