"Please...Please just tell me what I have to do."
Over the grimy video feed, all eyes in the room could see tears mixing with snot on the senator's face as a black boot dug into his right hand. They had not been watching long, one minute at the most. However, that minute painted a vivid enough picture to allow the imagination to roam regarding what could have happened before the camera was turned on. They all knew that the bloody nose came from a boot to the senator's face, but how had his legs become a mangled mess? Were the fingers of his left and broken one by one?
"I-I have money! I have influences! No one ever has to know about this." The man was obviously clinging to false hope inspired by the foot being removed from his hand, but fresh sobs racked his back at the click of what could only be a gun.
"Please just let me go..." Desperation had to be his motivation for using his elbows to pull his broken body inch by inch across the room, but the jean covered leg of his torturer could be seen almost lazily following behind. "I have a family. My daughter's only-only six." He pleaded, but those must have been the wrong words. In two quick strides, the pursuer had moved to the senator's side and knelt down. For the first time, the camera's angle was in a position to show more than the legs of the intruder, but a silver mask prevented any distinguishable features from being shown. Based on the way the pursuer's head moved closer to the ear of the senator, quiet words were exchanged before the latter's face was slammed back to the ground. One clean shot to the back of the senator's head was all it took for Jonathon Langston's promising career to be brought to an end, and one shot to the camera brought an end to the only evidence left behind at the crime scene.
"Damn. We can't even tell if it was a man or woman."
"Had to be a man. No woman could be that extreme."
"Whatever. No man would have worn boots like those."
Sven Vollfied crushed his cigarette in the ashtray before lighting another. He was attempting to tune out the chatter of the nameless strangers around him as he read through the latest newspaper article concerning the victim. The press was having a field day covering Langston's murder, but then again, the man had been a constant media presence for the past year. There had actually been a bounty on him at one point. His wife had been found dead in the master bathroom of their mansion day after he left on an impromptu. Immediately all fingers pointed to the husband with the timing of his trip as proof that he was attempting to flee. Several women who claimed to have been sleeping with him came from all corners of the world with stories of his abusive nature, especially when they expressed a desire to end their relationship. One or two even came forth with allegations that he raped them. It should have been an open and closed case for the prosecution, but rumors began to spread that each woman had been paid by one of his political rivals into incriminating him. Seeing as his record had been spotless until that incident, the general public believed in his innocence. The charges were dropped and Langston walked away from the whole scandal smelling like roses. He had even been spotted with a new trophy girlfriend on his arm not long ago although he claimed that she was nothing more than a secretary.
"So what's your take on it, Sven?"
Sven sighed before he dropped the paper on the table, and turned his attention to Annette who continued to clean the same glass he was sure she worked on while watching the video. "It's going to be a mess. You know everyone didn't believe that those women were corrupt. The problem is finding the one that's good enough to pull something like this off." The rumbling of his stomach cut off any other explanation he was willing to offer and caused a sheepish grin to cross his face as he rubbed the back of his head. "I'm more interested in what the bounty's going to be."
"Speaking of which, I saved this for you." Annette responded after an audible tsk. While she poured him a cup of coffee, she subtly withdrew a folded sheet a paper from under the counter. Rather than sitting it down on the counter for him to get at his leisure, she actually brought it to his table with the paper serving as a coaster. Even before opening it, the warning bells began to ring at the degree of secrecy. Obviously, she wanted no one else to see the contents. He raised the cup with his hand that held his cigarette while the other slid the paper from the table to his lap and discreetly opened it. He then lowered the cup in order to raise the newspaper once more to give the appearance of reading. "An older man came in and put this up around the time I opened. Of course I took it down." She whispered before walking back to the counter.
"Good idea..." He muttered as he read the wanted ad over and over again. The target was a little girl who couldn't have been over seven. Her dark blue hair was pulled back into two short pigtails, and her smile practically screamed innocence. What made the ad even more bizarre was the reward offered. 1.2 billion yen for a little girl... "Did he say if she was a missing person or anything?" He asked while he attempted to find some hidden clue in the picture. There had to be something he was missing.
"That was the first thing I asked. He just said he wanted her dead or alive, and that she had last been seen in this city. I figured that a gentleman would be the best man for the job."
"I think you mean a gentleman with a young girl for a partner." Sven responded with a grin as he folded his paper with the ad inside and grabbed his attaché case. He knew this was going to be big. Maybe not as big as dealing with the Apostles of the Star or the Eden project a year ago, but definitely more exciting than the fodder he had captured lately. He just didn't know if that was a good thing or not.