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Max_Writer

Superworld: Lost Boy and Dr. Murder's Mayhem Part 2 - Dr. Murder Strikes

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* * *

Everyone met again at the Charlotte Take-Out at 1 p.m.

“You people again!?!” Mrs. Wang said when she saw them.

“We really like the food,” Chillrend said.

“It’s good food,” she admitted.

“It’s good food,” he said.

They took the same booth and they got their orders and their drinks. There were two orders of Mongolian beef for Edward.

“You brought your komodo dragon again?” Mrs. Wang said, looking at Edward. “Good thing we allow pets.”

Absolem’s Riddle told them what happened with the therapists as Magic Man split his plate into two plates full of food and dug in. Chillrend said he thought the best option was for one of them to go to sleep and see if anything was different. He noted Absolem’s Riddle had written something on the glass. Edward asked if Magic Man could put them to sleep but the magician just shrugged.

“Can you put us to sleep?” Chillrend asked.

“Can you?” Magic Man said to him.

“Why did we go to a hypnotist if this guy can put us to sleep?” Chillrend asked.

“Because I don’t trust this guy,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What did he ever do to you?” Chillrend asked.

“What didn’t he do?” she replied. “He’s just not trustworthy.”

“Oh.”

“He sold the beeper for money to some bum on the street!”

“I gave him the beeper when he paid,” Magic Man pointed out. “That seems pretty trustworthy.”

“He’s not serious,” she said.

“Does he get stuff done though?” Chillrend asked.

“He makes things up,” she said. “He … every once in a while he does something useful but he’s usually on drugs and … he doesn’t know how to use a cell phone.”

“Do you not know how to use a cell phone?” Chillrend asked.

“Do you?” Magic Man said to him.

“Yes,” Chillrend said.

“Oh,” Magic Man said. “Me too.”

“He held it upside down to his head,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I call him all the time,” Edward said.

“Yeah, we talk all the time,” Magic Man said. “I was just messing with you.”

“We’re going to have to work together to find out what the dream means,” Chillrend said.

“See what I mean?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Yeah! Together!” Magic Man said.

“He was just messing with us for fun,” she said.

“What?” Magic Man said.

“And also he’s always on drugs,” she said.

“You trust the crocodile, right?” Chillrend said to Magic Man. “And the crocodile trusts you, right?”

“Yeah,” Magic Man said. “This guy’s legit.”

“Put him to sleep,” Chillrend said.

“Put me to sleep,” Edward said.

“He wants to be put to sleep,” Chillrend said. “Put him to sleep.”

“He doesn’t dream!” Magic Man said.

“That’s racist!” Edward said.

“You said it!” Magic Man said. “You said yesterday that you don’t dream. I trusted you!”

“Magic Man, put him to sleep,” Chillrend said.

“Meh,” Magic Man said.

“Magic Man, please put him to sleep,” Chillrend said.

“Meh,” Magic Man said.

“I’ll give you $50,” Chillrend said.

“Of ice money,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I don’t have ice money,” Chillrend said.

“Yeah, well, he doesn’t have real money,” Absolem’s Riddle said. “He gives people fake money! And he takes real money and replaces it with real money.”

“I’ll give you $20 of real money,” Chillrend said to Magic Man.

“Yo, it’s fifty a minute ago,” Magic Man said. “I’m out.”

“But the fifty was fake money he was going to give you,” Tera said.

“Yeah, I’m giving you twenty real money,” Chillrend said.

“I couldn’t trust the fifty, I’m not going to trust the twenty,” Magic Man said.

“How many drugs can you buy with $20,” Chillrend asked.

“How many drugs?” Magic Man said incredulously. “I can get three drugs for $20.”

“I don’t speak perfect English,” Chillrend noted.

“I mean, I can help him get to sleep, but he’ll have to take the suit off,” Magic Man said.

“Does he really?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“Yeah,” Magic Man said.

“Why does he have to take the suit off?” Chillrend said.

“Because the suit regulates too many things,” Magic Man said.

“Are you comfortable with that?” Chillrend asked Edward.

“Maybe not here,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Yeah, it doesn’t have to be here,” Magic Man said.

“Do you trust him?” Chillrend asked Edward.

“I do,” Edward said.

“He trusts you,” Chillrend said. “Okay.”

They discussed where to do it. Magic Man didn’t want them at his place. Chillrend noted they couldn’t do it at his place as he had a girlfriend and a skeleton there. He suggested Tera’s place and Absolem’s Riddle noted that was her place.

They left the restaurant and drove to the high rise where Absolem’s Riddle’s apartment was. She led them up to the apartment and was happy she didn’t see her neighbor in the hallway.

The apartment was large and nice. There was a balcony outside of a pair of sliding glass doors and the living room and dining area were separate from a big kitchen. There were two bedrooms with a bonus room that Absolem’s Riddle used as an office. The furniture was also very nice and there was even a gas fireplace.

Edward took off the suit and sat it on a nearby chair. He lay down on the couch and relaxed. Magic Man sat in the chair near his head and waved his hands over the crocodile, bidding him to sleep, lulling him into a relaxation of being in a warm meadow. He continued to try to relax the crocodile and talk to him quietly. However, Edward didn’t go to sleep. The wizard tried for a half hour.

“Bro, could you relax?” Magic Man said to him at that point.

“I’m not falling asleep,” came out of the suit in Edward’s voice.

“He hadn’t moved in a while,” Magic Man said. “I thought he’d fallen asleep.”

“He’s blinking,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

Magic Man didn’t think he’d be able to put the crocodile under.

“Do you have any medication for sleeping?” Chillrend asked Absolem’s Riddle. “Nyquil?”

“I don’t know what affects …” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“We can find out,” Chillrend said. “He could put his suit back on then. You want some Nyquil? You ever try Nyquil?”

“Huh-uh,” Edward said.

“You want to try Nyquil?” Chillrend said.

“You know, Peeping Pearl has cats, but I don’t know,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What?” Tera said.

“I don’t know if she has animal grade sleeping pills,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Tranquilizers?” Tera asked.

“Yeah, we could give you some tranquilizers!” Chillrend said to Edward.

“Just based on cat ownership?” Magic Man said.

“We can give him a tranquilizer, why not?” Chillrend said. “Is that okay with you? Just put it in your mouth. Or shoot you with it.”

“What?” Edward said.

“I could go to a vet and ask them for some stuff to give my cat to go on a plane,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I’ve got some horse tranquil−” Magic Man started to say but then shut up.

“I just don’t even know if I believe you,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I don’t know if I believe him either,” Chillrend said. “I don’t know if I trust this guy.”

Magic Man took out a prescription bottle of some kind.

“That’s not real,” Chillrend said. “It’s not real. It’s not real.”

“I mean … I can give him one and see if it’s real,” Magic Man said.

“Is it horse tranquilizer or is it some kind of heroin and you’re trying to get him addicted, like you did with those shrooms,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Okay,” Magic Man said. “A) Shrooms are not addictive. B)−”

“You act like you’re addicted to shrooms,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Do I?” Magic Man replied.

“Give him the thing then,” Chillrend said.

“Let him put me to sleep,” Edward said.

“We should let Magic Man take ‘em too,” Chillrend said.

“I’m in,” Magic Man said.

“Take what?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“The horse tranquilizers,” Chillrend said.

“Yeah, but …” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“They’re fine, see?” Magic Man said.

He took one out and tossed it into his mouth.

“Can we get a couple glasses of water,” he said.

“Why would you have horse tranquilizers on you?” Absolem’s Riddle asked. “Why? Why would you?”

“Sometimes you gotta put a croc to sleep,” Magic Man said.

“But I still don’t know what you’re actually putting in him!” she protested.

“Or an elephant if you use two,” Magic Man said. “Open your mouth though.”

“Okay,” Edward said.

Magic Man tossed one of the pills into Edward’s mouth and the crocodile swallowed it easily.

After a short amount of time, Edward relaxed even more and the nictitating membrane closed over his eyes. He started to snore.

“Why did you have horse tranquilizers!?!” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

Magic Man gestured at Edward.

“That’s not what I asked,” she said. “I said why?”

“You never know,” Tera said.

“Why don’t you?” Magic Man asked her.

“What were you going to do with it?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“Batman was always prepared,” Magic Man said. “Why can’t I be?”

* * *

Edward dreamt. He found himself at the bottom of the steps in front of the door. He checked himself and found that he had his suit on. Everything seemed to be working and he found that he even had his rifle on his back. He pushed the button and the doors slid open. He looked at the super science equipment and the cabinet. He moved to the machines on the wall and touched the buttons without actually pushing any of them. They felt very real to the touch. Some were lit and others were not though there were no labels on any of them.

He didn’t like it at all.

He walked over to the frost-covered cabinet and saw there were no words written on it that he could see.

“Who’s there?” a voice said.

He scratched at the frost and found glass underneath.

“Who’s there?” the voice came again.

It seemed to come from inside his head.

He could see a child inside the strange cabinet. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be asleep.

“Who are you?” the voice asked him. “Have you been here before? Have you come to save me?”

“Are you … the kid?” Edward asked. “Who is this?”

“Help me!” the voice said. “Please help me! I don’t know how long I’ve been here! Please help me! I’ve been calling for help for so long!”

“How do I get you out?” Edward said.

“I don’t know,” the voice wailed.

Edward looked on the cabinet and saw that there were several more glowing, unlabeled buttons.

“Is there a button?” Edward said. “Do I click? What−?”

“I don’t know!” the voice said. “I’ve been here so long.”

Edward found the small control panel with several unmarked buttons on it. There was no number pattern or anything. He didn’t see any panels that could be opened. The metal of the device seemed to be one, solid piece. He looked over it and tried to decide what button did what but there was no obvious big red button. It seemed like random old science fiction stuff from some television show.

Edward started to beat on the glass and smashed the hoarfrost off . The glass seemed very solid, however. It didn’t crack or dent under his assault. He took out his laser rifle and used the butt of the weapon to try to break the glass, but the glass remained unscratched.

“You have to help me!” Edward said. “I can’t figure this out!”

“I’m Jimmy!” the voice said. “You’ve got to help me!”

“What’d you say?” Edward said.

“I’m Jimmy!” the voice said.

“Jimmy?”

“It’s Jimmy!”

“Jimmy.”

“Can you help me?”

“I’m trying. How do you …?”

“I don’t know!”

“This glass doesn’t break. The buttons don’t make sense.”

“They’ve had me here forever!”

“That’s a long time.”

“They say it’s for my own good! For the good of the world!”

* * *

Edward suddenly jerked awake. That surprised Magic Man, who expected him to be out for a lot longer than that.

“Did you see our words?” Chillrend asked.

“Huh?” Edward said.

“Did you see our words?” Chillrend asked again.

Edward looked at him like he was crazy.

“He might be hazy for a little bit,” Magic Man said.

“On the frost on the glass,” Absolem’s Riddle said. “Was there any words?”

“No,” Edward said.

“Huh,” Chillrend asked.

“Did anything change?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What’s the kid’s name?” Edward said.

“You learned his name?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Jimmy?” Edward said.

“His name was what?” Chillrend said.

“Jimmy,” Edward said.

“Well, that’s news to me,” Chillrend said.

“He was talking to me while I was there,” Edward said.

“Hm,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Does anybody know a Jimmy?” Chillrend asked.

“Wait, he talks to you?” Tera asked.

“Maybe when it’s a dream, it’s real, but when you’re doing hypnosis, you’re remembering it so you’re not in the dream with him actually,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Then how were we in the hypnosis dream together?” Chillrend asked.

“I need to call and ask,” Absolem’s Riddle said. “If you actually just heard what I said out loud or if you were actually in my dream.”

“Okay,” he said.

“If this dream happens again, you should breathe fire on it and try to break the glass with heat mixed with extreme cold,” Absolem’s Riddle said to Tera.

“Give her a horse tranquilizer,” Chillrend suggested. “It didn’t hurt him and she’s like twice his size.”

“You in, cool kid?” Magic Man asked Tera.

“Don’t get addicted to it,” Chillrend said.

“Maybe,” Tera said.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep him in check, maybe,” Chillrend said.

“They’re not addictive,” Magic Man said.

“I was trying to get the kid out,” Edward said. “He wants to get out. He said they’re keeping him in there for the safety of the world.”

“Is it a trick though?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What if he’s in there for a reason?” Chillrend said.

“Let’s hear him out,” Magic Man said.

“Is this telepathy?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“Or not,” Magic Man said.

“Or is it …?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I have no clue,” Edward said.

“Wait, it’s for the good of the world?” Absolem’s Riddle said. “So should we … we …”

“I don’t know,” Chillrend said.

“I don’t know if that’s true, or they’re just saying that to make him stay,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What if someone’s just playing on the intercom and it’s not actually the kid?” Chillrend said. “And somebody wants him out for a different reason?”

“Well …” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“It didn’t sound like it was coming from any particular place,” Edward said. “It was just like in my head.”

“You didn’t hear it through your ears?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“No,” he replied.

“Or your holes, or whatever you have,” she said.

“Let’s send her in,” Chillrend said, pointing at Tera.

“I could go in,” Tera said. “Do we have any regular sleeping pills?”

Absolem’s Riddle noted that she had some Nyquil. Tera was more interested in using that than horse tranquilizers. She was willing to try by using Nyquil and went to the bathroom where she found a bottle about three quarters full. The expiration date was 2014 and the label said to take two tablespoons. They figured, with Tera’s size, she could take a quarter of the bottle. Absolem’s Riddle decided she would take some Nyquil as well.

They both fell asleep after a short while.

* * *

Tera dreamt about murdering aliens but they kept coming back to life. It was a mix of a good and bad dream and she didn’t like it.

* * *

Absolem’s Riddle also had strange nightmares. Magic Man was doing terrible things and just grinned at her as he did them.

* * *

It was dinnertime when the two of them woke up feeling groggy and dazed. When Chillrend asked how the dreams were, they both noted that they did not have the same dreams at all.

“Does that mean it’s my turn?” Chillrend said.

He took a dose of Nyquil and asked Tera to protect him. He went to sleep after a short while. Meanwhile, the others had some dinner. Absolem’s Riddle made herself over 10 feet tall in the hopes of getting the Nyquil through her system faster.

* * *

Chillrend had some amazing dreams, but the child in the freezer was not among them. He dreamt about conquering lands and expanding his empire. But in a good way.

* * *

Chillrend awoke around 8 p.m. and told them he’d not had the dream.

“All right,” he said to Magic Man. “Your turn.”

“Nah,” Magic Man said. “I’m going to go ahead and stay awake.”

“You don’t want to help?”Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I feel like at least one of us should be somewhat conscious,” Magic Man said.

“Well, it’s been hours since he’s had it,” she said, pointing at Edward.

“I’m fine,” Edward mumbled.

“And it’s been a couple hours for us,” she said. “Can you put yourself to sleep with your magic?”

“I decline,” Magic Man said.

“Why do you hate everything that we try to do!?!” she said.

“Because all of you are messed up!” he said. “Somebody has to be awake here.”

“You’re the one who’s always messed up.”

“Yeah, I’m used to it. You’re not.”

“You’re mush … room man, not Magic Man!”

“Is everybody hearing this? Can we agree that maybe she shouldn’t be making plans right now?”

“It’s accurate.”

“Is it?”

“Yeah!”

Chillrend found that he had about 20 texts from his girlfriend. They grew progressively more frantic over time. He quickly texted back to her about going to the psychiatrist, who learned some things about him. She questioned him about that and he sent her information about it, telling her the truth. She finally texted that she would keep checking up on him.

Chillrend left, heading for home. Magic Man and Edward left as well.

* * *

Magic Man had the dream that night when he went to sleep. However, he didn’t learn much more than they did before. He tried to break open the case and called Jimmy’s name. He tried to push buttons and everything. He thought he had the buttons figured out when he awoke.

* * *

Tera had the dream that night as well but didn’t enter the room. The cold and the terrible scientific equipment were just too much for her. She feared become trapped herself. She sometimes thought she heard his cries for help.

* * *

Edward also had the dream again that night. He was unable to learn anything more from the child.

* * *

Absolem’s Riddle had the dream that night as well. The boy called for help and she called his name.

“Jimmy!” she said.

“Help me!” the boy called.

“Is your name Jimmy?” she said.

“Please help me!” he called. “Yes. Please help me.”

“What’s your last name?” she asked.

“My last name is−” he said.

She woke up.

* * *

On Friday, October 17, 2014, the morning news was terrible. It reported that the night before, during the fundraiser for Thom Tillis at Charlotte Country Club, everyone was murdered. The $1,000 per-plate fundraiser was raided by a group of men who gassed everyone within. No one survived.

The footage from the phone cameras showed the inside of the ballroom of the country club along with a warning of its extreme violence. It showed a man in a long black coat wearing a gasmask and a black, wide-brimmed hat. He held a strange gun in his hand with an unusually wide barrel.

“Greetings to the richest and most powerful in Charlotte,” he said in a German accent. “I regret that this war between the rich and the poor must begin with bloodshed and death, but there is no other way for it to happen, I’m afraid. You will suffer less than those who have toiled for you in the past, than those who have suffered that you might be some of the most powerful men and women in the country, perhaps the world. All the shame for that. Though I take no pleasure in what I am about to do, it must be done, nonetheless. Good-bye.”

He pointed his gun into the room and a trail of gas came out and struck the floor where it expanded. The other men, who also wore gasmasks, hoods, and long coats, flung several gas grenades filled with the same green gas into the room. People panicked and tried to flee. Only a very few were gunned down by the other men or gassed at close range by the first man.

At some point during the carnage, one of the gunmen called out “Doctor Murder.”

The news went on to explain that sometime during the event, the few policemen on the scene were killed by some kind of neurotoxin. A limousine was driving through the front doors of the building and then through the doors to the ballroom while the gunmen entered via the other doors.

There were no survivors.

Thom Tillis, who was running for state senate, was asked to react to the carnage. He noted that the person would be caught and punished for his actions and that he was going to press for more and stronger regulation of exotics, as this was obviously an exotic of some kind.

The money that had been raised during the event and some of the valuables on those attending were reported missing. No one saw the murderers leave the scene as police arrived there only after they had gone.

* * *

“I believe this is more pressing,” Tera said to Absolem’s Riddle after they watched the news that morning.

“Did you dream at all?” Absolem’s Riddle asked her.

“Yeah, but I couldn’t do anything,” Tera said.

“Well, were you able to breathe fire on the casket-thing?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“Didn’t seem to help,” Tera lied.

“So, you did but it didn’t work.”

“Yes.”

“On the casket.”

“Tube.”

“Did it melt the ice or anything?”

“No.”

“Well, it seems like I almost found out something and the dream woke me up, like someone’s monitoring his thoughts and if he gives out too much information. Which is probably why we can’t go up the stairs. Because they know if we go up the stairs, we’ll find out where it is. Because I was asking the kid what his last name was and he was about to tell me what it was and I woke up way faster than I’ve ever woken up from this dream before.”

“I mean, that could be the reason, but … that one seems to be a dead end at the moment, so we should try to catch Dr. Murder.”

They discussed it and talked about getting some gasmasks. Tera paged out, asking if they’d heard of Doctor Murder. “Who?” Chillrend texted back. “We should stop him,” Tera texted. “Yes,” was the response that came back. “Is that his real name?” Edward texted. “Yes,” Chillrend texted.

* * *

Shivers had woken up Chillrend to show him the news on television.

“Wow, that guy’s cool!” Shivers said.

“That guy is not cool!” Chillrend said.

“Oh no!” Shivers said. “Uh - yeah. That guy is not cool! Wait, why not?”

“Because he killed people,” Chillrend said.

“Oh yeah yeah yeah. Killing’s bad.”

“That’s bad now.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s what Facts of Life taught me.”

“What else did Facts of Life teach you?”

“To respect young women. And that song … Unchained Melody.”

“Do you want to come with me to find this guy?”

“Iunno.”

“You’re coming.”

“I figured.”

* * *

There was a knock on the front door of Absolem’s Riddle’s apartment. She looked through the peephole and saw Chillrend in his secret identity. He asked her if she had heard about Dr. Murder and that someone should stop him. She suggested they get gasmasks and he wondered how they would find him. She guessed he would go after more charity events.

They went to an army surplus store and purchased a couple of gasmasks and some rubber gloves to make a third for Edward. They also checked charity events and found the larger events catering to the rich had all been cancelled. All political fundraisers had also been cancelled.

Tera wondered if it might be poor people.

* * *

Edward watched the news report with Bob that morning.

“Man, it must be rough being rich,” Bob said.

“Huh,” Edward said.

“I heard Thom Tillis is a dick though, so …” Bob said.

“Still,” Edward said.

“Yeah, it’s a bad thing, but it could have been worse. Like us. It could have been us.”

Edward’s pager went off. It was a page from Chillrend, asking him to meet with them. He said he was coming and asked where. Chillrend sent back it was the tall lady’s house where he was last night. He called Magic Man to inform him.

* * *

Magic Man’s phone said “Eat it!” as the ringtone. He picked up.

A strange voice said “Magic Man.”

“We’re being summoned!” Edward said. “Time to do some good!”

“Wait, am I getting two different phone calls,” Magic Man said. “Go on.”

“We’re being summoned,” Edward said again. “We’ve got some good to do.”

“Huh,” Magic Man said. “All right.”

“Meet at the−”

“Who’s that other guy?”

“Uh - what?”

“Never mind.”

“Meet at the place we were at last night. That lady’s place. Where we all went to sleep.”

“Damn, I miss the Chinese restaurant. All right.”

“All right. Cool.”

* * *

They met at Absolem’s Riddle’s apartment again.

“How’d you guys sleep, mister crocodile man?” Chillrend asked.

“Mister,” Edward said.

“Mister Crocodile Man,” Chillrend said. “I don’t know. You look like a mister to me. But that’s your choice.”

“That’s because my penis is on the inside,” Edward said.

“I didn’t even know that. That’s … that’s your choice.”

“You mistook me for a miss.”

“I said mister.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“I said mister. I promise I said mister. How are you doing?”

“I’m good. How about you?”

“I’m all right.”

“Nice.”

“This guys killing people so that’s not cool.”

“Yeah, that’s not cool at all.”

“Killing people’s not all right.”

“Yeah, let’s kill him.”

“Wait,” Absolem’s Riddle said. “Killing people is not all right.”

“I just said ‘Killing people is not all right,’ but if it comes to that,” Chillrend said.

“Well, I’m not going to do it,” she said. “We could just capture like …”

“Yeah, that’s cool,” Magic Man said.

“I think it’d be easier than capturing the Gentleman, honestly,” she said.

“It’s cool, but …” Chillrend said.

“We thought the Gentleman would be easy to capture,” Magic Man said.

“No, we didn’t,” Absolem’s Riddle said. “We were hoping, but we never thought that.”

“We must have thought it or we wouldn’t have run at him,” Magic Man said.

“Why is he here?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

Absolem’s Riddle noted they should get gasmasks from an army surplus store and make a custom one for Edward. Edward just shook his head.

“What?” she said.

“I really don’t trust custom gasmasks,” he said.

“I think we need Tinker for that,” Magic Man said.

“No, I mean it’s not custom made,” she said. “We got the mask.”

“Uh-huh,” Edward said nervously.

“And we have this extra rubber,” she said.

“I really don’t …” he said. “If … if breathing in the gas kills me …”

“Do you want to try it out with pepper spray?”

“No! I don’t want to try out the gasmask.”

“Would you rather just go in without a gasmask?”

“I’d rather stay at a distance and shoot him.”

“The gas covers the whole floor, everywhere in the place,” Chillrend said.

“I guess I won’t be in the building,” Edward said.

“Well, how can you shoot him if you’re not?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“Windows,” Edward said.

“What if there are no windows?” she asked.

“Then line him up for me.

“There are no windows. How can I line him up?”

“Oh. Open a door. Knock a wall open or something.”

“Okay, I guess I can do that.”

“There are some people who can’t fight some battles. I’m not putting on a custom gasmask!”

“You should have it just in case,” Chillrend said. “Better safe than sorry.”

“If it comes to it, I’ll be your spotter,” Magic Man said.

“It’s awesome that you thought about the fact that you need one, a custom gasmask,” Edward said.

“So, I know you don’t understand the concept of money, but do you understand the concept of ‘I don’t have enough to pay for this stuff, it’s too expensive,’” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“I have a concept of my life and the mistake, the consequences of this plan failing,” Edward said.

“That’s why I said we could try it out first with other things!” she said.

“Yeah, let’s do the pepper spray idea first,” Chillrend said.

“If it works with pepper spray, who knows?” Edward said. “The gas might be able to seep through what pepper spray might not be able to.”

“It seems to me that there’s also the potential that he’s using a custom gasmask and the gas might get through normal gasmasks,” Magic Man said. “Because some gasses do that.”

“He’s got a point,” Chillrend said.

“You’re thinking too much,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“You think so?” Magic Man said. “Fatal gas!”

Chillrend suggested proper ventilation - just break down the wall and let the gas out. They discussed whether or not Dr. Murder or his men had special gasmasks or not. Chillrend suggested they just anger Dr. Murder, get him to use the gas on them, and get a sample so he could examine it as he was a chemist. Absolem’s Riddle pointed out then he would know they were after him and they would have gas coming at them. Chillrend said they should go to the country club and look for residue. Tera noted if they dealt with him outside, the gas would disperse, though she then realized that not many of them could fly.

They discussed what to do about it with suggestions of studying the bodies and of Chillrend using his lab to examine the gas residue. In the end, they decided to investigate the crime scene. Absolem’s Riddle drove, parking nearby and then teleporting to the actual country club. Tera flew though Chillrend, Magic Man, and Edward rode in her car. They all met at the country club.

Several police officers were on the scene and there was police tape around the building. The entire country club was shut down. There were several police cars in the parking lot, as well as some civilian cars.

Chillrend asked if any of them were with FORCE and Absolem’s Riddle noted they needed a sample of the air filter for the room where it took place. Chillrend wondered if the police already had it. He noted they looked like they had the place under control. Magic Man suddenly turned into Arclight.

“Hey, there’s Arclight!” one of the officers called as they approached. “And some other people!”

“Yeah, I’m some other people,” Chillrend muttered.

“Oh! And GarGirl,” the officer said.

“Yea,” she said sarcastically.

“Arclight, the chief’s been trying to call you,” the policemen said. “You need to get downtown and talk to him.”

“I will get on that as soon as I can, but right now I need to work on this,” Magic Man said.

“No, you need to go talk to the chief,” the officer said. “He’s going nuts.”

“Do you have a phone?” Magic Man asked.

“Yeah?”

“Put me through to him. I don’t have time to be over there.”

The officer dialed the number.

“Yeah, Arclight’s here,” the officer said. “Uh-huh.”

He handed the phone to Magic Man.

“What’s up?” the man said.

“Get your ass down here!” Chief Dean said.

“What?” Magic Man said.

“I need to talk to you about this whole crazy Dr. Murder thing!” Chief Dean said.

“Yeah, I’m on that,” Magic Man said.

“I’ll see you in five minutes,” the chief said and hung up.

He handed the phone back to the officer.

“So, how was it?” Chillrend said.

“Oh, we’re good,” Magic Man said. “I cleared everything up.”

“All right,” Chillrend said. “Well.”

“I’ll check in with him later,” Magic Man said. “And he put me in charge of this operation.”

“What?” the officer replied.

“Do you have any samples from the air filters?” Chillrend asked.

“Did the chief put Arclight in charge of the investigation?” the officer said into his radio.

There was a long pause.

“No,” the reply came back. “Chief wants Arclight down here ASAP.”

“That’s not what he said to me,” Magic Man said. “But we can compromise here. Just let me do what I need to do and I’ll head on over there.”

“No,” the police officer said.

“Why don’t you go ahead and go down to the precinct and send Protean down here?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“How did you get into this classified area?” Magic Man asked her.

She glared at him.

“Yeah, whatever,” he said.

“Bye,” she said.

Arclight flew away apparently.

“So, if I was with FORCE, could I actually help out with these things a lot easier?” Tera asked.

“I don’t know,” the police officer replied.

“Thank you for that information,” she said.

“You’re that Gargirl chick, huh?” the officer said.

“Apparently.”

“Apparently?”

“Well, I didn’t come up with the name Gargirl. They just came up with it. Yeah, if I registered with FORCE I could make my own name, right?”

“I guess. They all have code names. Like um … like um … who the hell are you people?”

“Jumbo Shrimp!” someone yelled out of nowhere. It sounded like Magic Man. “Later Gator!”

“We’re with Arclight,” Chillrend said.

“He would have vouched for us,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Well, he should have vouched for you then,” the officer said.

“Yeah, he’s not very smart,” she said. “We don’t like him very much.”

“Why are you working with him, then?” the officer asked.

“It’s a joke! It’s a joke!”

“What’s a joke?”

“That was the joke.”

“It wasn’t funny.”

“I never said it was! Jeeze!”

Magic Man walked up to them. The officer didn’t seem to recognize him either.

“Hello officer,” he said. “I’m Magic Man. I sent Arclight with a team here to investigate, and it seems you, uh, got him on something else so I just had to show up myself real quick. All we need is a sample from the air filter and it’d help a lot if we could look around.”

“Dr. Orpheus, right?” the officer said. “From that show on TV.”

“Based on me,” Magic Man said. “Long story.”

“Look, until I get orders from the chief, I’m not to let anybody in,” the officer said.

“Can you at least tell us if you got samples from the air filters?” Chillrend asked.

“I don’t do all that investigation stuff,” the officer said. “I’m just here to make sure nobody crosses the line. There might still be some toxins in the building. I’m not allowed to let anybody in. There’s detectives in there, they’re working on it right now.”

“Can you have one of them come out here?” Chillrend asked.

“I’m going to go sign up with FORCE real quick so I can fix this Gargirl thing,” Tera said.

She flew away.

“Why don’t we just go over there then,” Absolem’s Riddle said, pointing a little ways away. “Since they need us to back off apparently.”

“As long as you don’t cross the line, ma’am,” the officer said.

“That’s why I said over there,” she said. “Away from the line.”

“That’s what I said,” the officer said. “As long as you don’t cross the line, I don’t care.”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” she muttered.

“I’m standing right here!” he said. “You’re talking to me like I’m not even here!”

“I wasn’t talking to you! I was talking to them.”

“God damned super heroes think they God damn run the ****ing planet! Thom Tillis is right.”

“That’s not cool,” Chillrend said. “We’re sorry sir.”

“I’m not,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“That’s okay,” the officer said to Chillrend. “Cool armor.”

“I get it,” Magic Man said.

They stepped away from the officer.

“So, why don’t you go get Protean or go be Protean, because he’s with FORCE too?” she said to Magic Man.

“The man has no authority,” Magic Man said. “Arclight’s the only one they care about.”

“You asked if anyone else was on FORCE,” she said.

“For inspiration,” he said. “I mean, I can have Protean walk up there and they’ll say ‘Hey, wait.’ And that’ll be real fun for a couple minutes. You wanna see?”

“I kind of want to see that,” Chillrend said.

She told them her plan to shrink and sneak in to get the fibers from the air filter. Magic Man said he could just walk in. He noted they wouldn’t see anything he didn’t want them to see. Chillrend noted he could be the police chief if he wanted to, and wondered why he wasn’t. When Absolem’s Riddle asked him why he didn’t do that, he noted he didn’t have a police radio. She asked if he could go in invisible and he said he could. He said he was willing to try if he had a gasmask. She handed him hers. Chillrend gave him a test tube to put the sample into.

“Word,” Magic Man said.

He tucked the test tube into his pocket and then put the gasmask on. The mask faded away.

“He’s not going to get it,” Chillrend said.

“I don’t think so,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“I trust him,” Edward said.

“I’m glad one of us does,” Chillrend said.

Protean suddenly walked up to the police officer and asked to be let in but the officer wouldn’t let him across the line either. Protean tried to convince the man but then crumbled back into the ground as they’d seen Protean do before. The word “Duh” appeared in the air behind the police officer’s head.

Magic Man disappeared. He crept across the police line and into the building. He noted where there were and weren’t police officers. There were a few detectives in the main ballroom near the limousine smashed through the doors. The men wore biohazard suits and seemed to be getting samples of the various stains on the floor. Food was still on the plates. There was no sign of any bodies. He looked for a vent with a filter and finally found the air conditioning units outside. They had been taken apart and the filters were, even as he watched, being put in large clear plastic evidence bags that appeared to be completely sealed.

He got to one of the filters while they prepared them and ripped off a little of the fibers in the filter, using his shirt between his fingers and the fibers. He tucked them quickly into the test tube and left the area.

* * *

“Anybody smell that?” Edward said.

As the others were waiting for Magic Man, they suddenly smelled a strange smell in the air around them.

“If this is the gas, I’m running away!” Edward said.

He ran.

“Oh hey, Magic Man’s back,” Chillrend said.

“I’m going for a gasmask!” Absolem’s Riddle said.

Chillrend quickly put his mask on while Absolem’s Riddle vanished as she teleported away to the car to get the spare gasmask that was there.

“There’s a weird smell in the air!” Edward yelled. “Take cover!”

The officer nearby looked around, confused.

Chillrend created his sword in his hand. It appeared to be made of ice. He looked around warily. Then Absolem’s Riddle appeared, wearing a gasmask.

“Can you still smell it?” she called to Edward.

“No!” he called back.

Absolem’s Riddle teleported to him while Chillrend walked over.

“So, it’s not over here?” she asked.

“I don’t smell anything,” Edward said.

Then he caught a whiff of it again.

“I’m starting to get it again,” he said.

“Oh no!” Absolem’s Riddle said. She had been taking off her gasmask but put it back on.

Edward backed away, trying to get away from the smell.

“Magic Man, if that’s you, make yourself visible please,” Chillrend said.

“No,” Magic Man’s voice came out of the thin air.

“You stink,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

They took off their gasmasks and could smell the strange odor that was clinging to the invisible man.

“It’s Magic Man,” Absolem’s Riddle said to Edward.

“All right, Magic Man, let me get the test tube so I can find out what this stuff is,” Chillrend said

He felt something slip into his pocket.

“Thank you,” he said, checking his pocket and finding the sealed test tube. There were some fibers from the air conditioner filter inside. “Is this the real test tube?”

He looked at it carefully.

“This might take me a couple hours,” he said.

Chillrend left with Absolem’s Riddle.

* * *

“Oh, it’s Gargirl,” the officer said when Tera entered the police station.

He informed the chief who eventually met with the girl.

“Where the hell is Arclight?” Chief Dean asked her.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Well, he said he was coming so … where is he?” Chief Dean asked.

“I … don’t hang out with the guy all the time,” she said.

“Jesus Christ. All right.”

He told her about Dr. Murder attacking Thom Tillis’ fundraiser and murdering everybody inside.

“Since Arclight’s not here, and I know you, I’m going to let them know to let you go look in the area,” he said.

“Okay,” she said.

“All right?” he said. “So go.”

“Sure, uh, before I take off though, would it be better if I sign up with FORCE to make it more official that I’m one of the better people?” she asked.

“No.”

“No?”

“Sign up with FORCE on your own time, right now I need you down there checking this out.”

He left. She flew back to the country club and found only Magic Man and Edward there.

“We can go in now,” she said to them. “Where’s the others?”

“Gone,” Magic Man said. “Let’s head back in and look around.”

“Cool,” Edward said.

“Sounds good to me,” Tera said.

“Does anybody want to call that other guy?” Magic Man said. “And just say we can look around if you want to pick up more stuff?”

Tera paged to Chillrend they could go in now. He returned with Absolem’s Riddle. He noted he could probably use more samples in case he messed anything up.

Tera led them to the police line where the officer let them across. As they walked in, Arclight walked by.

“Dumb-ass cops,” he said. “Nobody tells me what to do.”

“Hey, Arclight, you’re supposed to be downtown!” the officer yelled at him.

The illusion of Arclight just walked away without even looking at the man.

They entered the country club building and saw the wrecked limousine. They could smell the odor in the place they had smelled on Magic Man after he had snuck in, though it was stronger. Edward did not like being in there. Chillrend opened a test tube and swung it through the air in the hopes of getting another sample. They also noticed the bullet holes in the walls of the ballroom. There were a few bloodstains. Some markings had been made on the floor in black ink, probably for ballistics and the like.

The detectives on scene all wore biohazard suits but were willing to talk to the heroes. They told them there were almost a hundred people in the room. None of them made it out alive. Apparently Dr. Murder and his people fled afterwards. No one saw the vehicle they left in. When Absolem’s Riddle asked about video, they were told the country club had a lot of privacy issues. It was noted there were not even any video cameras in the ballroom.

When Chillrend asked whose limo it was, the detective told him it was rented and they followed up on that. The person who rented it was a dummy account going back to a person who didn’t exist.

“Whoever this is, is smart and I’m guessing the car they left in was probably rented as well,” the detective said.

“So they crashed in one and left in the other?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“Our guess is that they came in two vehicles,” the officer said. “Left one in the parking lot. Moved everyone into the limo - or maybe just one driver was in the limo - smashed through the doors and the others came through the front doors. We only had two officers on scene for crowd control. We didn’t even think that was going to be necessary. They were both killed. Gas, it looks like. We won’t know until autopsies and forensics come back on that. There were people working in the kitchens. Most of them were actually just tied up and left. They were not affected by the gas, which didn’t seem to get out of the ballroom area.”

“I assume that they weren’t able to recognize anyone?” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“No,” the officer said. “They all had gasmasks on.”

“So, it seems that they don’t target the working people, just the rich people?” Chillrend said. “And the cops that were there?”

“That’s the look of it,” the detective said.

“And there was no blood in the car due to the wreck into the building?” Tera asked.

“No,” the officer said. “I’d guess whoever it was wore a seat belt. Looks like they disabled the airbags too before they came in.”

“Weird,” Edward said.

“Doesn’t take much more than a knife to destroy the airbags,” the detective said.

“Were there not any fibers in the limo?” Chillrend asked.

“We got some fibers from clothing,” the detective said.

“But if it’s rented, it could be from anyone,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“But there’s no DNA if that’s what you’re after,” the detective said.

“That’s what I was asking,” Chillrend said.

The detective noted they were going to impound the limo and go over it with a fine-toothed comb.

“We’re expecting him to make some kind of demands,” the detective said. “I mean, obviously it’s a terrorist organization of some kind. But, so far there’s been nothing.”

He looked them over.

“I’m not sure why you’re not in biohazard suits, but …” he said.

Edward had not entered the ballroom but stood next to the limo. Magic Man was suddenly in a biohazard suit.

“I’ve got a gasmask,” Chillrend said. “I’m good.”

Chillrend got more samples. There was no residue on the floor where the police thought the gas grenades had landed from the henchmen or from Dr. Murder’s weapon. There was also no debris of any kind where they had landed. It was like the explosives had simply consumed themselves.

* * *

Tera went back to Absolem’s Riddle’s apartment and used the computer to sign up with FORCE online. It was noted there was an interview process that had to happen before she would actually be admitted to the organization but she would be contacted.

* * *

It took several hours for Chillrend to break down the residue and identify the toxin. Unfortunately, it was like nothing he’d ever seen before. It was completely different from anything and was a neurotoxin that basically shut down the internal organs and could kill someone in less than half a minute. He didn’t think it could penetrate the gasmasks, he thought it had to be breathed to have any effect, and did not filter through a generic gasmask filter. He guessed the gasmasks should be enough to stop it. He also guessed the men with Dr. Murder had convention gasmasks. He was unsure if it was absorbed by the eyes.

He put out on the pager “Got it.”

* * *

They met Saturday afternoon, October 18, 2014, at Charlotte Take-Out again. Chillrend told them everything he had learned. They talked about holding their breaths but Chillrend warned that it was terribly toxic and even catching a whiff of the stuff in its pure form would hurt, if not kill them.

Absolem’s Riddle suggested to Edward he let her make him the custom gasmask, just in case. Magic Man suggested she outsource that to Tinker. She said that was fine. She asked if he wanted to take it to Tinker and have him measure him and Edward was fine with that. They also talked about getting him some goggles.

She texted Tinker and he texted back to leave him alone as he was trying to fend off aliens and needed to figure out the machine. He noted every time they contacted him, it made him vulnerable. He texted he was turning off his cell phone.

They talked about finding Dr. Murder and Chillrend suggested they wait for him to make an announcement. Absolem’s Riddle noted the last time he didn’t make any kind of announcement until he was killing people. Edward suggested looking up rich-people getting together, but they couldn’t find any that were being advertised online. FOX News was blaming Obama for it and Benghazi was once again brought up by that network.

Absolem’s Riddle suggested they set up some kind of false event for rich people to lure Dr. Murder in. She wanted to work with the police and FORCE to do so. She noted they wouldn’t advertise it very much and Edward suggested they make it very small, like a house party. Magic Man noted the people didn’t have to be local as he could get just about anybody. She suggested a memorial service for the people who died, noting all of their friends would be rich too. Chillrend said Magic Man could be all of them. Edward said they could pretend to be the people working there as they didn’t outright attack the poorer people.

Tera suggested that Chillrend could make an ice sculpture. The man made a small one on the table. Absolem’s Riddle asked if Shivers would be affected by the gas and Chillrend noted the skeleton didn’t breathe, nor did he do anything that required bodily functions. She asked if he was hard to kill, wondering if he got smashed would he be dead. Chillrend didn’t think so, noting he had smashed Shivers several times and he would be all right.

He pulled out a small ball of ice from his pocket and told them that was where Shivers went when not in his skeletal form.

“This is pretty much Shivers, right here,” he said. “I’m not entirely sure what that is but it’s pretty much Shivers.”

The ice glittered in his hand. He put it on the table and Shivers suddenly appeared.

“Sorry Mrs. Wang, he got up there,” Chillrend said. “It wasn’t me.”

Shivers climbed down from the table.

“It’s about time!” Shivers said, looking around. “There are no TVs here.”

“You have a phone,” Chillrend said.

“Do you breathe?” Edward asked.

“What?” Shivers said.

“Do you breathe?” Chillrend asked.

“Iunno,” Shivers said. “I don’t think so.”

“Hold your breath,” Chillrend said.

“I don’t know how,” Shivers said.

“He doesn’t breathe.”

“How do I talk?”

“How do you talk?”

“I don’t know!”

“Magic,” Magic Man said.

“Can you smell the food?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“Yeah, I can smell the food,” Shivers said.

“Every part of that confused me,” Magic Man said.

“If he can smell the food he can breathe,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What’s the food smell like?” Chillrend said.

“But he doesn’t have internal organs,” Tera said.

“I dunno,” Shivers said. “It smells foreign.”

“That’s true, so it wouldn’t matter if he breathed because he doesn’t have internal organs,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“What’s going on here?” Shivers said.

“He’s just a soul in an ice body,” Chillrend said. “I’m pretty sure if I … I have a tube of the neurotoxin.”

He pulled out the test tube and opened it.

“Why would you uncork a tube of neurotoxin in here?” Edward said, backing away from him.

“It’s just residue, it still smells,” Chillrend said. “Shivers, smell this.”

“No,” Shivers said.

“Shivers,” he said. “Shivers, smell this.”

“What?” Shivers said, moving his head back. “Why?”

“I want to see if you can smell it,” Chillrend said.

“You won’t,” Magic Man said.

“It’s some kind of practical joke,” Shivers said, looking around at them.

“No,” Chillrend said.

“I’ve watched plenty of ‘iCarly,’ I know when somebody’s gonna−” Shivers said.

“Pull my finger,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

“No!” Shivers said.

“No, Shivers, this is serious,” Chillrend said. “Remember the people that were dying? And remember dying’s bad? People are gonna die again. More. A lot.”

“Well, there’s some channels that say that’s okay,” Shivers said.

“What channels have you been watching?” Chillrend asked.

“Well, lots on Cartoon Network,”

“Those are not−”

“Religious channels?” Absolem’s Riddle asked.

“I don’t watch much of that because it’s boring,” Shivers said.

“I would die if you didn’t help us … probably,” Chillrend said.

“Wait, what?” Shivers said.

Chillrend explained about Dr. Murder and his deadly gas. He asked Shivers to smell it and the skeleton did so. He said it smelled gross and that seemed to indicate to Chillrend he could breathe. However, he noted Shivers didn’t have lungs or a brain, so he didn’t know how a neurotoxin could affect him. Magic Man pointed out there was nothing for it to target.

“Neuro … what the hell is that?” Shivers said, consulting his phone. “Oh!”

“Get it?” Chillrend said.

“Why you want to do that to me?” Shivers said to him. “There’s pictures and everything!”

“You don’t … have a brain,” Chillrend said.

“Neither did Scarecrow,” Shivers said. “And he was her favorite.”

“He also probably would have been fine with neurotoxins,” Magic Man said.

Shivers was fine with helping out but was nervous about the poison gas.

They discussed the fake memorial service again. They realized they would have to advertise in the newspaper. There was talk of Magic Man making fake money to fund the thing. It would probably be easy to get a venue, but they also realized people might actually show up to the thing if they advertised it in the paper or through television. They might also have people upset they were not invited who were related to the people who died. Absolem’s Riddle noted they could inform the families it was a trap, however that meant a lot of people would know about it being a trap and there was also a chance that information would get out.

Chillrend had another idea: for Magic Man to walk around looking like a rich guy with moneybags in his hands and gloating about how rich he was.

Tera noted it was risky but they could just set up the memorial service without warning people and having more police there. Magic Man suggested hiding gasmasks under everyone seats. When Tera suggested having everyone bring gasmasks, Magic Man suggested they have a gasmask party for rich people. When the question of money came up, Chillrend suggested making the police pay for it. Edward noted there would probably be rewards offered for the murders that took place.

“We should take advantage of those rewards too,” Chillrend said.

“Yeah right, I’m broke!” Edward said.

“No kidding,” Absolem’s Riddle said.

They discussed getting gasmasks or getting the police to finance the fake service. Edward suggested they make a very fake event that let Dr. Murder know that they were after him. He also suggested straight-up challenging him. Magic Man suggested a small charity dinner for $20,000 a plate. They discussed only getting a few gasmasks for the small gathering.

“Can’t you make money and give it to the gasmasks store?” Chillrend asked Magic Man.

“It’s illegal,” Magic Man said.

“It’s for the greater good,” Chillrend said.

Edward suggested then giving the gasmasks back and taking back his fake money. When Magic Man seemed hesitant, they noted he had broken the law in the past.

“There are things you can do and things you don’t do,” he said. “Things you do are like little white crimes, like buying drugs for yourself. Things you don’t do are literal counterfeiting, essential theft, you know, those are crimes. Those hurt other people.”

“Didn’t you give fake bills before?” Chillrend asked.

“Drug dealers,” Magic Man said. “My douche bag landlord.”

“What if the bad guy is in charge of the gasmask store?” Chillrend asked.

“I can’t know that,” Magic Man said.

“A bad guy?” Chillrend asked.

“He’s got kids to feed,” Magic Man said. “They might not be evil. If he doesn’t have kids to feed, he doesn’t have any reason to run the store. Think about it.”

“That’s what orphanages are for,” Edward said.

Chillrend noted he could front the bill. Tera said they would get him the money back. All it would take was for one person to come.

They discussed setting up a fake charity event to set up a memorial for the victims of the crime. They figured it would be a $10,000 a plate charity. Magic Man would make a bunch of fake illusionary guests. They thought they should set it for a week from the day of the murders. They tried to figure out who to use for the spokesman of the fake memorial fundraiser. They thought about claiming Zach Galifianiakis was doing it, as he lived in the area. They also thought about using Thom Tillis, or perhaps even getting his permission or his support.

They planned to put ads in the paper, which would cost more money. Tera suggested they go through the police chief to talk to Thom Tillis. Chillrend made the call but he was unable to get through so Tera said she’d go to the police station to talk to Chief Dean. Chillrend went with her.

Tera finally got hold of Chief Dean and he met with her in one of the interrogation rooms.

“What?” he said.

“So, chief, we have an idea to draw out Dr. Murder and his gang by hosting a memorial event for the people that died at the previous event,” Tera said.

“A fake memorial event,” Chillrend said. “So that nobody actually dies, except maybe one of us, but we don’t know yet.”

“One less of us you have to worry about,” Tera said.

“Okay,” Chief Dean said, rubbing his eyes with his hand.

“He likes this idea,” Chillrend said to Tera. “He likes this idea.”

“We just need … it would seem more legitimate if Thom Tillis was the one to host this event,” Tera said.

“Endorse it,” Chillrend said. “Because he doesn’t like us.”

“No, Thom Tillis has been railing against exotics,” Chief Dean said.

“Exactly, so …” Chillrend said.

“So …” Chief Dean said.

“So, it would be less likely−” Chillrend started to say.

“So, why would he do a sudden flip flop?” Chief Dean asked.

“No, he’s hosting a charity event for the people that died at the country club,” Chillrend said.

“But how are you going to get him to work with you on this?” Chief Dean asked.

“Well, he won’t,” Tera said. “He’ll be working with you.”

“No,” Chief Dean said. “No, he won’t.”

“And then we’ll be there when they attack,” Tera said.

“No,” Chief Dean said. “It’s a terrible plan. Look, we think that Dr. Murder is also connected with the murders at Chez Rouge about a month ago.”

“Didn’t they also die from gas?” Tera asked.

“The information we put out was that it was a gas leak,” Chief Dean said. “But there was a lot more to it than that, we didn’t want to panic the public. In this case, they came in, gassed everybody, and left. There was no speech-making, we didn’t have any video of it, someone we interviewed nearby thought they saw some people enter who looked weird, but … that was all they could tell us. So, it’s likely that the Chez Rouge murders and the Tillis thing are connected.”

“Well …” Chillrend said.

“That was back in September,” Chief Dean said.

“What was this place?” Chillrend asked.

“Chez Rouge is downtown,” Chief Dean said. “A restaurant, a ritzy restaurant. It was very expensive. A very expensive place. People seemed to have died quietly without a fuss. There was no sign of pain or a struggle. A lot of times nerve gas will mess you up a lot worse than that. We were still investigating it when this happened. But the deaths are similar enough that we’re thinking it was the same people. That was over a month ago. Whoever this ‘Dr. Murder’ is, he’s taking his time, he’s obviously very savvy.”

“Maybe it takes that long to make the nerve gas,” Chillrend said.

“I have no idea,” Chief Dean said. He looked at Tera. “You find him and bring him in, you’ll be off my shit list. For now.”

“I brought in the Gentleman too,” Tera said.

“Uh-huh,” Chief Dean said. “And about murdered his kid. Well done.”

“You’re welcome,” Tera said.

“Yeah, I’m not going to get involved in getting Thom Tillis involved in this because we get a Senate Candidate killed …” he said.

He noted the police wouldn’t be involved in setting up a fake memorial service. When Chillrend asked if he had any ideas to draw Dr. Murder out, he said “No.”

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