Hello all. I'm sorry for the delay, but while writing this chapter weeks ago, I came to learn that the plot I had in mind was all too similar to that of a comic book miniseries from DC/Wildstorm. I've since found a new direction that is more suitable for a story about Cap, in this genre and in this setting. Until I've completely plotted the events to come, though, there might be some changes in these three chapters.
New York City
It was nearing eleven in the evening when Sergeant Rogers' car pulled up to the apartment building. He'd only flown back from England a few days ago and it was his first day back on the job and his first call since. The apartment building in question was on the verge of qualifying as a slum, in a state of habitable disrepair. It was surrounded by a front yard, mostly barren, though it looked like someone had been making an effort to improve it recently. A few policemen were standing about, guarding the gates to the yard and the front door of the building itself. One policeman, an Officer Joe Castiglione, a man with a powerful frame and age close to that of the sergeant, walked up to Rogers as he stepped out of the car, holding a revolver of impressive size by the barrel.
"We found the murder weapon, cap."
"Over there, in the grass."
"Tell me about the victim."
"Her name's Jenny Riley, age twenty-three. She was from out of state, here for college."
"None. The building's only two thirds full, mostly old folk who keep to themselves. They heard the gunshot forty minutes ago."
Rogers and Castiglione went into the building and up creaking stairs, reaching their destination on the fifth floor. The victim's apartment reflected its previous tenants financial state; though small, it still seemed empty, furnished with only the barest of necessities.
"Hopin' you don't mind, cap." Said Officer Castiglione as he took out a flask from his jacket.
Rogers merely gave him a nod as he stood in the doorway of the bedroom, scanning the crime scene. The victim was of short stature and had shoulder length, thick blond hair. She wore satin gloves, a black dress and stockings, but no shoes. Her lifeless body lay on the floor, face down in a puddle of her own blood.
The window was wide open, and an unrelenting cold wind blew the curtains inward.
"Was the window open?" asked Rogers.
"Wouldn't open it ourselves on a night like this." Said Castiglione.
Castiglione watched as Sergeant Rogers stepped to the room's lone window, took a peak out of it, examining for a second, and then pulled the shutters together and fastening them with the elastic string that hung from a nail at the top of the window frame. The beat cop smiled with satisfaction as the room grew less frigid.
"Good ol' cap."
"Why do you call him that?" said George Stacy, Castiglione's rookie partner who'd left the academy only months earlier.
"Sergeant Rogers. Why do you call him Captain?"
"You're kidding, ain'tcha?" said Castiglione incredulously, gestured at Rogers as he examined the body more closely, "You don't know who that man is? Captain Steve Rogers, the Army Ranger?"
"Oh, you were together in the service?"
"There's a bit more to it than that. The man's a hero, he won the Medal of Honor. You go to Brooklyn, and find someone who doesn't know the house where he grew up, and I'll buy you beers for a month."
"Alright, alright. Jesus."
"Watch that mouth, Stacy." Said Rogers suddenly, and Castiglione chuckled.
"No witnesses at all?"
"Nothin'. Floor's mostly unoccupied, 'ceptin' the old couple living down the hall who don't hear too good."
"What about the superintendent?"
"Yeah." Said Castiglione, then turned to Stacy, "Go get the super."
Stacy did as his senior ordered and came back a few minutes later with the super, a man of a few years beyond middle age and slight build.
"This here's Mr. Leiber."
"What can I do for you, detective?" said Leiber with a meek voice.
"What can you tell me about Miss Riley."
"Oh, she was a nice girl. A real sweatheart." Said Leiber, "A bit too sweet for her own good, maybe. She was late with her rent every now and then, but not recently, and never without some reason."
"Were there any men in her life?"
"I'm not sure. I don't like to impose on any of my tenants, especially the ones who aren't any trouble. There was this one man, he had an Irish kinda name, though so did she so maybe they were related."
"Can't you remember what his name was exactly?"
"I don't know. Something that started with an M, an R somewhere in the middle."
"Like Murphy? Morrigan?"
"I couldn't tell you for sure."
"What'd he look like?"
"Kinda tall. Heavy. Muscle heavy. Not much of a smiler."
"How old was he?"
"Late thirties. Forty, maybe."
"Thanks Mr. Leiber. That'll be all for now."
"Listen, how long do you think you boys'll be here?"
"What's the matter, pops?" asked Castiglione, "You don't like us cops?"
"It's not that, it's just…"
"Leave the man alone, Joey." Said Rogers, "I don't think we need to be here for long, Mr. Leiber. You can go ahead and sit down for a while and the boys'll let you know when we're through here."
As soon as Leiber had left, Rogers asked Stacy.
"Is the wagon here, yet?"
"They said they were tied up elsewhere."
"Did you find anything else in the yard? Anything at all?"
"I found a paperweight." Castiglione said, "A coupla bananas that's been tied together, too. What's on your mind, cap?"
"This picture was on her nightstand." Rogers said as I held up a framed picture of Jenny Riley and a strapping man with his arm around her shoulders, "Mr. M, I assume. There are a couple other pictures of him that I found. Balled up in the bottom of the trash."
"Man looks familiar." Said Castiglione, "So he left her, or she left him? And he killed her?"
"I don't think so. I don't think this is a murder." Said Rogers, "I think this man, whoever he is, either hurt her in some way or broke it off. She took it bad. Decided to end it all. Only she wasn't going quietly, so she staged her suicide to look like a murder."
"…This is a suicide?"
"That stuff in the garden? She was practicing, she'd tie them to that string tied to the window frame and fray the loop a bit. She'd pull it all the way in and let it go, once it stretched out the window, the loop'd break and whatever it was tied around would fall to the garden. She did the same with that Roscoe you found, it belonged to Mr. M, I'm sure."
"That's one hell of a theory, Sarge. I mean, no disrespect and all." Said Officer Stacy.
"A theory is all it is, George. Mr. M deserves a look, too. Anyway, we're done here."
"Whatever you say, Cap." Said Castiglione, "I'll go see about the wagon."
"I'll take care of that. You two can go ahead and go home. I know your shift ended minutes ago."
"So'd yours. Besides, ain't tonight your Army reunion?"
"No." said Rogers, donning his coat and hat, "That's tomorrow. Go on ahead."
"You sure? I could stick around. We both could."
"No. You should go home to Maria and little Frank."
"Alright, if you're sure." Said Castiglione as he and Stacy headed for the door, "Goodnight, cap."
Two Days Later
Colonel Fury stood in the doorway of Sergeant Rogers' office, looking at his wartime superior officer as he slumped in his chair behind his desk, which was turned slightly with its back to the door, utterly exhausted and stealing away some sleep.
"You looked like you must have had one hell of a night."
Fury's words were enough to rouse Rogers, who opened his eyes and leaned out of his chair to look back and see his unexpected visitor.
"Nick, uh.." said Rogers groggily as he got up, "This is a nice surprise. I thought I was going to have to wait for another funeral before I ever saw you again."
"All you had to do was show up that night."
"The Company reunion?" Fury said, "Don't tell me you actually forgot."
"Eh. Not exactly, I got the dates mixed up. I thought it was tonight. God, this is awful."
"Well, there's another next year, so no worries."
"You actually showed up?"
"Yeah. I felt like seeing some old faces."
"Well, have a seat." Said Rogers as he walked to the door, "Some coffee?"
Fury sat as the detective peered out of his door and asked the passing secretary to prepare two cups of coffee.
"So, what did I miss?" asked Rogers, sitting back behind his desk.
"Oh, I don't know about the other reunions. Lots of remember-whens and things like that, can't say I didn't enjoy it. Rebel showed up, he's running for congress, he sends his regards, though I have to say I was a lot more surprised when Pinky dropped in half-way through. Apparently your visit left him pretty nostalgic."
"Are they still in town?"
"Rebel's already flown back to Texas, Pinky's doing some business for a few days. We made a deal, actually, we're going to have our own Howlers Reunion in Berlin in the Summer. That way we can all finally see Eric again. You're welcome to come if you like."
"One trip to Europe is all I can afford this year."
"Hell, Steve, I'll fly you with me and Dum-Dum."
"You could do that?"
"Benefits of the job."
"Well in that case, count me in."
At that moment, the secretary walked in, carrying a tray with two mugs of black coffee upon it.
"There's a gentleman from the organized crime division to see you, Sarge. A Lieutenant Wolf."
"Send him in." said Rogers, taking a sip of his coffee. He then placed the mug down, straightened his shirt and adjusted his tie, speaking to Fury, "This'll just take a couple of minutes."
Lieutenant Wolf soon walked in. He was a tall man, with hardened features and graying hair.
"Sergeant Rogers." Said Wolf, extending his hand, "Robert Wolf. Organized Crime Division. It's an honor to meet you."
The two men shook hands.
"Have a seat, Lieutenant. What can I do for you?"
"I heard about the murder you had last night." Said Wolf as he sat down nearby Fury, who remained silent.
"You OCD boys work fast." Said Rogers, taking a sip of his coffee, "It wasn't a murder, the ME report corroborated that the wound was self inflicted."
"You're sure about that?"
"It was a big gun, she was a little girl with no idea on how to use one. The angle and the damage to her wrist is plenty of evidence, then there's residue on the gloves she wore. I do wonder what the organized crime division's interest is."
"It has come to our attention that the deceased was in a relationship with one Mr. Jack Murdock, a Hell's Kitchen prize fighter."
"Mr. Murdock is a suspected enforcer of Patrick Nesbitt."
"'Pops' Nesbitt? The racketeer?" Fury interjected.
"I'm sorry." Said Wolf, turning his attention to the Colonel, "I didn't catch your name."
"Lieutenant Colonel Nick Fury, DOD. I'm from Hell's Kitchen myself."
"Well, Colonel, you are correct. Incidentally, this is strictly NYPD business, so if you could…"
"Oh, sure. I never like to be a nuisance." Said Fury, but made no attempt to leave. Rogers stifled a chuckle as his one time NCO cracked his fingers as he had done once during the war, right before knocking a Gestapo Major out cold.
"Thanks, Nick. You could wait outside." Said Rogers, "Tell Dolores to make you another cop of joe, if you like."
This time Fury complied. As soon as the door was closed, Wolf resumed the conversation.
"As your friend was saying, Patrick 'Pops' Nesbitt is a major figure in the Irish mob. He's suspected in running numbers, extortion, even women and narcotics. Jack Murdock is one of his enforcers, though smart enough not to ever get caught red handed. With proper leverage, we could gain a valuable resource that could lead to an eventual arrest of Nesbitt and the dismantling of his organization."
"I get what you're saying. I wish I could help you, but Jenny Riley wasn't murdered. She committed suicide. Jack Murdock didn't murder her."
"Maybe." said Wolf, "Maybe not. All I'm saying is that its pre-mature to rule out the possibility."
Rogers' patience was beginning to ware thin.
"Jack Murdock won a fight by count out in the fifth round on the night of the murder. Assuming you discount the trainer's testimony that Murdock was there the exact time the murder occurred. The bout started only twenty minutes after the gunshots were heard, not enough time for to have killed her and make it to the fight in time."
Wolf said nothing for a few seconds and simply glared, he then curled his lip and said,
"I could probably find something on the trainer. I could even find a possible route given last night's traffic conditions that'd take twenty minutes from the victim's apartment to the ring. I don't want to see Murdock behind bars, he's no use for me there, so the end result is all the same, only this time we put away a violent criminal."
"Blackmail. That's how you do it in OCD?"
"You think of a better way, tell me."
"I'm sure hiring real police would work wonders."
"Excuse me, sergeant?"
"Maybe Jack Murdock works for Nesbitt. Maybe he doesn't. If he commits a murder in my jurisdiction, I'll raise all kind of hell to see he'll go down hard. Until then, he's clean.
"You want Nesbitt? You do what it takes to get him, but you do not pin the blame for some poor girl's death on Murdock just so you could get at someone else. He doesn't deserve it, and neither does Jenny Riley."
Wolf glared at Rogers for a moment before getting up and putting his hat back on. As he stood by the door, he looked back at Rogers, and as he turned the knob, he remakred him,
"You just don't get it, do you?"