Birth of the Undead – Multiple Identities 4
Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 15 July 2023 09:49] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 15 July 2023 13:47]
“Dan. Did you find anything else odd about them or the scene? Other than the bodies being slightly paler than usual.”
Dan Turpin looked towards his sometimes partner and currently pain-in-the-butt person in the room. Balding slightly and in his trademark suspenders, the middle-aged stocky detective had spent the better part of the week crafting five slides to summarize his progress on his latest cases. Given that all detectives have to juggle multiples, he had found it a waste of time to do all these kind of stuff as opposed to pounding the pavement to follow up on leads. Supposedly the new style of policework. “Share information”; “Collaborate beyond your normal partneres”. He had thought all of it is hogwash, things pushed down by the higher-ups who seemed to have forgotten all the things that happens daily at the bottom. What is there to share if they hadn’t even spent enough time to look and follow-up on clues?
In any case, he had actually been looking forward to get back to his seat quickly when the question came up. From one Maggie Sawyer, no less.
Pulling out his trusty notebook and flipping towards the intended pages, he frowned slightly at his barely legible scribbles before addressing his colleague.
“Well, for starters, we believe that the bodies were dumped. We couldn’t find anything on them, or around that pointed to being owned by them. Not a stich of clothing or bags that matched, not even their phones. Which meant that the criminal act had taken place somewhere else. We estimate that both of them are in their early twenties...”
“What about costumes. Saw any of those around?”
“Curious you would mention that...now there were none discarded around the place BUT” he saw Maggie holding back her next question “...there were eyewitnesses in both cases who saw someone dressed in some superhero costume entering a building within one block of the vicinity.”
It was an important breakthrough that came in yesteday, though Dan was curious why Maggie would ask such a specific question.
Something that he immediately picked up with Maggie on the side immediately after the session.
“I think we’re working the same case. I had another Jane Doe a few days back too, this time near to the bay. Got a card a costume-rental shop, but because it was found by Jimmy Olson, had to trade it off him.” She then passed on the additional information that Jimmy Olson had texted her after his visit to the costume rental shop, and how he managed to glean the information of the person renting the latest costume.
Dan just gave a gruff reply. “So you have a name now?”
“Patsy Dane. AKA PatsyParty.”
Dan frowned. “Hooker? Or they call it escort these days?”
“Not that dodgy. She’s a cosplayer, or at least an up-and-coming one.” Seeing the slightly confused look on Dan’s face, she turned her monitor around and showed the pictures on it. “I managed to get some hits with some creative searching online, and she was quite active on social media. Pretty extensive lineup here...”
What he saw was akin to a portfolio of modeling photos of a young woman, posing in various various costumes that would be more befitting halloween. Other than superheroes, there were her in maid costumes, or some of the more recognisable characters from video games. He remembered a few when he saw his son playing.
“I guess my boys will be more knowledgable about who she’s portraying. That her hobby or occupation?”
“Could be both, actually. Cosplaying is big these days. I was told that good cosplayers are in demand all over the world, modeling or posing as certain characters, which I’m sure might have caused many a chagrin among those real superheroes. Same with the two DBs on your plate?”
“We found one identification in one of the rooms for the first one, a leggy beauty called Elena Krakova. Now that you mentioned it, they also found some black cloth, some webs or fishnets..?” He passed his phone over to Maggie, who smiled upon seeing the snapshots.
“I think those might be a replica of Zatanna’s costume. Which means we have now a strong link.”
“Someone with a penchant or fetish for costumes?”
“Or someone who likes those who wear them.” She was about to continue when a call came. “It’s yours.” Dan Turpin took the phone.
“Well, well. It’s been a while Fred! How is life in Midvale-Leesburg treating you?”
Maggie continued to comb through the instagram site and to surf for some additional online information as Dan Turpin continued his conversation on the side. Given the loud voice of Turpin it wasn’t really hard to listen into part of the conversation, where her ears had picked up key words such as “paler than usual” and “costume capers”.
“So what does the good Commissioner want from you?” Maggie spoke up finally when Dan laid down the phone.
“Surprise, surprise. He’s checking upwards along a vine. Seems like all THREE of us might be on to the same perp.”
“I hope that it’s at least he offered something useable for us that we can trade information about.” Maggie leaned back and sighed. “I mean, how much can happen in Midvale-Leesburg?”
Dan crossed his arms and thought for a while. “From the MO, it does sound like the same person. So the two cases on my hand dated back to close to a month ago, whereas yours...”
“..is at least a week. The ones over at Midvale-Leesbug?”
“Latest was found yesterday. She was wearing a pair of red boots laced with white stripes; in a nearby bin they also found a red bustier with an eagle at the front, together with a pair of blue pants with white stars.” One of Wonder Woman’s older costume. The only difference was that they were discovered near to the body.
“Hang on. If we consider the timelines, that might mean the perpetrator has moved from Metropolis to Midvale. If it is the same person. But why?”
The million dollar question. “Better inform the Chief over there.”
And it wasn’t just the detectives who are chasing down leads. Carter Sharp found out as he himself sat in that rickety chair of his in the small newsroom cum office, trying to fend-off the three young Asian women who wouldn’t take no for an answer.
He was actually in the midst of collecting his thoughts to complete the article regarding the latest inept local government initiatives when the three ladies came barging through the door. That they are most definitely from out of town was of no doubt, given that there aren’t that many Asian-origin amongst the local community.
He also found out almost immediately that size is of no issue between the three of them. The most petite among the three wasted no time in communicating their intention. Even if the way they came onto him was more than surprising.
“You are the chief reporter and editor for the Leesburg Chronicle. I assume you must know of everything that goes on around the town and it surrounding area.” The way the smallest women remarked was as if he must be the know-all and tell-all. Standing in front of him and putting both her hands in her pockets, she gave him a fierce expectant look while her other two companions looked on in a mix of bemusement and awe.
It felt intimidating. He couldn’t help but swallow his saliva once.
“Depends on what?”
“The topic obviously. Who are you people, and why do I have to tell you anything?”
“Visitors, traveling in between. We’re interested to find out a bit more about an organisation that we believe is based out of the Midvale-Leesburg area. The RedDot Organisation. Maybe you can share a bit more information about it?”
Guess there’s something new happening everyday. Carter rubbed his five o’clock shadow for a few seconds before replying.
“In case you haven’t heard, there’s this thing called the Internet. Type any name into any popular search engine, and voila, everything’s there! Heck, it might even help call a cab for you to get there if you do it on your phone. In fact, why didn’t you do that instead of coming to me?”
“Many of the ‘official’ information might be misleading. Or not updated. We thought you would be the right person to help corroborate them.” Carter’s eyebrows rose at the woman’s comment, though he tried to act nonchalant despite a slight peek of interest within his heart.
“Ms. Pari....Look, this particular organisation that you’re looking for. I don’t know anything about it.”
“Let us be the judge of that. Surely there must be more than you are letting on, given that you are one of the remaining local reporters here?”
“She’s smart” Carter thought inwardly. “And rightly so.” Leaning back slightly, he remarked. “Normally, people who wants information or a favour, they tend to ask nicely. And what makes you think that I am interested to give you any anyway?”
The woman was about to retort when the taller woman to the right held her shoulder. “He’s right. We’re guests, and we can’t just demand for anything and everything. So,” turning back to Carter, she leaned forward towards the desk and spoke in a different accent. “I apologise on behalf of Es for this sudden request and...directness, but we are in kind of a hurry. Any information that we can get is appreciated. Please.”
That lightened the mood somewhat, and Carter would admit that her curvy, modelesque looks have had a sway on his initial thoughts. “But why are you so keen to find out about them? Surely if you want to take it up with them for any of their events, a simple phone call will suffice. You don’t have to come knocking down the door of a local newspaper to do that.”
The woman bent down slightly and placed her left hand on his table. Looking directly at him while knowing full well he had a good view of the partially-revealed frontal assets beneath the silky white blouse that she wore, she replied “As Es rightly pointed out, many things on the Internet can be faked, or entirely misleading. We just want to be sure, that’s all.”
The view was just too beautiful to ignore, and Carter just couldn’t help himself looking down at her partially exposed chest.
“Please. Call me Kat.” Carter thought her beautiful brown eyes looked so mesmerizing. He couldn’t help but fall deeper and deeper into her gaze as he tried to string together something more coherent and befitting his reporter status...
“Hey Carter, sorry I’m...Oooohhh, being seduced by women, now THIS I’ve got to see.” Not a moment too soon when Linda Danvers herself came through the front door interrupting the entire scene, seemingly snapping Carter out from his stance. She had taken a detour on the way to play with a few little furry beings at the petshop prior to coming in. Hearing the voices at the bottom of the stairs, she couldn’t help but purposedly come through the door unannounced.
“Hey, it’s you three! Fancy seeing all of you here.” Though from the way Kat looked up and at her with a cross look, Linda thought she wasn’t wanted at this very moment. She just had enough time to hang her coat when Dillie bounded over and gave her a bear hug.
“Linda! We’ve missed you! So many things have happened these past few days...” Dillie seemed to start off a million miles per second trying to rewind all that had happened, while Es and Kat looked on exasperatedly.
Carter looked utterly confused at the scene. One moment it was like he was dragged unknowingly into an interrogation, and in the next scene these three women are best pals with his underpaid and overworked intern. “You know them?”
Linda barely got a word out as Es interjected. “Oh yes. She almost killed our friend the other day when she came bumbling down the stairs. Slammed into my friend and sent her flying ten feet away. It was a miracle that she didn’t land in the hospital.” Seeing Linda’s embarrassed blush, Es pursued the matter further. “Given that she works for you, I assume that whatever that you’re sharing would be fair compensation for her wrongdoing.”
“Hey! I...” Suddenly Linda found herself shushed up by Dilie, who gave her a sort of pleading look. Her curiousity got the better of her instead, and she clammed up.
“Well, that’s between you guys and her. We’re all adults; I’m not responsible for her actions.”
“What kind of boss are you? Seeing your little employee facing a problem, aren’t you stepping-up to help her?”
Kat moved forward this time, and despite Es eyeing her she tossed a bone forward. “Let’s do quid pro quo then. If you’re willing to share something that is useful for us, we can offer you proper monetary compensation. Or better, even trade for something that would National News front-page worthy. So what do say you.”
The standoff lasted for about twenty seconds before Carter gave in. “You first.” He tried again.
Kat was having none of it. “Oh, but in this case, it’s gentleman first. I insist.”
Carter stroked his goatee, and seeing Linda’s own intense facial expression, he relented “Fine.” He turned towards his laptop, looked through some of his research folders, and turned it around to show the three ladies. Together with the ladies Linda also joined in to have a peek at the screen.
“RedDot Foundation made some news a while ago with some scholarships given out to people in the Far East. While not necessary news-worthy, it was rather an eye-opener that they were offering it to women only. The reasoning was that it was for elevating women so that we can build up a talent pipeline for the STEM community in this country as a long term strategy. All good so far? OK.” He then flipped over to another two photos and pointed to them. “Now, everything looks prim and proper. The odd part is that this guy was seen at the event.”
Both photos showed shots of an event, perhaps a launch party of the foundation. There was a person who was seemingly the center of attention. Short, his large waist seemed to be threatening to tear through the shockingly bright orange suit, nevertheless he exuded a certain charm as he went about his oratory, gesturing to the attendees in front of the presentation projection behind him. The unconventional fashion sense was definitely an eye-opener.
Observing how all three Asian ladies were seeemingly mesmerised by the figure in question, he droned on.
“Name’s Otis Reed. Despite his current role as the main man fronting the organisation, he was actually more notorious for petty theft and small swindles, not philanthropy. Heard he was in the slam for a while due to him being caught red-handed in one of his rackets in Metropolis. While he does look a little older now, he’s actually hard to miss, especially that belly of his.” Looking up however, he realised that the three ladies were not really listening to him.
“Hello? Did you guys hear what I said just now?”
“Who is that?” Es pointed to a guy who was standing towards the back of Otis Reed. Looking at the same photo, Linda looked at the person of interest. Standing towards the back as a man of light hair that looked unkept, the actual colour hard to tell as it was illuminated by the bright graphics projecting off from the screen at the back. Wearing a black jacket over a polka-dot shirt, with eyes seemingly focused on Otis, he kept a certain smug on his face, exuding a kind of coolness and rugged presence that was both out of place and strangely eerie.
“Beat’s me. Maybe an assistant? Or another cameraman at the wrong place at the wrong time. Look, the main point is, this RedDot foundation, if it is truly legitimate, they would have found another capable person to run the entire organisation, not Otis Reed. They have shown that they do have money to throw around, having just given away a million dollars for the scholarship event three months’ age with more pledged for the upcoming five years. Otis might have made some friends in jail, but a millions dollars is still a cool sum of money for laundering, in this kind of manner and scale.”
“Where did you get this information?” Linda asked curiously.
Carter winked at Linda. “Our ‘common friend’ asked me to keep tabs on anything that looks odd around here. When I spotted Otis Reed a few weeks back in Leesburg, I tailed him for a while. Turns out he’s at the old Midvale orphanage, which suggests that’s where the organisation is setting up shop. Some of the other stuff were my own desk research, again, searchable from the Internet.”
Smiling smugly he looked at the three women. “So now, your turn.”
“That’s interesting information. Thank you ver much.” Kat turned around and was about to usher them out when Carter called out. “Hey hey hey. I thought you wanted to do quid pro quo? Where’s my quo now?”
If Es and Kat were to have their way they would have just continued walking out the door, but Linda sensing their intent had moved back and grabbed onto their waists, holding them back gently by her own standards. To Es and Kat though it felt like they were suddenly strapped to a pole with a steel bar, and they were unable to move forward on their own. They looked at each other in confusion and then at Linda who gave her best smiley face ever. “Ladies. Come on. Carter has played ball, it’s only right for you to do the same?”
“Oh that’s easy. We’re here to investigate the foundation because we think they are only focused on bringing in certain people into the country.” Dilie chirped up before Es could signal her to shut up.
That changes the entire narrative. Carter frowned. “Well, given that they were recently recruiting from Asia, I would assume everyone who came through originated from the various Asian countries over there. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are racist though...”
Dilie paused, seemingly confused for a while before laughing. “No, that ‘s not what I meant, silly! Of course they would be all Asians. I mean, the main thing is that they are bringing only young women. Not only that, they are targeting creatures! Witches to be exact. That guy standing behind Otis? We think he’s a witch too!”
“You believe them?” Linda asked pointedly after the three ladies finally agreed to spill whatever they had. The conversation had gone to such an incredulous stage that by the time they departed even Linda’s head was spinning.
Carter however looked as calm as ever. Taking a long puff of another cigarette he remarked “Linda, with you being, well, you, and with our common friend, I’d be stupid to deny this outright. After all...” he paused while putting down the can of beer down “If there are vampires in this world...”
“...surely you would assume the same for witches too. Right. Not forgetting Zatanna too.” That’s also in line with whatever that she had learned about the creatures living amongst the normal folks, back when she was trying to understand and accept her vampiric nature.
Turns out, all three women were descendents from the witches’ lineage in the Far East, even though they didn’t really explain nor demonstrate any of their witchy powers in front of both of them. Despite Carter challenging them to do so. Maybe it was due to a different environment, or the stress of the past few days. Dilie insisted though that the progress of today seems to be going in accordance to everything that she had forsaw in her dreams, if one were to believe her powers of predicting the future.
More importantly though, Kat and Es had begrudgingly explained how the entire scholarship process was but a front, a ruse to detect and find witches using various tests hidden beneath actual ones and then bring them over to a new country under false pretenses. But what for? Is this place the destination, or will they be transhipped out somewhere else? But why go through all the hassle to do so many complicated things it human trafficking is the only thing in mind? Wouldn’t it be easier to just leave it to the ‘pros’ rather than getting their hands dirty?
Linda did wonder if there was something to it...something that either Vampi, Bruce or Kal might have mentioned previously, but for the life of her despite her amazing memory, she just can’t seem to put a thumb on it.
“This is big though. I mean, truly frontpage news worthy. Even omitting the part about witches, human trafficking in Midvale-Leesburg is stuff that only appears on the Times or the Planet.”
“If I can prove it.”
“If WE can prove it, you mean.” Linda replied hopefully, trying to get her foot into the act to build her own experience as a credible reporter, beyond the usual desk job. There must be a way for them to verify whatever that was highlighted. After all, the three Asian amigoes wouldn’t just travel halfway around the world on a hunch.
There’s of course the way of using the famous insignia on the front of her costume, or...
“Say, do you know if they are running any events of some sort? Maybe we can try to approach the place for a closer look.”
“Not that I know of. Despite the small community, whatever is happening over there, they seem to want to keep things under close wraps, if you know what I mean. What about having your dad going down there to check it out? I’m sure he can think of something up to drop by for a personal visit.” Carter had known about her adoption by the Danvers, and had tried repeatedly to curry some favours or get the latest unofficial news out of the Commissioner of Police, of which Linda had desperately tried to avoid.
This time however... “I can try, but no promises.”
But how, and in what manner?
That was something that continued to linger in Linda’s mind as she did another pass around the Midwest cities area during her night patrol in her true alter-ego. Despite the pockets of unrests and demonstrations due to declining economy which was all within the police’s control, otherwise things seemed calm enough that Supergirl’s mind wandered back to the three girls’ allegation
Human trafficking, yet again. There’s no way to validate nor deny any of those, given that this time it involves a group that doesn’t want to draw attention to itself in the first place. For good reason.
Not that she doesn’t believe them though. That’s why she found herself floating silently overhead the Orphanage.
She had flown overhead and did a slow pass around both Midvale and Leesberg before finally hovering five thousand feet above the place. It has been months since she last left the place. Despite being a dark night with no moon, she still felt self-conscious enough to keep her distance. Training her remarkable baby blues to x-ray the place, tuning her superhearing on that familiar building, she tried to find out more about what is happening inside the place.
But beyond the usual chatter of the movies, fashions and sexual partners. there wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary. No indication whatsover of people being detained against their will, as people seemed to be walking about at their own free will. Some congregating in the large living room having a late night party, a few of the teaching staff were finishing up their work their offices and others were in their rooms.
As normal a school as it can be, just like the advertisement.
They didn’t even bother with that much security beyond the usual alarms around the building and the grounds at night , plus a couple of usual guards at the main gates and the main door.
As Supergirl prepared to move on, her sensitive supervision however picked up an odd shimering around the compound. Curious, she floated closer, and it was when she was barely a couple of inches away that she actually saw a barrier encompassing the entire ground. It was only due to Supergirl’s ability to see across a wide electromagnetic spectrum that she could even detect this anomaly. Dome-like, its slightly bluish glow indicating its unnatural existence within the vicinity.
When Supergirl touched and traced against the surface with her fingers, the barrier just shimmered slightly like when one touches a still lake surface. But when she tried to push in gently against the barrier, to her surprised she found the barrier somehow pushing gently back against her hand, like a watery film on the surface of a bubble. Putting more strength behind it didn’t help however, as the barrier merely curving inwards before it too pushed back with similar force. Almost as if it’s mimicking what she was doing.
Given that she hadn’t heard nor detected anything mechanical of sorts around the compound, it could only point to one thing.
Magic. The one thing that would also corroborate Kat, Es and Dilie’s comments and allegations.
She gave it a few more tries; poking, touching, pushing and even gently kicking against it with her feet but to no avail. She thought better than to put through a heatvision blast, for that would only announce the fact that a super is in sight. What she didn’t realized was that while doing all those efforts against the barrier, it always pulsed a gentle blueish hue wherever parts of her body hit the barrier, spreading quickly unnoticed all over her body. After a few more minutes, Supergirl decided to move on, contented that at least she found something abnormal that warranted further investigation later.
She had barely flown away into the night sky when an unbidden thought flashed through her mind. “Still time enough for the night for another pass up East, and then a little time for some play time...Rao it’s been weeks since I had a truly great orgasm...” While that unbidden thought made her slightly embarrased, Supergirl’s own personal reasoning was that her alien body is still adjusting to all the hormonal changes happening as she matured. Especially after her amazing tryst with Kal back at the Fortress. Nothing had come close to that since. Despite her best efforts to focus on flying down the East coast prior to turning homeward, she couldn’t help but feel hot and tingly all over, despite flying higher and faster upwards into the cold night sky. As it were her left hand had moved downwards under her skirt to stroke herself on her entrance, consciously aware that she’s already drenched between her thighs underneath her short skirt even as her clitoris had also risen up to the occasion...
Just as well that she didn’t notice the two people who had observed her coming and going from the ground. One overweight man in his pajamas stood watch with a pensive look, while the other taller, blonde haired man was leaning against the large maple tree in a squat. Wearing a well-worn dark jacket over a dark shirt he was actually panting slightly, the dark clothing hiding the dampness of sweat all over his body.
It would be another five minutes more before he pulled himself together to look upwards. Contented with his completed task he pulled out the cigarette that he had saved, lit it up by touching the tip with his finger before taking a large puff of smoke. He sighed, and blew out a ring the slowly rose and dissipated into the night sky.
“She gone?” The man didn’t even reply to that obvious question, merely nodding silently as he took another swag from the one-quarter done cigarette. Ever since the Asian women turned up in town, he had lingered about the grounds more frequently to make sure that nothing is amiss. As luck would have it, he was about to leave when he noticed the disturbance on the barrier on the North-East side. Top side. A barrier that was set up to create an illusion that everything happening within the compound remains normal to the casual eye.
Using all his willpower and magic he had felt himself being drained almost completely just to power the entire facade continously. Luckily for him, Supergirl didn’t try harder or longer, for he wasn’t even sure if he could sustain that kind of illusion that much longer. The energy that he had obtained from all those young women contributing to his magicks was now barely enough for him to do that many simple spells for long, let alone something so complex.
But hopefully that will change very soon, he smiled inwardly. He silently congratulated himself that at least had the foresight to add on a little something to the magic barrier that might lead to certain ‘unnecessary inconveniences’ to his adversary. Even the vaunted Maid of Might.
To the benefit of himself and the place of course.
At least, that’s the plan. The man continued staring into the darkness out front even as Otis Reed rambled on complaining.
“You are paid handsomely to keep us safe from all prying eyes. That includes the miss bluebird too. That was an extremely close call. I was hoping that you would be doing rather than just standing there and doing nothing.”
The man finally turned around with a pained look, and retorted in a thick British accent.“Nothing eh? Did you even realise that without me she would have seen and heard everything that is going on back in that House? I was right where I should be, sustaining this entire illusion of a farce. Yes, it was lucky, but consider that to our benefit for now. Just take the win.” Notwithstanding the fact that he still felt weak. Another draining, another sacrifice, is next on his agenda.
Otis just grunted. Like many typical bosses he can be both haughty, and extremely annoying. “You’re paid to do a job, Marcus, I expect nothing less. Also, whatever you do for the rest of the night, at least try to be more discreet? Because I woudn’t want to eventually take out the trash on your behalf, or with you in it.” With that threat hanging in the air he turned around and walked towards the building, leaving the male witch to mutter a curse under his breath before he threw down the butt and headed outwards towards the gate.