Hemelshot takes out his cell phone (or equivalent cheap, disposable communicator) and makes a call. "XSWAT Headquarters? This is Sergeant Hemelshot 9th squad. Nonsecure identification Two-Foxtrot-Uniform-Uniform-Papa-Bravo-Alpha-Delta. Confirm gray." A short pause, then he continues, "I have a situation Charlie-One, hot intel. Situation must remain cold and dark. Request forensics, investigation and medical with specialty in cryostasis. Location India 12 by orange, north corner. Jesus guides with yellow. I will remain on the line."
Those of you who have the Combat Codes language know this to be a cleanup situation (Entity encountered and dealt with, now we need forensics and cleanup) requiring immediate response, involving highly important information. There is also a need to keep the situation low-key and out of the media. Location is Iota sector, map square 12, the park, and Officer Carpenter will be holding a yellow light.
Still holding the phone to his ear, Hemelshot looks at Carpenter. "Would you go topside and guide folks down here?" He fishes into his fanny pack and pulls out a chem-stick. He activates it and it begins to emit a bright yellow light, and he offers it to Carpenter. "Oh, and bring our badges & communicators, too."
"On it," Carpenter replies. On the way out, he would give Dr. Harmon the warning that the clinic will be swarming with cops and offer her his phone number in case she needs help to set the clinic back up.
Nodding his thanks, Hemelshot turns to Tyger and continues. "Tyger, I'd like you to head next door and let them know about the upcoming police presence. It'll concentrate in here, but the cleanup and forensics teams will need access out the back and into the alley. I told Leo I'd delay the official investigation until noon, but there'll be people asking questions all night long so if they've got anything we don't need to see—now's the time to start putting it away. And find out if they've got anything in the way of security video, and if we can get segments of it with pictures of Kamal, his bodyguards and anyone else with whom Kamal associated."
Tyger shot Hemelshot a dark look but nodded. "Alright... fine." He shoved his hands into the pockets of his coat and turned to go back into Tattletailz. He wasn't happy about how things had gone down just now, but what could he do about it? Tyger stopped after a couple of steps and turned to look over his shoulder. "It may not matter much to you, but this was very important to me, and it's all going down shit creek. I'm going to need a lot of time to get this whole mess sorted out with Leo... and I intend on taking that time when we're done here." At that, he stepped off to the strip club to pass along the information to the very large and very helpful Bouncer first, and then he would seek out Ms. Red and inform her of the situation.
Hemelshot returns Tyger's stare. "I understand that Leo, and you, want to keep the police from raiding this place and hassling everyone. Notice I haven't requested any regular police—only XSWAT? We're here to shut down Entity activity. That's the XSWAT mandate and the reason we came down here in the first place." He looks meaningfully at Tyger. "Isn't it?"
Tyger stopped and looked at Hemelshot, a bit of a frown etching itself onto his features. This was not his usual scowl of anger or general irritation that he usually felt towards Hemelshot. "Dammit why do you have to be right all the time?" There was a hint of mirth in Tyger's voice, but it was barely perceptible at best.
With a wry twinkle in his eye, Hemelshot responds, "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment." He grins. "I've had a lot of experience."
He slumps a bit, looks down and tiredly continues, "Look. We'll be careful. You can blame me when you explain to Leo—say you did your damnedest and it's out of your hands. When he calms down he'll understand you're not to blame." A pause, and he looks up again. "And how did everything go to shit? We got four of his people back, the enclave down here won't get turned upside down and we're looking at some solid leads in both the organlegging and entity creation cases. You're bitching because I'm not keeping it secret?" He shrugs. "Your call. And to save you from being the bearer of bad news I'll go spread the word."
Standing with a grunt he heads to the door. "You go talk with Leo. Don't miss your community service on Monday."
It took him a minute to fully realize what Hemelshot had initiated as well as what he intended. As he approached, Tyger placed his hand onto Hemelshot's shoulder to stop him "If you're going to make it my call, at least wait until I've bloody decided what I'm gonna do." Tyger said sternly. He took a deep breath himself and exhaled slowly. "Look, let me deal with this. You have enough shit to worry about and you don't need this added onto whatever it is that you're doing right now. You don't trust me to shit without a baby-sitter, and I've long ago decided that no matter what I say or do is gonna change that. But a least give me the chance to do what you bloody well told me to do."
Tyger stepped from Hemelshot then to go towards the club once more. "Relax Sarge. You can trust me to do the right thing when it really matters. You go get those spooks organized, or whatever it is you were gonna do. Let me deal with this and with Leo. Alright?"
Hemelshot pauses. "You're only half right—I don't really trust what you say. Talk is cheap and it's actions that count. That's what'll make me trust you, and tonight you did good—I saw the leg wound." He nods slowly. "And I'll give you at least some freedom to go talk with folks across the street. Just remember this is bigger than us—we've got a drug that can turn people into Entities. We need to track down *every possible lead*, and that means talking to the people that live here—that could well have seen the people Kamal worked with. Know their names, what they look like, where they go. We *need* to talk with everyone here, and I *know* damn well we need it to happen low-key in order to get them to talk with us at all." He pulls the reception desk chair to the clinic door and sits down.
"I'll keep things under control on this end. You go do what you can to keep things calm over there."
Tyger offered a slight nod. "Alright." He did not get the exact answer or reply that he was hoping for, but at least he got something. As he moved to leave the Clinic, Tyger stopped with one hand on the door. "Sarge." He began, not turning around to face him. "That drug that that punk took just before he turned into an Entity... I've seen something like it before. In fact... I'm willing to bet my badge that it's the same Goddamn thing except that the guy I saw taking it didn't turn into a monster."
Hemelshot looks up sharply. "You've got my attention. Talk if it's something we need to track down tonight, and if it's not time-sensitive, make sure it's in your report—and send a hardcopy to Burton. He needs to know and his e-mail isn't all that reliable."
Tyger looked over his shoulder at Hemelshot. "Thursday night. That smuggling ring that I didn't actually see or do anything about, but a friend told me about. One of the guys there was shooting himself up with the same type of shit. If there's a body, it may or may not still be there. It's been almost two weeks, I'm sure that anything that was there has been cleaned up by now." Tyger looked to the door. "Yeah, you'll get your report Sarge... but I will need some help writing it. After all... I wasn't there. Remember?"
With a wry smile, Hemelshot replies, "I meant in your report for tonight—you can mention a similarity to a disturbance you heard about a while back. It's waited this long and another few days probably won't hurt, so if you want to check it out personally we can go on Monday. Other than that you can give me the location and I'll turn it in to HQ for someone else to check out over the weekend."
With a wave of his hand, Hemelshot shoos Tyger out the door. "So go already—give Lady Red and whoever else the word, then get yourself to the hospital. That knife got you a good one and as much good as Carpenter's laying on of hands does, that was one hell of a gout coming from your chest." He half-smiles and gives a pointed nod. "And yes, that's an order—get yourself into a hospital tonight, and this time *stay* there until *they* discharge *you*."
Tyger nodded. "Alright... alright... I'm going." He pulled the door open and before he closed it, he gave Hemelshot a smirk. "You look like ass yourself Sarge. I sure as hell hope that you intend on following me there, because I'd sure as hell hate to have to drag you in after me."
Tyger would pull the door closed before Hemelshot could reply. Was he trying to get the last word in? Not really. But he was concerned about Hemelshot's condition. Sure, the guy was rugged and could take one hell of a hit, but he was sure that the Sergeant was hurting a lot more than he let on... besides, misery loves company.
Hemelshot starts a retort, then lets it die on his lips as Tyger vanishes out the doorway. He sighs, and attempts to settle more comfortably into the chair. It was going to be a long night.
Tyger pulled himself up the stairs to the Subway slowly and with quite a pained expression. Damn, those stairs didn't seem that bad going down them earlier, but then again, he didn't have a ginormus hole in his chest either. Tyger was angry. No, no Tyger was beyond angry, he was murderous. He needed someone to talk to, someone that he could vent his rage to before he went and did something stupid.
Standing next to the car they had taken to get here, Tyger saw Carpenter standing by, slightly illuminated by a yellow chem-light. Tyger shook his head slightly to himself. Dammit, why was he always popping in and out like some dammed ninja? With a mental shrug, Tyger made his way over to Carpenter, looking very much as if he had been given a thorough beat-down. It wasn't just the massive chest wound he had just suffered recently. He had taken more punishment than that and walked away from it. Besides, Tyger was built tough and was quite resilient despite his physical appearance.
"Nate... " Tyger murmured. "... I need your help. I need you to stop me from doing something really fucking stupid." Tyger's voice was strained, both from the pain in his chest and what had recently happened in the TattleTailz club.
"I'll help any way I can, Tyger. What's the matter?" Looking around, Carpenter spied a couple of crates that looked sturdy enough to act as seating. He gestured to Tyger to join him as he sank down on one of them.
Tyger sank wearily down upon one of the crates. a combination of his burden and his injuries taking their toll on his body. "I.... I messed up Nate... badly. Everyone was depending on me... to keep things quiet and unofficial... and i failed. i let Leo down and everyone else. You may think that we've got friends down there Nate... we don't..."
He took a long, deep breath, exhaling slowly. as he tried to compose his thoughts, he fished out his cigarettes and lighter. when he took a drag from the cigarette, his entire body was accosted by pain instead of the soothing sensation that he was used to. as he coughed painfully, smoke from his recent dose oozed from his mouth and the open wound in his chest. "well fuck me running..." he grumbled. the pain was short lived- but he obviously learned his lesson that it wasn't a good idea to smoke with an open chest-wound like what he had right now. as he crushed the useless cigarette beneath his foot he sighed.
"Tyger, relax. Tell me what happened."
"Sarge had me go tell Madame Red what's up. I told her what was going to happen, and that I was trying to give her enough warning so she and her people wouldn't get into trouble. I told her that the spooks were just after what went down in the back rooms, nothing else." Tyger shook his head slowly. "If you thought the lady at the free clinic was less than happy, I would have to say that Madame Red was damn near murderous in comparison."
"Anyway, everyone down there was depending on me... the highest profile Clade in all of Angelus... whether they new it or not... to keep things calm and quiet. I know I don't have much of a reputation for doing the right thing, but at least I try dammit!" Tyger took another long, pained inhale of the night air, the breath that he took wheezed as he inhaled and slowly exhaled. "When Madame Red told me how badly I fucked up... I really wanted to go into the Clinic and put a pullet through his head. I wanted to scatter his brain all over that office that he was sitting all prim and pretty in. I wanted to waste him and call the spooks up and tell them to call it all off. that it was a fluke and just go on as if nothing happened."
He looked down at his hands, which were, oddly enough shaking. Despite the veritable Hell that Tyger had been through with the trial several weeks ago, he was neither this distraught or this lost. "I didn't do it though. I thought it. I thought about going in there and giving him a piece of my mind too. But I didn't trust myself... I just walked on to do like i was told... like the 'good little trooper' i am". The last part was laced with such sarcasm so thick that one could never hope to cut through it all with a plasma torch.
"Am I that much of a failure Nate? Is it because I'm a fucking Clade? Is it because I was born in a jar in some unknown lab and raised by Pirates that I can't do anything right? do I fuck up because I don't try? Or is it because I do try?"
Carpenter held up a hand to forestall any more of Tyger's ranting. "Hold on. Why would Madame Red say you... messed things up? We stopped someone from preying on her employees and other innocents in the area. We've discovered evidence of illegal organ-harvesting and other... more unsavory actions. We're taking steps to make use of that evidence while minimizing the disruption to these people's lives as much as possible."
"Tyger, Dr. Kamang's evil had to be stopped and the hidden lab will hopefully provide us with clues on who was behind him and, possibly, the drugs those wretches in the warehouse were using."
"Tyger, you did what needed to be done. You've fulfilled your pledge to Leo in finding what happened to his missing people, you've helped uncover a new threat against this city and protect its citizens, including the people living down here, and you've stayed true to your duty as a law officer."
"Did it occur to you that Madame Red may not be entirely blameless in this? After all, she seemed to have some sort of business agreement with Kamang, letting him use one of the rooms. Those two women he had with him were employees of her establishment; I sincerely doubt they would have contracted to be there with him without her knowledge, if not her consent."
"It may be she's realized the precarious position she is now, being associated with someone now revealed to be a danger to the people she's supposed to be supporting. She may see you as an available patsy to redirect attention to. Someone to pin the blame on, who is so willing to accept it without question."
"You haven't screwed up, Tyger, and anyone saying otherwise is wrong."
Tyger sighed softly, trying to calm himself down. he withdrew another cigarette, totally forgetting the mistake he had just made, of course this would be remembered after the first drag and the pain hit him like a freight train. with an angry curse, he crushed out the cigarette, his hands turning into tight fists. "i promised Leo that this whole dammed thing would stay undercover. it would NOT be official. Leo and those who were working for him were depending on me to do that... and i failed."
"Once Entities became a part of this, there was no way XSWAT could not be involved. As I said before, Hemelshot's trying to keep this as discreet as possible, not hard considering the powers-that-be being so leery about making the Entity threat a public matter."
"If you're so willing to take the blame for something, Tyger, the only thing I can see is making your promise to Leo unconditional. Hold his desire to keep his interests secret against the safety and security of all of Angelus, and there's no choice. If Leo's unable or unwilling to see that, then the fault lies with him."
Carpenter stood up and dusted his trousers and coat. "I have to ask, though. Why're you so willing to embrace failure? You don't strike me as the kind of fellow who quits so easily."
Tyger blinked a couple of times and sat back a bit. Damn, he really needed a cigarette. "I didn't make the promise to Leo unconditional. I told him the one and only reason why XSWAT would have to get involved officially. He didn't like it, but he understood. I know he didn't pass that along to Madame Red or anyone else down there, because I made him promise not to. The only reason why I told him about the Entities was because he would not accept anything except for the truth... and I figured that considering that he's a lawyer for Angelus now, he would find out about them eventually... one way or another."
"It ain't the fact that XSWAT is involved in this Nate. I know Sarge and the rest of the crew would have much rather walked out of there and pretended that this night never happened... well... maybe the rest of the crew, but not Sarge. That's not the point though. The point is, is that I had a bunch of folks, whether they knew it or not, depending on me to keep this under the table. They don't know the reasons for it... hell they can't know the reasons anyway. But the fact remains that they were depending on me, and in their eyes, I failed them."
He grew silent for a few long moments after Carpenter stood up. "It's not that I like failure Nate. I can't stand to lose. I hate it more than anything..." Tyger took a deep breath and released it with a sigh. "...but I can't help but feel that lately my life has gone from one major fuckup to the next. That no matter what I do, no matter how hard that I try, it will end in failure. I don't want it to... but I just get that feeling y'know? I just get the feeling that I'm incompetent and there ain't shit I can do about it." He looked up to Carpenter then, with a slight smirk. "But that doesn't mean that I'm quitting or giving up now. If I were the sort that gave up and ran away, I would have found a way out long ago and we wouldn't be here now... well, I know for dammed sure that I wouldn't be anyway." Tyger stood up then, shoving his hands into the pockets of his trenchcoat. "Point I'm trying to make, is that just because I'm a fuckup doesn't mean I'm givin' up. The day I let it all go and stop tryin' is the day that I've stopped breathin'."