Queen Rach, Crown Prince Zander
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Founded October 19th, 2011
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|October 6th; First Person Narrative of the Investigation|
|Topic Started: Dec 2 2011, 01:25 AM (42 Views)|
|St George||Dec 2 2011, 01:25 AM Post #1|
Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence. - Henri Frederic Amiel
On the 6th of October 2011, almost 400 ethnic Solmese citizens of Malhaven, the majority of them women and children, were killed in an attack on the rural town of Ithmus. The following account is that of Jabe Garellos, the Chief Investigator in the province that the attack occurred in, as told to Malhavok's State News Service. Mr Garellos was not paid for his story, and faces up to 35 years in prison for revealing this information. Of the 3 soldiers Mr Garellos interviews, one committed suicide, another died of his wounds and the third is currently facing extradition to Solm to be tried for attempted genocide.
Outrage, I thought to myself. Anger. Murder. Genocide. Also came to mind.
State-sanctioned? I asked myself as I looked over the reports.
378 dead in an 18 hour orgy of violence. Around 30 heavily armed gunmen attacked a school party to mark to the 125th anniversary of Jack's Landing, the first Solmese settlers to land in Malhavok. Most of the victims were students and their teachers and they died in their dozens in the first few hours, before the gunmen started a deadly game cat-and-mouse with their victims, searching the school and it's grounds, before armed police finally moved in 16 hours after the massacre began. Just 3 of the gunmen survived, all wounded but in stable conditions.
The number of victims was first thought to be around 150, until police checked the school hall and found almost 1,000 people either wounded or dead. The gunmen had herded them in there, and then sprayed the crowds when the police started to move in. A knot in my stomach tightened as I remembered the photographs shown on the news, the walls splattered with blood and bullet holes, windows broken, and pools of blood on the floor. One of the surviving gunmen had been in the Hall, and had tried to hide among the survivors. I would speak to him last.
I sighed to myself as I watched the midday news, loosening my tie and collar as the heat began to hit intolerable levels, as the summer heat waves continued. I had spoken to a few of the ART officers who had ended the attack, and they spoke of how, even days after the fact, they remembered the smell of the bodies that had been sweltering in the heat. One remarked that the smell was an odd combination of sweat, guts, shit and firearms. It was a smell he would likely never forget, he said.
The funerals for the dead had already begun, and the students of Ithmus Secondary School had been given an indefinite time off, whilst the investigation was ongoing. Maybe were still traumatised or injured, with almost three dozen still in hospital. 4 would die between the start my investigation and the end, and a year on, another 7 have committed suicide, bringing the total number of victims to 389, over 300 of them under the age of 18. The youngest victim was just 5 years old, the youngest of an entire family who were wiped out that day.
As I watched Nicarro Marcos vow to punish those responsible, "conspirators and gunmen both", I looked around my office, and at the increased amounts of staff that I had been allocated for this investigation. Departmental rivalries had always existed in the sprawling Malhaven state, but they were, I hoped, being put aside in light of this massacre.
"Investigator Garellos?" I turned as one of the new staff members addressed me. I nodded for the man, dressed in a brand new suit and shoes polished to a shine, to continue. "I am Agent Jaime Forres. I've been assigned to your team from Internal Operations.
I narrowed my eyes at the mention of Department XX. "What interest does Internal Operations have in my investigation?" I asked.
"None, except that this investigation is concluded as expediently as possible. We have the gunmen, your job is to res-"
I looked at him and his resolve seemed to fail. I reflected that if Dept XX had sent this Forres to intimidate me, then they had sent the wrong man. "My job is to investigate this massacre. That means questioning those gunmen that survive. If Internal Operations have a problem with how I run this investigation then they are free to take it up with the Judicial Investigations Guild. Otherwise Department XX will not interfere with this investigation. You are free to stay and work under me, or leave and have Internal Operations send another in your place, but you will not interfere in the integrity of this investigation, myself, my staff and this office. Are we clear?" I finished, looking him straight in the eyes, holding my gaze until he looked away.
Minutes passed, before he finally nodded and said, "I will stay then, if given permission to?"
I quickly nodded back, and gestured to a nearby desk. "Liaise with the cops at the hospital where the gunmen are. I want hourly updates on their condition. And no one is to see them without my permission, doctors included, unless there's an emergency." I watched Forres get to work, then turned to the rest of my team, new and old faces alike.
"All right, we've got a lot of work to do, I want forensics teams either at that school, the gunmen's homes or in the lab at Ithmus central. There's an assload of evidence to document and sort through, so get to work. Your reports go to Colour Sergeant Fionne Karr, kindly donated to the department by the Military Police's Forensics Department." I gestured to a middle-aged woman at the back of the room in military uniform. Fionne was a solid investigator, if a little unimaginative. But I had asked for her because of her legendary organisational skills. In an investigation like this I was going to need all the help I could get.
"There's also a huge number of witness reports to go through. I've asked Station Master Jay Reynolds to organise teams to go through them, follow up any leads and then report back to me. He'll be based out of this office, and all your information goes to him first, before anyone else, we clear?" I looked at the faces of the men and women in the office, from over a dozen different branches of government, seeing them determined as anything.
"Finally, on a personal note, I know some of you are locals, and knew victims of this massacre. I also know that the urge for revenge is strongest at times like this. But the law is the law. These men will hang, I give you my word. Now lets get to work, and let's get the bastards." I finished speaking and nodded, setting my staff to work, and leaving the office.
Now, I thought to myself, I will get answers. I must.
A few hours later...
Hospitals. No matter where you are in the world, every hospital has some similar characteristics. The whitewashed walls. The bleached floors. The tube lighting. And that smell that only hospitals had. I think it's the smell of death. But it could just be the bleach.
This particular hospital currently housed the three most hated men in Malhavok. News of their presence had leaked out, and already police had arrested half a dozen people as they tried to sneak into the secure ward. I ordered the police guard to be trebled and upgraded their status to armed when the last attempted intruder had several grenades and revolver on him.
The crowd outside was sizeable, and had pelted me with questions and comments as I had arrived, most of which were along the lines of 'couldn't you just smother them now?'. I resisted replying, as I knew the pain they felt. It was a pain that I too felt. Even the nurses and doctors on the ward looked like they would rather be elsewhere, and I didn't blame them. "Which of the three is most stable?" I asked the lead physician.
"That would room 3." The elderly man replied. We walked to the main nurses station and he pulled out a chart. "Gave his name as Jiai Lago, then wouldn't say anything else. 5 bullets taken from his chest and ribs, body armour slowed them sufficiently to save his life. We had to take out his right kidney, and he's fighting infection now."
I nodded. "Where did police find him?" I asked.
"He was one of the two taken on the playing fields. Police crept up on him looting bodies, and knocked him out." The Doctor stopped for a minute. "Looting bodies, y'know? As if it was a fucking mugging or something. Shame they hadn't fucking killed the cunt. The other two as well." He paused again. "I'll do my job here, y'know? Get em well if I can, and make sure they're not in too much pain. But I wish I didn't have to. I wish they'd just die quickly."
I nodded, and said, "I'll need an hour with him, then I'll speak to the other man from the field if possible."
"And the third?"
"Him, too. Perhaps one of them will shed some light on just why this happened."
The First Man
As soon as I entered the room I was aware of a steady gaze upon me. This Jiai may have been seriously injured by the ART, but his mind was still there. I moved the lone chair and sat upon it, regarding him as he did the same to me. I guessed he was around 6 foot 4 inches, and well over 200 pounds by his bulk. His chart put his age somewhere between 30 and 50, and I guessed he was a military man gone to stead. I pulled out my notepad and spoke to him.
"You are Jiai Lago, yes?"
The man, nay the murderer nodded.
"You know where you are?"
Again, a nod.
"And what you did 9 days ago on the 6th of October?"
Hesitation, for the first time, before, again, he nodded.
"Why did you do it?"
No answer this time, although a smirk was starting to spread across his face. I wanted very much to smack it off. I took a deep breathe and tried again.
"This... act. What was your motive to do it?"
And again no answer, except this time his smirk spread into a toothy grin that sent a shiver down my spine as he held my gaze, blue blood-shot eyes holding steady. I got up and walked over to the window, looking down towards the crowd some three floors below, both the civilians and the TV and newspeople. It was then I had an idea.
"There is a crowd out there, you know. Maybe two hundred strong." I saw something in the man's eyes now. Before, it had been a cold confidence, but now it was new, the look of caution in someone who knew exactly what they'd done...and could imagine what that crowd wanted to do in turn. "If they rushed the building my men would stop them of course. But they wouldn't shoot at them. Not in a hospital. And in the crush, what's to stop 4 or 5 of the crowd getting through?" I smiled at him, imagining the scene myself. "It's a big hospital," I added quietly, "and they could get here long before we find them."
I moved closer to the bed and leaned over him, fighting the temptation to fulfil the Doctor's earlier wish. It would take but a moment... My hands twitched slightly and I took a step out of range, trying to regain control of myself. "How long would it be before my men came to your rescue? An hour? Two? A day even? There are many who would like you to die slowly." Gone was the smugness. Gone was the smirk, and beads of sweat had begun to drip down his face and into his three-day old stubble.
"We..." He began, "did it for Malhavok."
"Malhav-" My startled reply was cut off by shouts from the corridor, and for a second I wondered if the crowd had actually stormed the Hospital. I looked at Jiai, and a little part of me, deep in the pit of my soul, saw his terrified look, and laughed. I stood, and walked to the door, pausing at the door and turning back towards him.
"I think 4 will get past my men." I will also remember the look on his face when I said that.
I quickly turned my attention to the commotion in the hall way, my heart rate quickening as I saw nurses wheeling a crash cart past the room. I opened the door and followed them, breaking into a run as I saw their destination: the room of one of the gunmen.
I was almost knocked off my feet as I skidded to a stop on the hospital floor and a burly orderly grabbed me by the arm and told me to stop where I was. I watched helpless as the medical team tried to save this man's life, that small part of me that had rejoiced at Jiai's terror in ecstasy as the medical team realised he was beyond saving. The rest of me felt deflated as I realised that just two of my three leads still lived.... and that the first had given me nothing.
The Third Man
Tailin Jal, the chart named him. Murderer, the knot that had grown inside me called him. Child killer, it screamed, my fists clenching. This... man, this monster, had been the one in the hall. He, along with 12 others, had herded hundreds of children into this hall, and when it became clear that the police were attacking had proceeded to kill over 200 of them, injuring hundreds more.
And then he had hid, diving down among the bodies when the police broke in, taking a single bullet to the abdomen when he was identified as one of the gunmen and had gone for his own gun. He was lucky to be alive, I noted, the observation inflaming the knot even more, echoing the thoughts and desires of most of Malhavok, demanding revenge.
I had read about mass murderers, serial rapists and other such scum in the past, both professionally and not, and most, when you looked at them, you could tell were criminals. Oh I know, as officers of the judicial system we aren't supposed to think that way, but... it was a fact of life, and the job. Others, however were n-
"You look in malcontent, Investigator."
Others were like the man who had just interrupted me, Tailin Jal. Jal looked like an everyday, normal person, although he was much fairer skinned than most ethnic Malhaven's, of which is name implied he was. His colouring was almost Solmese, as were his eyes, smaller than most Malhavens. He was of average height and build and yet, he gave off an air of both toughness and respectability. Jal looked like a 'normal' member of society.
And yet he had killed or helped kill almost 400 people, most of them children.
"Who are you?" I asked him, determined to keep my cool around him.
"Of course, my apologies Investigator. I am Tailin Jal, Colour Sergeant in the Malhaven Armed Forces, Department IV." Jal spoke matter of factly, almost as if he had rehearsed what he was going to say. If he were Department IV then he probably had.
"You mean you're former Department IV?" I asked, my plan for how the interview was going to go now in ruins, and the knot had seemed to lessen, replaced with a feeling altogether more insidious. If Department IV were involved... were others?
"Unless something has changed since I was given my orders, and I doubt this," Came the reply, "then no, not former. Although now? We knew we'd be abandoned afterwards." Jal looked resigned to his fate, almost... cheerful, somehow, and this brought the knot back more than ever.
I picked up the folder I had brought with me, and move the bed's attached table so it was in front of him. I took out a photograph and laid it facing down in front of him. He looked at me questioningly, and turned it over, revealing the bloody body of a child. "She was 14 years old. Honour student. Tipped for success. You killed her." Jal was unmoved. "Her name was Tasha Lewis."
I took out another photograph, and again placed it face down. Jal turned it over. "He was 17. About to graduate. Had a job in the capital lined up and everything. You killed him." I looked at the bloody, bullet ridden body in the photo. "His name was Michael Tipton." We did this for some time, repeating the process, me revealing a photograph and giving a biography of each murdered child.
We had got through maybe two dozen when I drew the final photograph, and laid it down on the table. "This, this is a very special photo." I said quietly, "Go on, pick it up." I watched as Jal reached out with a hand, and was sure I saw a tremble there, gone a second later. He slowly picked up the photo, then dropped it a second later, looking away. Gone was the calm, relaxed look he had earlier, in its place a distressed look, sweat starting to gather on his forehead.
I looked down at the photo, and the knot reared up and took over. I grabbed Jal's head, ignoring his grunt as I wrenched him forwards. "Look at them," I growled angrily, "Look at them. Six of them. Father, a teacher, James Kenn, 38. Mother, Karoline Kenn, 36. Four children. Louise, an accomplished swimmer, 14. Kyle, the school's chess champion, 12. Sarah, who had insisted on coming with Mommy and Daddy that day, 9. And Jason, 5, who was supposed to spend the day with his Uncle, but he was busy." I released Jal's head, pushing him backwards hard against the pillows.
I leaned in close to him, and said, "And you killed them."
I gathered the photographs, and went to leave. I was halfway to the door when a voice heavy with emotion said, "Wait... ju-just wait." I turned. "We were ordered to attack that school."
My mind was reeling, but I pressed him for more. "Who gave the order?" Jal hesitated and I almost ran across the room to him. "Who gave the order?" My own voice was low and dangerous, and Jal cried out as I pressed down on his stomach as I spoke.
"Wai- what are you doing? You can't do tha-aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh." He lapsed into sobbing cries as I pressed down again.
"Who gave the order?" I asked again, looking him straight in the eyes, my gaze steady, his panicked and filled with pain. "Who?" I almost shouted, pressing down again.
"Ahhhhhh. Ahhh. Ah. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH." His yells were high pitched, but my men were outside the door, the medical staff dismissed. "OK. OKOKOKOKOKOKOK. I'll tell you. J-j-just stop. Please. AHHH." I pressed down once more, and looked at him.
"I don't know his name. He was a Department man."
Jal looked at me. "XX."
A Week Later
I'm being watched. I know this. Whether it's Department IV or Department XX, someone's watching me.
Well, I've decided to give them something to watch.
I don't whether it was Department XX who closed the investigation, or whether the murderous corruption extends beyond Internal Operations, but when I gave my report to my commanding officer his reply was telling. The man wouldn't even look me in the eyes, although Agent Forres was there, smug smile playing upon his face, as the Chief Inspector told me not to pursue this further.
"These orders come from on high, Investigator Garellos." He said, not even bothering to look up. "Charge the remaining two with their murders and move on. You've done well, we've got the bastards. Case closed."
I began to argue, but was cut off as he repeated himself. "Case closed."
I had been tempted to resign there and then, but instead mustered as much self control as possible, saluted and left. That was 6 days ago, and I had been watched ever since.
I zipped my coat up further, looking around as I locked my home and seeing my ever present tails. They had already broken in twice, locked or not. Not that they had found what they were looking for. My files were gone, and had been since the day before I gave my report.
I walked down the main road, glad to see the traffic on both the road and pavement was light. It wasn't long until I reached my destination, a basement diner below a tailors. I nodded to the owner before proceeding to the back of the room, and through a door.
A man stood, and smiled at me. "Good to see you again, Investigator."
I gestured at the table. "Sit, sit, my friend." I said, doing the same. I drank a sip of water, before opening my coat and pulling out the folders I was carrying. "In these folders, I have the story of your career..."
|St George||Dec 3 2011, 01:25 AM Post #2|
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