New Orleans Lady
By: Jason Cline
Dixie caught a flash of motion out of the corner of her eye but it was too late. The black Ford Americar ran through the stop sign and smashed into the passenger side door of Dixie's Honda Spirit. The force of the impact crumpled the passenger side door and caused the airbags to deploy. Dixie's head slammed into the rapidly inflating bag and everything went black.
A few seconds later Dixie jerked back to consciousness, the hacker's entire body hurt. As a groan escaped her mouth Dixie heard a man's voice, "Check the wreckage for survivors."
Dixie's heart began to beat faster, she tried to move but she was trapped by the airbag. Dixie twisted her head and saw Bleu's bloodied form, the ork had been shoved up against her by the force of the impact and she couldn't tell if he was alive or not.
Dixie watched a dark silhouette approach from the passenger's side. The hacker held her breath as a face appeared in the shattered remains of the window. When he saw her the man turned, "Got a live one."
The first voice responded, "No witnesses."
Dixie's eyes widened and she struggled against the air bag. With a sadistic grin the man at the window slowly extended a silenced pistol into the cab of the Honda Spirit, "Tough luck darlin…"
Bleu's cybered right hand closed over the hitter's wrist and jerked it upward. A grinding sound filled the cab of the car as the gunman's wrist bones were powdered by the ork's enhanced strength. The gunman screamed and the pistol dropped from his suddenly nerveless fingers. Bleu jerked the arm downward pulling the gunman's head into the cab of the car. The ork slammed the hitter repeatedly in the face with his elbow until the gunman's screams faded in a bloody gurgle.
Dixie heard the sound of an engine revving but by that time she had struggled free of the vehicle. The hacker brought her FN 5 machine pistol to bear in a two handed grip and let loose a steady stream of fire on the Americar. Rounds splattered against the windshield. As spider webs formed on the obviously reinforced glass the driver chose discretion over valor, spinning the wheel and accelerating down a side street. Dixie continued firing on the retreating car but it quickly escaped.
Dixie turned back to the wreckage as Bleu was pulling himself out through the shattered passenger side window. The ork looked like drek warmed over but at least he was still alive. As Bleu disentangled himself from the wreckage Dixie could see he was shaking slightly, "You okay?"
Bleu nodded as he leaned against the side of the car, "Yeah…I'm good. Not my first rodeo…" Bleu looked down at the hitter and took a steading breath.
"Any idea who this joker was?"
Dixie shook her head.
The ork rifled through the dead man's pockets and came up with the man's commlink. The com was a Novatech Airware, not top of the line but more wiz than most gang bangers carried.
Dixie stashed the com and looked at Bleu, "Anything else?"
The ork shook his head, "Just a pack a' gum and a spare magazine for his Beretta."
Dixie nodded, "Then we better get off the street. Won't be long for NOPS shows up an I don't particularly want to be here when they do."
Bleu nodded his agreement, slipped the hitter's pistol in his waistband and the two faded into the night.
. * * * * * * * * * * * * .
Dixie wanted to head home to check on her Grammy but Bleu convinced her that it might be a good idea to pay a visit to the Revenants first. Dixie resisted but Bleu pointed out that ramming a car in the Bywater would go unnoticed but breaking into a house in the Marginey would have NOPS all over the place in minutes. Dixie reluctantly agreed but not before a quick check of the security feed at her house, the cameras showed nothing and the smart frame she had constructed did not report any unusual activity during her absence. So after what seemed like an endless walk through the streets of the Ninth Ward, Dixie and Bleu found themselves at the Revenants warehouse just as the eastern sky was starting to show the first glimmers of the coming dawn.
The warehouse looked like a warzone. The rollup door had been blown open and it looked like a large vehicle of some kind had smashed its way through the fence. As Dixie and Bleu approached the ork pointed to the front door of the building which was slightly ajar. Dixie nodded and Bleu pulled his Secura taking point as the two made their way cautiously across the open yard to the warehouse. Bleu paused at the door and caught Dixie's eye, holding up his left hand he counted down from three then kicked through the door; Secura leading the way.
The warehouse floor was in shambles, debris scattered everywhere and Dixie noticed at least two bodies lying face down in pools of blood. The walls of the warehouse were pockmarked with bullet holes and one of the Revenants' motorcycles had been reduced to a tangled smoldering heap in the far corner of the warehouse floor. As Bleu slowly made his way into the room Dixie noticed the tell-tale red dot of a laser sight appear on his back.
"Don't shoot!" the hacker commanded as she pulled Bleu back from the entrance.
A voice from the rafters of the building called, "Who comes?"
Dixie recognized the voice as Corneille's and responded in French, "It's Dixie. I got Bleu with me. Someone hit us on the way back to my place. We dropped one but the other got away. Bleu thought they might try to hit the Revenants too."
Silence for a few seconds then Corneille responded in French, "Upstairs."
The red dot that had been plastered to the floor directly in front of the entrance to the warehouse's back room winked out and Dixie nodded to Bleu. The ork didn't look particularly happy about it but Bleu stepped through the door and made his way up the plywood stairs to Corneille's loft apartment.
Once she was through the simple door at the top of the stairs, Dixie was surprised at how lavish the apartment actually was. The walls had been padded to provide soundproofing and then dry-walled, the floor was carpeted and a plush sofa sat opposite an enormous trideo unit.
The apartment was essentially one long hallway, eight meters across and eighteen meters long. The front door opened into the living room but just beyond Dixie could see a kitchen, then an interior wall had been made that formed a hall which she presumed led back to the bedroom. Corneille came walking out of that hallway so Dixie assumed that there was some sort of warehouse access from the rear of the apartment.
It was obvious that the Corneille had had a rough night, the elf's clothing was torn and bloody and someone had blackened his right eye. As Corneille entered the kitchen he removed the stopper from a crystal decanter and poured himself a glass of red wine.
"Can I offer you something?" the elf asked switching to English.
Dixie and Bleu shook their heads and Corneille shrugged, "Suit yourself. Now tell me what happened."
Dixie took a seat on the sofa and started to fill Corneille in on the ambush, Bleu took up a position in the corner opposite the sofa and the elf stayed in the kitchen behind a breakfast bar that blocked Dixie's view of his lower half. It was obvious that neither of the men trusted one another but Dixie was too tired and too rattled from the attack to worry about their little pissing contest.
Dixie wrapped up the story and added, "So why don't you tell us about your night?"
Corneille poured himself another glass of wine before starting, "After you left the party we were attacked. Four men, professionals, came through the front door. Two made for the van and two provided covering fire. I was here when the fight started; I heard the sound of gunfire and saw Mani and his joygirl fall. By the time I joined the fight Michael had fallen as well. I jumped one of the gunmen but the other blew a hole in the rollup, the explosion knocked me out. When I came to the van was gone and everyone was dead. I figured they would come back to make sure I was dead and so I have been waiting for them."
"How'd they get through the door?" Bleu asked from the corner. The ork was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed appearing casual but Dixie noted that his right hand was positioned very close to the butt of the Secura he had tucked into his waistband.
Corneille turned to look at Bleu and narrowed his eyes, "This is a good question. Maybe someone told them the code?"
The implication hung in the air for a few seconds before Dixie snorted, "Your security ain't exactly top notch; I could crack your door code in five seconds or less. Besides Bleu has been with me the whole time…unless you're implying that I sold you out?"
Corneille turned back to Dixie and considered her for a second then, "No. Your rep is solid. If it wasn't the trog then it wasn't an insider."
Bleu bristled at the insult but Dixie shot him a look before asking, "So they were after the crate from the shipping yard?"
Corneille nodded, "The question is why?"
It was a good question. Whatever was in that crate was important enough for someone to send a crew of professionals to retrieve it and geek the runners who stole it; that could point to the original owners. But the timeline was too tight, there was no way that the original owner could have found out that the crate was missing and organize a team to retrieve it in such a short amount of time. Dixie saw only one other possibility.
"Looks like a third party is interested in the crate."
Corneille nodded again, "Makes sense. Let us hit the shipyard then hit us when we get the package back to the warehouse. We deal with the any heat from the original owner as well as the shipyard itself and all they have to do is steal it from us when were least expecting it."
Bleu frowned, "But why go after Dixie an me?"
The elf shrugged, "Loose ends maybe? Wipe out the team that stole the crate in the first place and there is no chance that the theft could be linked to them."
The room was quiet for a few seconds then Bleu asked, "So what do we do now?"
Another good question. Dixie knew that the safest thing to do would be to cut and run. Whoever had hired the hitters had proven that they had no problem putting Dixie and her team in the ground, so the safe play would be to lay low for a bit and let the whole thing blow over.
Corneille probably wouldn't go for that; the ganger had his reputation to think about and he couldn't just overlook someone hitting his Krewe on their home turf. Bleu probably wouldn't go for it either, not that he had a rep on the line but Jimmy LeBleu had never been one to walk away from a fight.
So if she couldn't do the safest thing, the next best option would be the smartest thing. If it were up to the boys there would undoubtedly be blood; so Dixie decided not to let it be up to them.
"Now we find the slots who took the crate and steal it back from them." Dixie said.
"How?" Corneille asked.
Dixie smiled, "You leave that up to me, just be ready when I call."
Dixie stood and headed for the door, Bleu pushed himself off the wall to join her as Corneille snorted, "Who put you in charge?"
Dixie stopped and turned, "Aww boo…I've always been in charge."
The hacker smiled sweetly then walked out the door. Corneille looked at Bleu who just shrugged before turning to follow her.
. * * * * * * * * * * * * .
The next afternoon found Dixie relaxing on a bench in Woldenburg Park waiting for her contact to arrive. The mid-April sun beamed down from a cloudless sky and a light breeze provided by the Mississippi River plucked at her yellow sundress. As men and women of every metatype and social standing passed along the riverfront Dixie closed her eyes and leaned back, taking a deep breath and just enjoying the warmth of the sun on her exposed skin.
There was no doubt that springtime in New Orleans was the best time live in the Big Easy. The days were warm but not hot, the nights were cool but not cold. The chaos of Mardi Gras had passed and the only tourist you found in the city were the ones who came for the history or grandeur as opposed to the debauchery or vice. This was the time when New Orleans belonged to New Orleaneans if only briefly.
Dixie's reverie was broken as a homeless man in tattered clothing sat down on the bench next to her. Dixie turned her head and gazed through her sunglasses at the ragged man, "Whadda ya got for me Zipper?"
The man known as Zipper twitched slightly, "Found him. Peter Wirth, hitter from Baton Rouge. Came to town a few days ago on a job."
Dixie frowned, "I know all this Zipper. Who was he working for?"
The homeless man scratched at his chin in a jerky motion, "Workin for locals. Don't gotta name but I know he was Zobop. Bad business Dix…bad business. Zobop got a big party comin up, word is whatever they took from you is gonna be unveiled at that party."
Dixie nodded and handed the man a hundred nuyen note, Zipper bobbed his head and scampered off, no doubt heading for his next fix. It was sad really; Zipper had been a big man in his day, a decker in fact, back with Matrix 1.0 when people had to plug in direct like. After the crash he never recovered. The wireless world just wasn't enough for Zipper he needed hot sim, so he turned to BTLs. His name wasn't much anymore but Zipper still knew people and that made him useful to Dixie, and if she could throw him a little cred now and then to run down a simple lead she would out of respect for who he was.
Dixie watched the old decker shuffle away and her mind raced. The Zobop! Zipper was right that was bad business. The Zobop were the homegrown mafia of New Orleans, and worse they were all voodoo practitioners with a definite dark bent. Dixie wasn't afraid of voodoo per say, over half of the residents of New Orleans followed the practices of voodoo including Jimmy LaBleu, but Zobop practitioners specialized in mind control and spirit possession and all sorts of bad juju.
If the Zobop were responsible for stealing the crate then there were only two reasons why, the item inside the crate was magical or it was a metahuman body. Along with drug trafficking and illegal magical practices, the Zobop also dealt in organ-legging and the creation and distribution of zombies. Given the choice between some voodoo gris-gris or a body destined for reanimation, Dixie couldn't decide which one disturbed her more but one thing was for certain; if the Zobop took that crate whatever was inside would be worth a good deal of cred to the right buyer.
Reluctantly Dixie left her patch of sunlight and headed to Canal Street to flag a cab. If she and her team could get that crate back from the Zobop their reps would skyrocket. There would be no way to hit them directly, the Zobop had fronts all over town, but if they were showing off the object tonight then Dixie and her team could crash the party and retrieve the object there.
Imagine what people would say of Dixie could pull of a heist in the middle of a Zobop soirée, it would be epic. But it would have to be smart, in and out without anyone the wiser, the Zobop weren't the forgiving type and they could do worse things than just kill you. It would be risky, but Dixie didn't join the game to play it safe. Mind made up, Dixie flagged a cab and headed back to the Marigny to plan the biggest run she had attempted so far.
. * * * * * * * * * * * * .
"Okay let's go over it one more time."
Dixie, dressed in a sleeveless red evening gown pointed to a holographic display projected over the dining table in her home in the Marigny.
"Corneille and I enter through the front posing as guests. We scope out the room and once we locate the item I'll flag it on our PANs. The unveiling is scheduled for mid-night so we're on a tight schedule. We don't know exactly what the object is, but neither do the guests so that works to our advantage. Bleu you will pose as part of the catering staff, being an ork they won't let you into the main hall but there will be plenty of work behind the scenes that would justify your presence. Once we have a location that's when it gets tricky. We need to create a distraction and remove the object without being identified. Given that most of the guests are human, the plan is to cut the power and sneak the object out in the ensuing chaos. Any questions?"
Corneille who was dressed in a fine cut Morrington suit asked, "What security do they have?"
This was the weakest aspect of Dixie's plan, physical security was no problem for a Hacker of her skill but magical security was simply out of her realm.
"The party is being held at a private home on Esplanade so expect drone surveillance of the neighborhood as well as rapid response from NOPS should an alarm be triggered. However once inside the building it should be a snap, internal security will be largely disabled and I will spoof the remaining systems as soon as we arrive. I'm sure they'll have muscle on site but when the lights go out their first job will be to protect the big shots so we should be clear."
The ganger's eyes narrowed, "And spirits?"
Dixie's jaw tightened, "I don't know. The party is tonight and I don't have a lot of magical contacts I can check with."
Corneille turned away from the hologram with a curse, "This is the Zobop! Of course they will have magical defenses! Do you propose that we just walk into the serpent's den unprepared?"
Dixie shot back, "What do you want to do? Let them get away with it? What happens when word gets around that the Revenants were hit by the Zobop and didn't retaliate? Either we go tonight or we lose the crate…what's it gonna be?"
Corneille glared at her, "You always say its business, but this does not feel like business. This feels like personal."
Dixie narrowed her eyes, perhaps it was personal but she would be damned if she would admit it, "It *is* business. We were hired to deliver that crate and we didn't, that's bad for your rep. We get the crate back and deliver as promised and our rep is solid again. Business."
As the two continued to glare at one another Bleu asked, "How do we deliver the crate?"
Dixie turned to look at him. Bleu was dressed in a white jumpsuit with the Antione's logo across the back, the full sleeves barely disguised his cybernetic forearm but at first glance he appeared to be nothing more than a simple caterer. The ork had been surprisingly quite during the entire briefing and as the hacker looked at him now he appeared remarkably unshaken for such a new player in the shadows.
"I have already contacted the Barber and filled him in on the situation. He was disappointed by our failure but I assured him that we would retrieve the crate and deliver it to a location the Johnson's choosing. That seemed to placate him."
Corneille's eyes lit up angrily, "You had no right to speak for me!"
Dixie threw up her hands, "Fine! Then you call up the Barber and tell him you're walkin out on his job. I'm sure he'll send lots of biz your way after that."
"Spirits won't be a problem."
Bleu spoke in such a matter of fact way that both Dixie and Corneille stopped glaring at one another and turned to stare blankly at him.
The big ork continued, "At a gathering like this it would be admitting weakness for a voudoun to bring a spirit. Same goes for zombies. At a gathering like this the voudoun show their power much more subtly, they will have their most powerful foci and nothing else."
Corneille recovered first, "And how do you know this?"
Bleu looked at Dixie when he answered, "We all have a past, this is part of mine."
The elf looked as though he wished to argue more but said, "Fine. We do this."
Dixie was still watching Bleu though, wondering what happened in his past that made him so knowledgeable about the Zobop, "Once we have the object we move it out the back and into the van outside. I have already hacked Antione's files and added Bleu to the registry as a driver and busboy so he will have access to the vans without anyone questioning him."
Bleu nodded, "But how are you going to find the object in the house?"
Dixie smiled, "The same way I found it in the first place, RFDT. All I have to do is find the tag in the house and we're golden."
"Assuming the tag was on the object and not the crate." Corneille added darkly.
Dixie gave him a sour look, "Who would tag a crate? Now you're just bein pissy. Look the plan's solid and you know it. You just don't like being told what to do by a woman."
The elf turned away with a snort but Dixie could tell her comment hit the mark. Bleu gave her a tusky grin and the two followed Corneille out. Good or bad the run was on, soon they would see if Dixie's plan was solid or if they were about to piss off one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the city.
. * * * * * * * * * * * * .
An hour and a half later Corneille helped Dixie out of a cab at the intersection of Bourbon Street and Esplanade, the party was being held a few blocks up Esplanade but Dixie didn't want to be seen getting out of a cab. The socialites who attended parties of this sort had drivers or lived within walking distance of the event so arriving via cab would blow their cover.
The host of the party was Marcus Devereaux, one of the Nouveau riche that chose to live on Esplanade instead of the traditionally upscale Garden District. Devereaux ran a shipping company that specialized in moving magically sensitive cargo into and out of the CAS. It was always rumored that Devereaux had ties to the Zobop but NOPS could never prove it, Dixie guessed that this little party was one more way that Devereaux could flaunt his wealth to his peers while showcasing his power to his fellow Zobop members.
As she and Corneille climbed the small stone staircase and approached the doorman, a small window superimposed itself in Dixie's vision. Dixie's commlink was informing her that she was undergoing an active scan to verify her identity. With a few subtle taps on her virtual keyboard the hacker released her pre-programmed virus into the buildings LAN implanting fake credentials for herself and her team as well as linking her personal network to the local network of the building. Within milliseconds she had access to the camera feed of the entire building as well as a detailed schematic of the floor plan and security countermeasures.
As Dixie expected, most of the security was set to passive mode, scanning for a signal that was not tagged to a registered guest; but a few of the systems, most noticeably the maglocks and upstairs cameras were set to active mode.
"I'm in." Dixie sub-vocalized as she and Corneille presented the doorman with a forged invitation to the event. The paper was a mere formality in this wireless world but the Zobop had a flair for the dramatic and an anachronistic attachment to pre-Matrix life. The forgery seemed to satisfy the doorman who waived the couple into the house in a grand gesture.
Dixie sashayed past the doorman and entered the building pausing to let everyone get a good look at her. The hacker had spent hours preparing for the event; choosing the right dress, having her hair and nails done, picking the right jewelry. She wanted everyone present to picture her as a Creole Princess, not a streetwise stripper.
Corneille's outfit had been chosen for effect as well, the elf was dressed in the latest Persian fashion to give the impression of a visiting dignitary. Dixie knew that there was no way the two of them could blend with the crowd, so she decided to give the party goers something to remember instead.
Devereaux's house was breathtaking and straight out of a Civil War trid. The main door opened into a grand hall with two massive curving stairwells at the far end, the likes of which one expects an antebellum housewife to tumble down. Two tables heavily laden with assorted finger foods and silver punch bowls filled the hall and several guests congregated around them, sampling the food but concentrating on the drink.
Through the arched doorway to the right Dixie could see well dressed men and women standing around with drinks and hors de over in their hands chatting idly. To the left was a sort of gallery where Dixie could just make out massive oil paintings and sculpture.
Dixie snuggled up against Corneille and nuzzled his ear, "Well darling…shall we mingle?"
Over the next hour Dixie and Corneille wandered through all the accessible areas of the house, scanning for their prize. Dixie slaved Corneille's com to her own so that they could split up to cover more ground but their progress was constantly impeded by the other guests who would draw them into conversations about local gossip or the latest trideostar sighting in New Orleans.
Occasionally the topic of conversation would have more substance, such as corporate financial outlooks and global politics but Dixie did her best to excuse herself from those as quickly as possible. Her alias Rebecca LeReaux would have no interest in such weighty affairs and Dixie didn't want to come across as too knowledgeable of the corporate world.
For her part, Dixie was having a ball. The hacker found that she liked passing herself off as someone else; the thrill of walking amongst the Blue Bloods of New Orleans and having them treat her as one of their own was almost as big a rush as tip-toeing through their private networks looking for paydata.
Corneille on the other hand seemed to hold everyone there in contempt, as though they were beneath him. The ganger's superior attitude could quite easily be played off by his alias' French upbringing, Pierre Eyraud was distantly related to royalty after all, but old world snobbery could only cover so much.
"You need to calm down." Dixie chastised over the com.
"These people annoy me." Corneille responded in French, "Hurry up and find the object so we can get the frag out of here."
Dixie checked her com, 23:15 and still nothing. The hacker had identified objects of art worth hundreds of thousands of nuyen but the tag she was looking for hadn't pinged on Corneille's or her network. Either the object wasn't there after all, or it was upstairs where guests weren't allowed.
"We need to get upstairs." Dixie announced over the com.
"How?" Bleu asked from the kitchen.
"Leave this to me." Corneille replied as he headed for the front door.
"Where are you going?" Dixie hissed.
The elf turned and smiled, "To do what I do best." With that Corneille disappeared leaving Dixie alone and surrounded by the who's-who of the New Orleans social scene.
Fifteen minutes later Corneille's voice vibrated the ear-bud Dixie had linked to her com, "I'm in. Looks like a study."
The elf continued to speak French and Dixie noticed he was much more eloquent in his native tongue. The hacker tapped a few virtual keys and called up an overview showing the building's layout and a colored dot for each of their positions. Corneille's angry red dot appeared on the second floor in a room marked Library. Still no ping from the tag so Dixie directed Corneille to move on.
"Once you reach the hallway the master bedroom is to the right and there are two guest bedrooms to the left which share a bathroom. My guess is the master bedroom." The elf grunted his acknowledgement and turned right at the hall.
Corneille's commlink was pinged by a security sensor as soon as he left the Library but Dixie was able to shut down the inquiry almost immediately. Corneille's dot moved steadily down the hall and paused outside the master bedroom.
"What is it?" Dixie whispered.
"Maglock," the ganger replied, "shouldn't take long."
As Dixie let her attention return to the party around her she realized that she had drawn the attention of one of the other guests. He was young, probably in his mid to late twenties, and dressed far less glamorously than the other guests wearing only a simple grey pants and vest combination. His skin and hair were far too fair to be native to the area and he had the sleeves of his burgundy shirt rolled up to his elbows. He was standing in a corner away from most of the guests nursing a glass of red wine and watching the crowd with a frown framed by a closely trimmed reddish-brown goatee.
Corneille's voice in her ear pulled Dixie's attention back to the run but the hacker couldn't shake the feeling that something was off about the guy in the corner, "Lock's disengaged, entering the bedroom now."
Corneille's network could not detect the tag they were looking for anywhere inside the bedroom and Dixie's com read 22:47, the team was running out of time. Just as Dixie was about to suggest that Corneille try one of the guest bedrooms a stunningly handsome man in an expensive tuxedo took her hand and kissed it.
Dixie felt a moment of panic as she recognized the man as Marcus Devereaux himself. The voudoun priest looked deeply into Dixie's eyes as he kissed her hand and then spoke in a smoldering voice, "Welcome…I don't think I know you."
Dixie's heart beat frantically in her chest but she managed to reply, "Rebecca LeReaux, pleasure to meet you Mr. Devereaux."
Devereaux made a dismissive noise, "Please…call me Marcus Ms. LeReaux."
Devereaux took Dixie's hand and led her toward the base of the stairwell, "I must admit, I do not recall your name on the guest list Ms. LeReaux."
"My uncle does a great deal of business with you, Jerry Prejean." Dixie said, "He was unable to attend tonight so he sent me instead. I must say you throw quite a party."
Devereaux smiled, "And I must say that you are an exquisite liar whoever you are. I happen to know for a fact that Jerry Prejean has no siblings."
Devereaux's hand tightened around Dixie's elbow and he continued to guide her through the crowd, "Now you and I are going to go into the kitchen and have a little chat, wherein you are going to tell me who you really are and what you are doing here."
Dixie started to pull away but Devereaux jerked her closer to him and kept smiling, "No, don't fight. If you make a scene I'll be forced to hurt you and we wouldn't want that now would we. No I think it would be best if you just come quietly and answer my questions; that way you get out of here with you mind and body intact."
Right then several things happened all at once.
Dixie received a ping from Corneille's network on the RFDT they had been looking for.
Corneille's voice came over the com saying, "Oh you've got to be kidding me."
And the young man that Dixie had noticed earlier appeared out of the crowd in front of her and punched Devereaux in the face screaming, "I want my fish back you son of a bitch!"