Jump to content

[Fiction] Courtesy Call


Recommended Posts

Preston was back on the job, cleaning up the little messes that had cropped up during his absence and reassuring the proper people that everything was in order, or at least going the way they wanted.

It had been comforting to return to the city untarnished. He could feel it in the pulse of the city. Their nova had done good. Their nova had stood side to side with America’s allies and kept the monsters in their cage … or so the myth was proposed. He knew that he hadn’t kept anyone contained, not really. Telling people the truth wouldn’t do any good, though. They were scared and they wanted to believe right now. They wanted a sense of security from rampaging novas and Nova Enforcement was that illusion.

He was up on the roof taking a quick few drags on a new and improved non-cancer stick. It was totally dissatisfying but it was the poison he was allowed. He felt the presence an over a minute before the stranger appeared. He recognized the man from a Directive briefing as a non-affiliated bit player and he had a feeling this man was coming to complicate his day. Whatever this nova wanted, he needed to take better care of himself. Climbing up the damn fire escape was difficult for him, indicating to Preston someone far to set in his ways to put aside nearly a half-century of self-abusive behavior. That alone was a good enough reason to meet him.

Preston called down to security and told them to cancel the alert. The emergency systems were as monitored as every other access point in the building and it wasn’t like this guy wanted a general audience this time around. After the call, Preston walked over to the wall and took a deep drag on his faux-cigarette. He looked over at the figure chugging his way up the last ten feet of the ladder.

“Hello, Mr. Grey, and to what do I owe this pleasure?”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I gotta learn how fly. I've got someone I need to meet on top of a goddamn building and if I was like any other nova I'd just whoosh up into the air and land in all of my splendor. Instead I'm stuck schlepping up stairs and ladders that the good city of Boston has neglected to rust-proof, all because some people have a bee up their ass about little things like "smoking" and "public interest" and "conspiracy to commit criminal acts." Good thing I wear a black suit, otherwise the rust flakes from this damn ladder would be a problem.

I hear his greeting just as I'm close to the top and my nice reward Lucky, "Oh, you know how it is, Detective, you can't do anything in this world without pissing in someone's Wheaties." Once I reach the roof I swing my leg over with a satisfied exhale. I push my fedora back while yanking out my victory cancer stick, trying to forget exactly what this guy can do. Goddamn seers, he's probably had this conversation in his head fifty times yet he'll still walk through it as if it was all new. I swear it must be boring to live like that. Or really fucking disturbing. Shit, it must be disturbing: the man isn't even smoking real cigarettes.

One metallic flick later and I'm back in nicotine heaven, surrounded by a cloud of my favorite scent, "To be more accurate, I'm here because I'm about to do some things that might indirectly affect your personal life in a negative fashion." I pause for a bit, considering his choice of vices, and offer the pack of Luckies to the detective, "If you want a real one I've got plenty."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Preston holds out his hand for the tiny death. With his other hand, he starts counting off some points, as if a recounting a conversation he has had hundreds of times before.

"One; in scientific terms, its a premonative sense, not a precognative one ... in essence I see about 3 seconds ahead in time all the time."

He takes his first puff then revels in the nicatine hit.

"Two; its not boring. I do not have this conversations alone, but thousands of variations of this conversation with the myriad actions and reactions played out ... but the real conversation, this one, is the one that matters. Imagine picking threads to weave into a cloth if it helps."

"Three; people do not come to me when their happy, or for me to make them happy. Impacting my life in a negative fashion is par for the course. I am used to it. No need to feel guilty."

"Four; I am not a telepath. These are all standard things that come up in any conversation I have with people at some point. I like to get them out of the way to save on the internal dialouge."

"Oh yeah. Thanks for the hit. Now, what can I do you for?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christ, and I thought I was jaded. Ah well, I suppose if I had a public image as a nova then I'm sure I'd be constantly bugged with stupid shit. I toss him the remaining pack, "Keep it, I don't want to be the only fossil smoking this stuff." Smoke clouds around my head as I grin with the Lucky stuck in the corner of my mouth, "Shit, I can't believe I'm talking to another person who can remember watching Howdy Doody." I scan the Boston skyline, catching the occasional glimpse of the flying cars and novas of this brave new world, and pull out my flask, "At least that hubbub the wonders of modern technology finally caught up with the old hype."

I shake of my impromptu reminiscing and turn back to Preston, "So, back to why I'm here. My client and myself have... plans for the Church of Michael Archangel." I take a long drag and give it a quick ash over the side of the building, "I know about your family's relationship with the Church and I can guarantee it's going to touch your life.

"Your ex, for example," I say while unscrewing the worn flask, "won't be too happy about the results. I don't know if she'll make your life any worse about it, but if she's anything like my ex then your phone won't stop ringing." Smoke puffs out from my mouth as I stifle a cynical laugh, "Hell, if it was my ex it'd be her lawyer calling me and I'd have an even bigger mountain of legal bills and alimony."

I take another drag from the Lucky before taking it out of my mouth, the flask primed and ready to go in my other hand, "Your son, on the other hand, is someone I intend to actively seek out. He's got information and knowledge I can't find anywhere else." The flask gets halfway to my lips before I consider the next step, "I don't expect you to grease the wheels with him or anything like that. I just wanted you to know I was about to tread on delicate ground with your close family."

The scotch smells and tastes wonderful, like always, solving my parched throat and discontent over climbing ladders. "I'd offer you some but I figure you're on duty any ways," I say between my drink and a long drag off my Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"It has to be an intoxicant for it to be illegal for me to take while on duty."

He takes out his own flask and takes a pull. Offering it to Sam,

"Real Irish Whiskey. I have connections."

Taking the flask back,

"Man, I miss getting plastered. I did not do it that often, but the feeling that I could if I wanted was still there. No more."

He takes another pull then continues,

"Anyway, my son's choices are his own and not something for me to agree, or disagree with. If you can peek his interest, good for you. If it costs him ... well then they are his risks to take. I am prepared for that eventuality ... as well as any father can be."

"My wife ... my ex-wife will not be a problem for me."

"As for the rest, the Church has made some powerful political enemies in this town and they are not welcome. I can protect myself here well enough. I can not root them out, but I can keep them honest."

Preston paces back and forth for a few seconds.

"Why did you come here?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"A belt of Irish Whisky," I shrug, "sure, why not." The man has good taste, I'll say that about him.

I let him run through his thoughts while I nurse my vices. Always a detective, this one, probing into everything presented before him. Not that I don't do the same but somehow it always feels like a game of wits when I deal with someone else in this line of business. Still, it could be worse: we could be speaking sub rosa. And on the upside he doesn't seem pissed yet.

Smoke flares around me again as exhale, "Why? Because it'd be rude of me to fuck around with your private life without giving you the courtesy of letting you know first, especially considering we're essentially on the same side." I lean back a bit on the ledge, getting about as comfortable as I can get on brick and mortar, "And I thought it'd be nice to talk to another dinosaur who appreciates some of the old things. Plus you can relate a bit to being shit out of luck. In fact, I don't even know dick, private or police, who've had it easy."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Preston nods.

"A bridge then. I can see that. You know the game and how it is played. You do something illegal and I had best never find out about it, or your pardon with the President had better be in order."

Preston lets a grimacing grin escape at the last one.

"Well, you are smart enough to know that you might really need me at some time in the future and I get the dinosaur comment. Our kind of gratification does not come easy, or cheap."

Preston's countance become grim and an eerie light shines through his eyes.

"You are going to be paying for this one in blood and not all of it yours."

That wasn't even a question, Grey realized, but a statement of fact.

"You feel bad about it because you like to think of yourself alone and that means you always getting to pay the bill alone. No one but you if you fuck up."

Preston gives Grey a penetrating look.

"It can suck to be smart enough to know there is no way you can do this alone ... not if you want to make a difference. You find yourself at that crossroads ... doing what you have been doing, or trying to make a real difference. Be careful on it, Grey. This is only the first choice ... in what you will find yourself willing to pay and who you are willing to see pay it. I mean it. You are sending other people through that door instead of yourself. That changes people, I know."

"No, not a vision, but an observation. We still make our own fates. Do not take the expediencies that allow you to forget that."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great, I knew something had to go sour; he's a preacher. The type that keeps his nose out of places he isn't welcome and doesn't violate his code, but still a preacher. "Legality has never been a problem for me, everything I do fits within the law." I snort with amusement, smoke spilling from my nose, "The Boat School made sure of that."

I can't fault him for letting his convictions fuel him, being a cop is a thankless job. It does give people, including him, a power trip that makes them king of their worlds. Normally that would rub me the wrong way but I'm not gonna yank his chain; I wasn't lying when I told him we're basically on the same side. Basically.

With a crisp and practiced motion, I tug my fedora into the familiar combination cap position on my brow and I let a sly grin slip on my face, "I know all about sending and leading people into dark places, detective, I won't let anything happen to your boy. It's not like I'm leading a bunch of kids out into the bush." I take a final drag off of my Lucky, sucking every last bit of nicotine I can from it, and shrug, "And I don't believe in that predestination shit. Even if it was true it'd be pointless to just sit on my ass and let things happen. Might as well keep living as if I can change the world.

"Any ideas on where your boy is? I could track him down easily enough but since I've got you right here..."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Preston pulls out his phone and hits a speed-dial. He waits for a second then speaks into it.

"Is he in surgery? No. Get him."

"Hello son. Business. Someone wants to talk to you."

Preston looks at Grey.

"Something has to be done", he says and hands Grey the phone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, this guy really doesn't fuck around.

I give Preston a quick shrug, "And someone has to do it." I stand up with a slow stretch (I might be a nova but I'm still over sixty), cross the space between him and myself, and take the phone with my open hand, "Doctor Preston, I presume?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...