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Saturday, 23 November 2013

FWTD: Nathan Trenchard's journal


About ten days passed since my last journal entry. I left the hospital as soon as I could. My injury was grave, but not life threatening and I am sure that there is someone out there who needs medical attention more than me. I would probably get a scar from this.
After I went to my hotel, I decided to give a public inspirational speech to the citizens of Manhattan. Such events always had a positive outcome back home. I donned my battle armor, to look more confident and impressive and went outside. I found a modest elevated object and started my heartfelt speech. It turned out good in my opinion – but the reaction from the crowd was half-hearted, at the best. Only a few people stopped by to listen and I think they amused themselves at my expense. There was even some poor misguided soul, who gave me a flyer about something called “The Church of Collin”. Very downtrodden… and disgusting. Well, I tried my best. Next time I’ll think of something more productive. But I haven’t given up on the whole idea.
The next day I went to the hospital, bearing flowers and some presents for Michaela. After all, it was my fault that I did not protect her. She beamed at the sight of my material expression of apology.
Oh, thank you, these are really nice, especially the oranges. I like oranges!”, she chirped.
No problem”, I said. “I wanted to apologize for my failure in standing by your side in that Collin encounter. May your soul be whole soon and your inner harmony be restored in its entirety.”
Michaela looked puzzled. It seemed that my verbal apology should have been withheld. Again, I did not understand. What was wrong with my day-to-day speech that it made people balk with blank stares at me?

After going to Michaela, I went back to the hotel. To my surprise, someone was already in my room, though the lock was intact. The stranger was standing by the window, faintly illuminated by the weak light that was coming from the dirty glass. He was tall and wore an expensive black suit.
I was waiting for you”, he said in neutral tone.
You were? I did not know I had an appointment. Excuse me, then, for making You wait”, I replied politely. “Please, have a seat.”
He thanked stiffly and sat at the edge of a rickety chair. I asked him what brings him here.
Our agreement”, he said in the same smooth monotone. “You have agreed, sometime ago in the near past, to find a particular person. I am here to remind you about this.”
My mind raced. Near past? Could it be something with connected to my recent memory loss? I had to know more.
When did I we made this agreement?”
About three weeks ago.”
I was right. It was connected to my mysterious blank spot. But, at the same time, I had made a promise. And a promise cannot be broken. I had first to fulfill my duty.
Ok, I will uphold my end of the agreement. Who is this person that You need found?”
A woman. Goes by the name Natasha. She may have other aliases and has been elusive for quite some time.”
And why do You need her found?”
The suit smiled wryly.
This is out of the discussion”, he replied in dry tone. “Our reasons are our own. What matters is that you fulfill your end of the deal.”
Alright. Until when I have to find this Antoinette?”
Oh, no rush. She will be hard to catch. When is not of prime concern. The important part is to be done.” The suit rose and started to leave.
Wait. How will I contact You to report my progress?”, I asked.
No need. I’ll keep in touch instead.” And with that, he left.
I remained alone with my thoughts. Hm, the plot thickens. But still, one must be in peace with himself in order to be in harmony with the Universe. This Antoinette issue can wait. I said my evening prayers, had some quick meal and then went to my shift.

When I finally went back to work, commander Leila already was responding to a maximum priority distress signal. There has been a shootout in the city. All Night Shifts were on high alert. The situation had to be contained quickly, or the National Guard would have to interfere. No wonder everyone was jumpy. I personally was resolved as always and said a few prayers before leaving HQ.
We went to the site of the accident. We found one dead person on the rooftop of some building. Asian, by the looks of him, probably Chinese. Beside him lay a heavy antimaterial Barret sniper rifle. The body was brutally beaten and maimed. What was odd is that the dead Asian looked like a hired killer, not a victim. After a brief inquiry, we found out that his intended target was been in a diner across the street, but there were no windows. So, not only a heavy sniper to penetrate the wall, but probably some X-ray imaging also. A high-profile assassination then. Only, the assassin was the one to lay dead afterwards.
One of the clients of the diner was also dead. A woman, quite attractive and comparatively young. She and her sister had been sitting at the table, were the assassin had aimed. After careful questioning the sister explained that there were a man sitting with them, also Chinese. He had been laying his head on the lap of the victim, when the first shot had penetrated the wall. According to the witness report, he then had jumped with lightning speed and stormed out of the restaurant. Presumably, he was our only suspect for the killing of the shooter. Which seemed quite the feat if it had been actually achieved.
We photographed the scene, took data for the forensics team and called HQ that the situation was under control. After that, having still enough time on shift, our unit conducted regular patrolling for the rest of the night.
When we returned to HQ, I used the police database to run a search about Antoinette. Big surprise here – she indeed had multiple aliases, one of which was Natasha. So, Natasha and Antoinette were the one and same person. She was wanted from the FBI, NYPD and private corporations, for several serious crimes and illegal activities, including drug trafficking and black market dealing of biotech. Pretty long record. So, three weeks ago I had agreed on finding one dangerous criminal and had no memory of it. How Natasha was connected to me? And better yet, what have I gotten myself into? Does it have something with my mysterious arrival in Manhattan?
Better to find out.