- Part 5: The Suspect
The sun began to set overhead as Redd's Cobra left the two hundreds and entered region 399. The hunters knew that this was the region where Core-Gen held their consultation office which serviced Villa and Klein and it was with a renewed vigour that Redd drove to their destination.
The site for the Core-Gen consultation was much the same as they had seen in the two hundreds. It's walls were a mixture of clean steel interspersed with reinforced plastiglass while it's signage was small and subtle. As they parked the Cobra they stepped out into the reddening sky and breathed in the air. To Redd it felt natural, not like the pollution filled foulness of the six hundreds, or even the O2 enriched air he had experienced in the two hundreds, here in the three hundreds, even if it was just by a single number, the air felt natural.
Together the pair entered the building through a sizeable clear glass door which opened automatically as they approached it, creating a woosh sound that would not have been out of place in a science fiction film from back on Earth. Inside they were greeted by a large reception area with yet more metallic and plastiglass decor. Looking ahead at the reception desk they noticed an obvious lack of receptionist and in it's place a sheet of plastiglass that glistened as if filled with opaque blue crystals.
Redd was the first to approach the reception when the figure of a humanoid materialised within the crystallised glass. At first it was small, as if far away in the distance and both hunters observed as it appeared to walk towards them getting larger and larger with every step.
The humanoid appeared to be a female Hydan with pale green-yellow skin, large oval eyes and the traditional bone-like structure that crested their heads. She was wearing a dark grey two piece suit with a formal white shirt and equally formal black tie. As she approached she turned to one side facing the reception desk and appeared to sit behind the desk. After what felt like an almost uncomfortable moment she spoke in a soft; clearly human tone.
"Greetings and welcome to Core-Gen" she smiled warmly "I am Genevieve and I am pleased to have you" she paused briefly as the image of her head flicked between the two hunters
"...two here" She smiled once more before carrying on her welcome speech "Please tell me... Paul and... Christopher" she continued looking directly at Paul and Redd in turn "what we can do for you?"
Redd visibly winced at the use of his forename and Paul noticed, taking lead.
"Thank you, we'd like to speak with someone about the dermal implants done for Villa and Klein" Paul flashed his badge once more. Genevieve briefly looked in it's direction before allowing Paul to continue "it's about the murder of Miss Caroline West".
Genevieve glanced momentarily at both hunters before replying "of course" she said "I have been made aware of these terrible events, but I am afraid I am unable to comply".
Paul tried to intervene but Genevieve continued "it appears your badge is only applicable to the city state of Free Port and therefore does not provide you with jurisdiction within Region 399 of our tower residence". Paul had never heard The Block or any region within being referred to as such. Genevieve continued "so if you wouldn't mind leaving and handing yourself to local law enforcement for improper use of the Bounty Hunter Licence; code 49 sub section 3. Thank you".
With that Genevieve stood from behind her table and appeared to walk away from the pair until she was little more than a speck on the crystallised glass and then she vanished all together.
"Well... Fuck!" Shouted Paul, clearly agitated "that's just great! Bloody great!"
Redd nodded and pulled his leg mounted sawn off shotgun and smiled before levelling the gun to eye height and pulling the trigger unleashing both barrels simultaneously into the crystal glass wall that consisted previously as Genevieve. Instantly and alarm sounded from all around but was quickly silenced as a short man in a dark blue suit, clean swept hair and a neat trimmed beard appeared from behind a plastiglass door located behind the reception desk.
"Gentlemen!" The man smiled smugly with a strong Eastern European accent "there is no need for such violence" he held out his arms as if offering an embrace to the two hunters "this is a place of innovation and healing, not violence and destruction".
Redd reloaded his shotgun and flicked out a cheap cigarette from his pocket before placing it between his lips, calmly lighting it and raising his gun in the direction of the suited man.
"I've had enough of receptionists" muttered Redd, dragging deep on his cigarette and breathing out in the man's direction "and I've also had enough of people in suits". Redd cocked his shotgun, still aimed at the man in the suit.
The man in the suit changed his posture, his welcoming arms raising themselves above his head as if in surrender.
"Of course" the man replied, a faint unease in his voice "I understand you want to speak with someone about Caroline West?" He asked "well I was her technical support agent. I will gladly answer any questions you may have". Slowly he lowered his hands and gestured behind him to the door he had only just left "please come into my office".
The door that the man had entered from lead to a corridor which was lined by nearly fifteen further doors on both sides. Towards the far end a single room stood open and as the man followed by the bounty hunters entered a plastiglass door closed gently and quickly shifted to a mat-black colour.
The man turned to face both hunters and gestured to the single moulded smooth metal chairs that stood before his plastiglass desk.
"Please sit" asked the man complete with an undertone suggesting that this request was more of a demand than anything else "or would you prefer to shoot up this room with your weapons?"
Both Paul and Redd sat and the man mirrored quickly afterwards. The man nodded sternly and then moved a hand across his desk. Behind him a promotional video began to play.
"I am Doctor Stackov, but you can call me..." The man stopped and looked over both hunters carefully "...Dimitri"
Paul had been busy taking in the building and the suited man. He had established that they were located on the outside wall of the facility and based on the faint noises they had passed entering this room there were manufacturing or perhaps fitting rooms between them and the reception area. Most surprisingly this Stackov had not called law enforcement. This he was sure as he knew that if they had by now both him and Redd would be tucked out of sight in a collection van on its way to a depot, probably never to be seen again.
Paul wanted to hate Redd for pulling the stunt he did by shooting the artificial receptionist screen, but he knew that given their current situation it would be weeks if not months before they would be granted jurisdiction in the Block, and even with the support of the 602 Law Office there was no way those in the three hundreds would listen to them, especially when they were just about to implicate them in a serious crime.
"What do you know about illegal repossessions of dermal implants?" Paul's question was sudden and almost unexpected. Stackov appeared almost surprised by the question but Paul had his suspicions that Stackov had expected about this sort of thing when he lead them to his office.
Stackov pyramided his fingers together, breathed in and began tapping his finger tips against themselves.
"Dermal implant repossession?" Stackov asked
"Yes" replied Paul.
"Well I can't say I am personally familiar with the direct act itself, but if you were asking about it; should we say, indirectly? Then I would say it was a necessary evil of our profession".
Both hunters were almost stunned into silence by the response, before them sat a man dressed in a smart, expensive suit, in a smart expensive office, and was pretty much confessing his guilt to the use of illegal repos.
Stackov stood and began to pace around his office, behind his chair the promotional video had continued to play. Where as previously it was show casing a beautiful woman, now her skin had been made clear in certain locations, namely an eye, part of the skull, an arm and part of the neck revealing a number of mechanical implants.
"I am assuming that you have found out about what happened to Miss West?" Stuckov continued "such a shame, she would have made a wonderful poster girl, but I guess that is just what happens when you default on your repayments".
"What is?" Barked Redd at Stuckov, clearly unable to retain any composure.
"Repossession of course" came Stuckov's reply. "To be honest, I'm amazed it's taken someone this long to catch on with our man, he's been out there for longer than you think, and yet you are the first ones to start knocking on our doors".
Paul felt a sinking in his gut. This was not a confession at all, neither did this Stackov see himself as guilty of any crime, more so he clearly saw himself as immune from prosecution.
"I can tell by your faces that you did not expect any of this, is that correct?" Stuckov continued "it's not been easy walking around with all of this, just waiting for the time we would have to call in a favour, but alas that time is now it seems".
Paul was turning pale but in comparison Redd was enraging, his fingers scraping against the metal of their chairs "we're going to string you up, you fucker!" Shouted Redd as he lunged out of his chair in the direction of Stuckov who waited before him with a single finger raised and wagging in disapproval.
"Nuh,uh, ah!" Came the far too confident reaction from Stuckov who effortlessly moved out of the direction of Redd's bull-like charge "you see, you're at Core-Gen, and at Core-Gen we are..."
There was a glint in Stuckov's eye for a moment and Paul's gut finally sank as he realised what was about to happen as a familiar whirr of a heavy automatic rifle began from the other side of the nearby outside wall, the next moment the entire office exploded in a mixture of bullet fire, metal composite and plastiglass fragments.
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley