Noblesse Oblige: 12 Apples of Eden

Chapter One

Sidetracked

"Dammit!" the man yelled as he ran up onto the curb from across a busy street. He squeezed his mobile phone tightly in his right hand. "He got away..."

He looked up around him to find a street sign that would tell him where, or what, street he was standing on. It was hard to concentrate, however, what with all the screaming and commotion going on around him. Not too long ago, a warehouse exploded from the bottom floor of the building, causing the whole structure to cave in and collapse. This caused a panic amongst pedestrian and many bystanders, causing them to run off in all directions; most of whom charged up 4th Street.

So that's where I am, huh? The rough voiced man said to himself as he pulled out a cigarette from the hidden pocket of his trenchcoat.

Why wasn't he in panic? Why wasn't he following the other pedestrians who sprinted for their lives down the crowded sidewalks?

"...It sure would make me look a hell of a lot better in this situation if I did..." he said as he scrambled around himself for a lighter.

With a heavy sigh, he opened up his cellphone again and put it to his ear.

...Ring...Ri-...

...You've got Juiz-

"Juiz!" the man immediately yelled after.

It is nice to hear from you Selecao No. 3...

...I trust all is going well on your search so far?

"Like hell!" he screamed again, talking out of the side of his mouth to keep the cigarette in place. "I specifically told you, 'Stop Number 7 from escaping'. What was so hard about that?"

I apologize Number 3, but your order is still being carried out...

Selecao 7 is still very much alive

and within the premises...

Just as you asked...

The man used his left hand to scratch the small amount of dark brown hair that rested on his head, deep in thought for a moment. Suddenly, he heard three loud pops from behind him, and quickly doubled-back to see what it was. It came from the banks from what he could tell, just across the block on 6th Street. The warehouse rearward on 4th was still ablaze, but in places unreachable by the rubble. He couldn't think with everything going on around him, and the yelling from back at the bank wasn't helping the cause either.

Two men dressed in all black with ski masks over their faces emerged seconds after a security alarm blared. Not too long after did police cars and fire engines pull up to the scene as well, accompanied by one or two ambulances in tow. One of the would-be robbers noticed this and nudged the other one in fright. He looked back inside the small edifice with a rage as he fired two more rounds and sprinted off. Before the last one followed suit, he met eyes with the man on his cellphone, and it almost appeared as if a smile had perched itself on his mask-covered lips. The robber's dark green eyes made a slight glimmer before he was thrust to the ground by a large patrol officer.

...What... the hell? he thought as he watched the robbers attempt to run off.

... ... ...

...Number 3?...

...Are you still-

"Yeah, yeah." he interrupted again. "I'm here, alright? I'm just thinking..."

...If I may make a suggestion?

"Go on..." he said with a defeated look on his face.

...Selecao 7 is still within the area,

but is attempting to escape as we speak...

The man's phone starting blinking when she said this; he already knew it meant that there's been another order by a Selecao...more than likely from Number 7. Back across the street, the robbers were forcefully taken down and put in pairs boxcutter handcuffs. He didn't notice it, but one of the robbers was watching him with intense zeal and determination.

"Okay, so what?" he asked with a snobbish nod. "You saying we can still catch this guy or something?"

...With time, yes...

...But the crowd you've amassed will take some time to clear...

His eyebrows raised in anger as he repeated Juiz in his mind.

...'The crowd that I-' ... "What are you talking about Juiz? Just get this guy already!"

...Order Received! Noblesse Oblige...

...I pray for your continuing service as a savior...

"The fuck does that even mean?" he said as he clamped the phone back together and placed it in the same pocket with his cigarettes. "...'Noblesse Oblige'... I outta Google that when I get back to the station..."

With that he finally decided to make his leave, walking the opposite direction towards the path that the frightened crowd took as they ran for safety. He didn't know what it was, but he felt as if something was wrong. As if something wasn't going...right. Without giving it much thought, he pulled out a brown fold-over and began scanning it with a heavy heart of anguish.

The wallet divided into three parts. On the left was a set of old tickets; some from old baseball games he might've never went to, a movie he may have wanted to see but never go the chance to go to, or a play from one summer ago that he had no one to take. In the middle were a set of small folders, one of which would usually hold a match or something I could use to light this stupid cigarette... he thought with a dark scowl. Instead though it was his ID, which he pulled out and read over briefly as he passed a busy doughnut place.

Name: Dan Rogers

Age:32

Sex:Male

D.O.B: June 16

Hair: Lght Brwn

Eyes: Grey

~Distributed by the NYPD of America~

Stupid little thing... Dan thought as he examined the picture. It was taken a little over a year ago, but it looked as if he was looking at a completely different person. His light brown hair had just recently lost most of its luster, no longer coming to the end of his neck, but stuck to his head in a matted back gelled over fashion. There was a cut over his right eyebrow and the top left part of his lip, which burned slightly whenever he let his mind drift off to how he'd obtained it. He looked much older now; someone recently tried a guesstimate and guessed at around 45 to 50. Dan's hair hadn't even begun to gray yet, which surprised him due to his circumstances, but it still managed to darken his hair to a deeper shade of brown than it used to be.

With a sad chuckle he placed the card back in its slot and continued walking down the sidewalk. There was a short, slightly burly man sitting on the curb a behind him. the donut shop he was in front of was so far away now, but the man's screams reached Dan's ears at such a level that he might as well have been right next to him. He wanted to tell the guy to 'shut the hell up', as he would have put it, but that wasn't the kinda fight he took pride in looking for.

It was what was on the right of the wallet that he wanted to see. It was another picture. Tucked behind a fold to stay in place and be seen through the laminated piece he left it behind. There were two people, a woman and a little girl, seemingly happy and enjoying themselves near a beautiful grassy background. The woman's hair was long and brown, shining alluringly in that spring afternoon light. Dan stared longingly into her beep blue eyes, his body suddenly feeling weaker the longer he glared into them.

The woman was holding the child high into the air; the younger girl's eyes big and playful as she held out her arms and legs as if she were in flight. The way the her silken blond hair seemed to come to life and bounce around, even in the pony-tailed styling he'd left it in, made Dan's mid-toned grey eyes heat up and cloud most of his vision. A single tear fell from his eyes and landed on the photo, pushing the image of the girl's laughing face up at him, as if almost tauntingly. Dan quickly wiped it away and maintained his composure, folding the wallet back up and placing it back in his right trouser pocket.

A single flick of his eyes and he brushed off any excess tears that may have tried to produce themselves onto his pale white complexion. He sniffed hard, getting mostly thick air into his nostrils, then stopped abruptly in the middle of the long sidewalk.

Damnit!... Dan thought in disgruntlement. Where the hell am I?

He was still on 4th Street, he knew...wasn't he? He looked around him at his surroundings, trying to remember the closest thing to him near where his car was parked. Nothing. Dan couldn't tell where he was as he stared down the opposite end of the road, cars blazing past in the busy streets as he pondered.

"Great..." he said to himself pulling out his phone one last time. This time tho, instead of phoning Juiz, he deicded to dial someone elses number. "...Can't believe this shit..."

...Ring...Ring...Ring...

Ring...Ring...

"Come on, damnit! Pick up!" Dan uttered impatiently.

...Ring...Ring...-

...What is it, Chief?

...Bout time... he thought with feigned relief. "Veronica, I need a ride..."

Out on errands again today, Dan?

You know I'm starting to think you're a little obsessed

with this little special assignment you've given yourself...

"I'm not obsessed with it, Veronica... This stuff is important..."

...Sigh...

If you say so, Chief...

Just take it easy once in a while, huh?

You've been acting different lately...

"I'm fine! Just send me a car to bring me back to the station!" There wasn't much else for Veronica to say after that.

...Right away, sir...

- Dial Tone -

Immediately after, Dan started to dial another number. ...436...7...9...4...1... Dan thought as he punched the numbers in.

"...And they better pick up right away..."

...Ring...Ring...-

~Heyyyyy~

What's up, Chief?

"Carter, listen up."

Yeah, I'm all ears.

What's up boss?

"I've lost one of the patrol cars downtown; need somebody to come and pick it up for me..."

Oh yea~~~ Sure. I can do that for ya'

...So uh... where'd ya' lose it...exactly?

Dan still needed to figure that part out. "...somewhere by 4th Street..." he finally answered. "Near all the commotion down at the bank I got sidetracked and had to go back up the block for-" It suddenly came back to him what he was doing.

...Shit... he thought soon after.

Chief?

Oh Chief~~~?

You still there-

"Yeah, yeah!" Dan quickly yelled over the other end of the phone. "Look, just go looking around on 4th and call me back when you find it, Carter..." he sprinted off back down the way he came from. Or at least he hoped it was the way.

O~o~o~okie Dokie, Boss!

I'll let'chus know as soon as I-

... ... ..

Boss?...

...Bo~~~osss?...

The incredulous voice dropped the phone back down on the receiver, giving a shrug to the officer sitting on his desk.

"He hung up on me..." Carter said as he pushed himself to stand up. Taking off his police hat, he scratched around in his tousled orange hair.

The other police officer gave a short laugh and stood himself upright too. "You know," he said through a stretch. "You really need to see somebody about that dander in your scalp... That shit is disgusting!"

To this Carter's nose turned up back at him. As he placed his hat firmly back onto his head he replied, "Ah, whad'a'you know?"

His partner laughed again and shook his head. "What I know, Carter is that you're an twenty-somethin' year old man who still walks around with dandruff problems. No real lady is gonna check for a guy in his 20's with dandruff..."

Carter didn't have much to say back. They've had this conversation plenty times before. On stake-outs, undercover missions, drug busts; it's always the same thing. 'Carter, fix your hair man'! or 'Carter, have you gone to somebody about your hair yet?'. The more they discuss it, the more Carter hates to hear it. It's not like he's tried to find something for it before, it's just that nothing seems to work! Not even the stuff that they give to elderly people, because he'd read somewhere before that they boost whatever medications are in that stuff...since it takes a little more for it to work with the older set.

"Ah, don't start that baloney now!" he said. "I told you already, I've tried! It's just that nothing is working..."

"Then you aren't trying hard enough, are ya'?"

"Trust me, I am..."

"Yeah, well... What'd the Chief say?"

Carter took his gun out of a drawer he kept in his desk and placed it into the holder on his waist. "Says he lost his patrol car somewhere downtown. On 4th Street."

"Near that bank robbery?" Carter nodded. "Well was it stolen?"

"I don't know... but I guess it may not've been since the Chief doesn't seem that worried about it..."

"He said he had to do something else?"

"Well...no... but it seemed like he was in a hurry...like he forgot somethin'..."

"...Like... a car maybe?" James said sarcastically.

Carter passed him a dirty look. "Just come on... Dan said we had to call'em once we find it so we're more than likely on-the-clock..."

They both headed for the elevator; Carter leading and James following close behind. The police department was busy enough today. With the bank robbery being taken care of and policemen and women running off to handle separate calls as they came in, it seemed like there was something for everybody to do today. On their way out James and Carter waved a few idle members of the force off as they handled the chiefs call. One member tried to engage them in conversation, which James humbly had to decline to, gesturing towards his watch at how late they were already running.

It was the long elevator ride down that made James want to speak and break the silence though.

"So what do you think the Chief's doing out all the way downtown?" he asked.

"Hm?" Carter mumbled. "Oh, well I don't really know..." After a small shrug, he continued. "One minute he's all like, 'Go find my patrol car', the next he's saying, 'Oh, I gotta go! Call me when you find it, bye!'..."

James looked back at his reflection in the metallic elevator doors as he tried to contemplate what he thought was going on.

"Maybe he's in trouble?"

"How so?" Carter asked.

"Think about it..." James started. "He calls you saying he's downtown near 4th Street, just a little while after there's an explosion and a bank robbery on that same block." Carter doesn't look back at James as he speaks, just listens and nods as he stares at the floor numbers changing."He loses his car, and he can't really even explain to you where he is? He's just not in the right mind as of late..."

"Yeah..." he said. "Dan has been acting differently lately. I think it has something to do with that little 'secret assignment' he's been working on too."

"I do too. It's not healthy for him to be pushing more work on himself like that... 'Specially after what happened a couple of years ago..." Carter's face turned into a pained scowl once he'd heard that, he constricted himself from showing anything to James however, and began to calm down.

Suddenly, the elevator dinged and James pushed himself off of the back of the elevator wall and followed Carter out.

"Heheh..." Carter finally said with a small chuckle. "Nothing we can do about that though, can we?"

James followed next to Carter's side. Then he groaned as he made a thoughtful nod. "Hmm...Guess your right..."

They walked halfway through the parking lot past many different kinds of police units until they finally stopped in front of Carter's. It unlocked with a small blare as he pressed a button on his keychain and climbed in the driver's seat. He didn't hesitate to start the ignition, not even waiting until James got inside.

Carter noticed this and unlocked the passenger side door, allowing him in. Then, after an expectant glare from James, they both veered to the left and drove onto the busy streets of New York, heading to the United Funds Bank on 4th Street.