Chapter 6

Two voices echoed through the secured call, alone and secluded from the outside world. The veil of static separated them from countless other conversations. Two operators stood opposing each other. Both their chosen avatars were simplistic in design, and revealed as little as possible. One fat and stout and the other lean and thin. Neither had their faces enabled, but their identities were obvious to each other. The disguises were more or less a formality, a common act in the organization they ran.

“He’ll blow the entire case!” A deep baritone voice boomed over the speaker, coming from the faceless short man. The lean figure nodded his head. The electronic room was set to a fancy penthouse’s hearth. The room was dimmed and only the customized blue fire’s light brought sight. The simulation was very realistic, almost too realistic. The Medium was a place for fun and games, where users from all over the world. These two, however, were businessmen. They did not use the Medium for entertainment, only for business. They only knew each other as only two digits. The slender and tempered figure was known as LF and the short and easily tempered representation was known as FM.

“Look, FM,” the lean figure spoke up, shrouded in the absence of light, “any sanctions that I put on him will look out of place. I can’t directly control him. He’s like an independent, reckless and unpredictable. One thing that I know about him is that he is determined. He will go after the case and won’t stop till it’s done.” The two representations stared at each other, the two distorted figures surrounded by the white noise of mystery. The taller representation continued “The detective won’t listen easy. Especially when it involves his professional life. Just let me try and get to him. He hasn’t realized the bigger picture yet…” the deeper voice cut the operator.

Try being the keyword, LF. He’s not as dumb as you’re playing him out to be! With a friggin’ snap of my fingers he is dead as a doornail.” the FM stated.

“We can’t kill a cop every time your guys mess up,” LF added, “especially when he is the commissioner’s son…”

“What did the scans pick up in the Anderson House?” FM interrupted.

The lean figure sighed and continued his report.

“Nothing incriminating, not a boot heel or finger print. The scans did find a few of the hidden rooms.”

“They’re useless to us now. The Anderson House has served its purpose.” FM concluded.

“Just warn me in advance whenever you plan to cause another fire,” LF plead. The baritone laughed a voracious laugh.

“You don’t own me, pig. I do what I want. Nothing you say, and no amount of money will change it. You work for me just like you work for the organization.” Anger flared within the lean figure. He hated working with FM, especially when the pompous ass went on independence. The simple fact was that FM was a creature of the system, just like the lean figure. They were partners, yet FM saw it differently. LF bit his rage down and continued.

“Just do it, damn it. It’’ll benefit you to keep me in the circle. We’re partners, remember?”

“I wouldn’t call it that. Have you forgotten the arrangement?”

The lean figure raised his voice.

“Have you?”

“I keep the underworld in check while you keep the boys in blue and the public sucking on rainbows and sunshine.” explained the short figure.

“Essentially,” concluded LF.

“Definitely,” confirmed FM. There was silence for a few seconds, a pause rang out on both lines. The gentle crackle of the blue flame filled the gaps of silence.

“So it’s a partnership then.” stated the lean figure.

“I still don’t see how it is, because a partnership implies that we are equals.” FM spat out the insult, “Anyway, I don’t want to interfere just yet. He hasn’t done anything yet to merit death, so far, at least. You’re closest to him, practically you’re the only one who can intervene without looking suspicious. Plus, he looks up to you.”

“He works for me,” LF corrected, “there’s a strong difference.”

“I’m not saying he idolizes you, just that he takes your orders. That’s a good trait for workers.” added the baritone.

“You do realize that any other detective will be able to split this wide open. If we remove Watts, another detective fills in his place. Just imagine the power of another cold, caffeine hyped detective in this scenario,” the baritone laughed.

“They won’t even see it coming. So far, no one has seen the true operation. We’re spread so thin that no one can tie anything together. No one has or will.” LF went silent.

“Wait,” paused the voice on the other line. “You actually think that anyone except for that determined son of a bitch could actually work this out. Hoolihan might if he wasn’t so thick headed. Moley might if he actually went outside. Any other of those schmucks won’t even get close. You got to remember who’s beneath you. Know their capabilities. They’ll never surprise ya then. That’s how I got this chair. I surprised my boss once, with just a pencil and some graft.”

“Fine, I’ll do it.” LF sighed. “Just remember, if any suspicion befalls me, this operation is finished.”

“You mean you’’ll be finished. You and the rest of the MCPD.” FM argued.

“Big words coming from a short person.” The lean figure responded.

A sudden ping came from the fire. The short figure’s head cocked towards the cyan colored flame.

”I gotta go, family business. Just remember, if you went to jail, I have some friends that will enjoy putting you out of your misery.” A beep ended the conversation, the faceless character of the baritone evaporated from the room and the scene dissolved into black. The call was ended.

Inside the simulation, the real world was nonexistent. The technology felt so real. In the void, the transitional space between servers, the confines of reality and technology merged, leaving only uncertainty of reality. The sensations of the world; the feel of the smooth headset, the sensation of cold sweat, and the tiredness of eyes, all come to fruition, mixing with the imaginary white noise. The cold sweat from transition long ago evaporated from the figure’s head. He felt cold, chilled to the bone even. Floating in the space between waking and unconscious always leaves the numbing pain. He heard his heart ringing in his ears, the blood making its way through the body, like insects filing towards a hive. It was low and steady, he knew it won’t be that way for long. In this stage, the lean man liked to contemplate. It has like his own sensory deprivation chamber, leaving nothing to do but think. He thought about his life, deep thoughts that would never leave his head.

He wondered about Watts, the Fat Man, and their whole alliance.

What was I going to do about Watts? he thought. Will I have to listen to that blubbering buffoon. He is going to be a problem, he thought, but also an asset. His heart rate quickened, he was getting closer to awakening.

Will I have to exclude him, altogether? the man continued asking himself. He’s off following a false lead, or at least that’s what I think it might be. My associate was known for betrayal, perhaps he left something that leads back to me! His heart rate grew further.

He still needs me, as long as that’s clear, I’m safe. I’m safe. The adrenaline rush filled his veins, another burst of speed. Getting ever so closer, and closer. Faster and faster. The void around him warped. As soon as he felt his heart stop, he opened his eyes again.

Sensation arrived. His lungs were starved for air, his life force was cold, and his head was banging like a thunderstorm. He shook off his headset and sat up.

LF woke up in his abysmal office, noting out of the cluttered environment looked changed. This Jamie thing was new, exciting. The situation breathed life in the blue blood. Ever since he made the deal with the short man, he was never really surprised or enthralled. LF never guard down anymore. He must not fail, otherwise the city will fall into chaos. He must not fail.

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