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|DetectiveLayton92|| Mystery, Fantasy, |
Nicole was always strong-willed. Nothing could ever get in her way, and she made sure that in every situation, she could get what she wanted, no matter the cost. Even after her death, there were things left unsettled, things that needed to be put to rest. And Nicole did, in fact, put them to rest. Even if it meant putting lives in danger.
Taking a breath, exhaling, and shaking her head a little, Nicole knocked on the door of the man’s office. She tried the knob and found it unlocked.
"Mr. …Edgeworth?” She poked her head in and found him sitting on the sofa, sipping tea. “Oh, this is a bad time, I’ll just come back later--"
He stood up and gracefully waved her in, setting his cup down on his desk. “No, it isn’t. Please, come in, Ms….”
"Nicole Sonatta,” she said, bringing herself around the door. Feeling slightly awkward, Nicole approached his desk, where he now sat. She slapped a thick file down in front of him, with a large federal-looking seal on it. “Here.”
Miles raised an eyebrow, looked at the file, then at Nicole. “I take it you want me to prosecute a case for you.” He shook his head. “I apologize, but I’m currently working many other cases at the moment. I cannot accept your offer, Ms. Sonatta.”
Nicole grinned slightly. “I understand completely.” She stood up, and turned to leave. “I didn’t think you were man enough to handle a case like this, anyway.”
Miles had already gone back to working on something on his computer, but he managed to hear her words, the oldest trick in the book, which knocked his ego down a peg. “…Excuse me?"
"You heard me,” Nicole said, turning around to meet his cold glare. “You don’t have enough balls to actually prosecute a case for me.”
"...Would you care to explain why, then?” he asked, not at all amused.
"There’s next to no evidence, the few witnesses are either dead or missing,” she said, “…and the victim is still alive.”
Miles's glare became fiercer. "I don’t appreciate my time being wasted, Ms. Sonatta—“
"Oh, I assure you, it’s not a waste of time,” she said. “Look in that file I gave you. It should tell you everything you need.”
Warily, the prosecutor complied, and on the first page was a picture of someone very, very familiar. “It seems the victim…is in fact you, Ms. Sonatta. Apparently, a bullet was lodged in your heart.” Miles looked at the woman with a mildly shocked and confused expression.
"Of course, it’s now an attempted murder case. Oh, might I add that the prime suspect is in police custody as of right now?” she said.
"And who might this ‘suspect’ be?” asked Miles.
"His name is Jaime Matherson. He’s my ex-husband,” said Nicole. “No doubt Phoenix Wright’s going to defend him.”
Edgeworth leafed through the pages and skimmed over the information. “How can you be so sure…?”
"I may have let on that Matherson was a spy,” she said, a sheepish smile on her lips. “That young lady seemed to be very excited about it, and forced Wright into the position.”
Miles couldn’t stop a small smirk from tugging at his lips. “It says here you were working for MI6 until the incident,” he said. “And before that, an officer in the Marines.”
“That’s correct. There’s plenty of candidates from my past, all of them with murderous intent, but Jaime’s the only one who it could be.”
The prosecutor cocked an eyebrow. “Why exactly? What motive could he possibly have?” he asked, leaning back in his chair a bit.
Nicole sighed a little and looked dejectedly at the floor. “He despised me, more than anyone. I honestly don’t know what went wrong between us, it just…” She turned her attention back to Edgeworth. “He wanted me to change, I guess.”
"He wanted to make me into something I wasn’t. That’s why he…” She lowered her voice before continuing. “That’s why he abused me.”
He was silent for a long while after that, probably trying to figure out how to respond. He finally said quietly, “I’m…sorry,” though it came across quite unfeeling and detached.
Nicole smiled weakly at his attempt to console her. “It’s alright. That was the past, this is the present. And what I want more than anything is to put him away for good. …I trust you’ll do that for me, won’t you?”
He stood up and crossed over to stand in front of the woman. “Of course, Ms. Sonatta.”
She lay on her stomach, finger hesitating on the trigger, waiting for an unplanned second attack from the opposition. But after several tense moments, no explosive jolts were sent through the ground beneath them, and everyone on the team seemed to relax, if only the slightest bit.
“Is everybody alright and accounted for?” asked Sonatta, head of the operation, through her headset. A chorus of shaken yeses greeted her ear, and she sighed, relieved. Next order of business. “Everybody get to their posts. Make this quick.”
She had commanded the seven operatives on the roof of the concrete structure, along with the seven on the lower level, to get to work cleaning up this mess. Packing up the weapons, making sure everyone was in good health—attending to them medically if needed.
Everyone knew it was vital to be quick and efficient to get out of there, just in case something else happened, or if they were needed elsewhere. There, less meant more; less time spent in one location meant gaining a few more precious seconds in another weak spot that was begging for defense.
But an abandoned parking garage is a vast palace, and every person is vulnerable when their guard is down.
Especially the leader of the pack.
A shadow pulled a trigger from some place, some distance away, at some time, and Sonatta fell to her knees, her eyes rolling in the back of her head. Her protective vest did little to shield her, and blood spewed out of her chest, some soaking into her gear.
A male MI6 agent, with good intentions, raced off in the armored truck in the general direction of the sniper. The others had to manage without their superior, but they were trained in “worst-case scenarios”. Several men and women rushed to her side, whilst others called for immediate back-up.
Meanwhile, two men faced off in an intense duel, both aiming high-powered guns at one another.
The first man smirked beneath his helmet. “…No one is watching now. You can put that down, Beaumont.”
The assassin didn’t move an inch. “…I don’t think I will. I’ve got secondary orders.”
“From who?” asked the operative.
Beaumont responded with a bullet, but not to the agent’s heart. To someone behind him, who fell immediately, standing no chance. He dared not turn around to check who it was – that would mean certain death.
“Doesn’t matter, now does it?” said Beaumont. “…I’ve got you right where I want you, Henshaw.”
The man labeled as ‘Henshaw’ barked at the sniper. “I told you never to call me that…!”'
“I don’t care. I suggest you shut up before I force-feed you a bullet,” said Beaumont.
He inched closer to the other man. “If I kill you right now, I won’t have my chance to blackmail you. If you kill me right now, it doesn’t matter. Your dirty little secret will be exposed, no matter what.”
Henshaw scowled fiercely. Control was quickly spiraling out of his hands, and if he couldn’t keep his secret under wraps, his entire life would be over.
“So go back to your little crew and tell ‘em you lost me… or you're done-for,” Beaumont threatened.
The operative had no choice but to obey. Henshaw pointed his gun to the ground dejectedly, knowing he’d lost.
The assassin nodded, backing up. “Seeya, mate,” he said, and quickly vanished.
“Will the…witness please state her name and profession?” Edgeworth seemed unsure of himself, for once in his life. Normally, civilian prosecutors and defense attorneys in low-level courts wouldn’t dare touch a case like this. Too many disputes over jurisdiction and confidentiality. It was better left handled by the High Court and such, but since the incident happened over a year ago, no one with appropriate authority would accept.
“Nicole Sonatta. Former United States Marine and MI6 agent. Currently unemployed,” she said flatly.
“Ms. Sonatta. You claim to be the victim in this case. You say you were shot by a sniper, one year ago, whilst on an operation…?”
“Seems like you’ve got your facts straight.” She casually pointed to the prominent scar on her chest. “And that sniper was hired by the man who’s sitting right there in the defendant’s chair. Now, would you like me to explain what happened on that operation or what?”
Edgeworth shook his finger in that all-knowing way. “First, I’d just like to testify about your relationship with the defendant, Mr. Jaime Matherson, if you please.”
Nicole sighed inwardly. She’d give anything to avoid bringing it up. "Jaime’s my ex-husband. He’s a lying, hurtful, filthy son of a—"
Edgeworth slammed his hand down on the stand. “Witness! Please try to keep your testimony…appropriate.”
“Fine.” She crossed her arms defiantly. “But he is.”
“Why exactly do you view him that way?” asked the prosecutor. Phoenix Wright kept quiet; he knew it wasn’t his place to object. There’d likely be no cross-examination, anyway.
There was a long pregnant pause before Nicole spoke. She took a deep breath, and began. “’Cause…he…he…”
But she couldn’t continue. The memories were still fresh, and they flooded back, full-force, and de-railed her train of thought.
“I-I…” She clutched her head, close to hyperventilating, tears clouding her vision. Early on, she’d commanded herself that she wouldn’t let him overtake her life. Never let him get to me, Nicole had promised. But this time, it just plain didn’t work.
“Erm…Ms. Sonatta?” asked the ancient judge. “…Are you alright?”
She shook her head weakly, and if it was possible for her to breathe any harder, she did. All the beatings and cuts and worse things she would never mention flashed in front of her eyes. And she worked herself into a tizzy fit because of it. “N-No…”
And blackness was all she saw then.
An hour or so later, Nicole came to, and found herself on the couch in the prosecution’s lobby.
On her face was a look of utter disorientation. “Wh…What the hell happened?” She tried to sit up, and failed to do it even semi-gracefully.
Edgeworth hovered over her, then took a seat beside the woman. “…You were about to testify about your ex-husband, but then you had a flashback, apparently, and fainted.”
“Oh…” she mumbled, rubbing the back of her head. The world seemed to be spinning; she’d hit the ground rather hard. “God…this hurts…worse than a hangover…”
Nicole swore she saw him smirk, but she couldn’t focus on anything else but the throbbing in her head.
“You were unconscious for almost an hour,” he said. “Since you are our primary witness, the judge permitted me as much time until you awoke.”
She sighed. “Well…that’s nice.”
Miles kept his tone gentle and quiet, yet professional. “…Are you going to be well enough to continue?”
Nicole said nothing for a while, and then nodded slightly. “Yeah…I think so.”
Silently, the prosecutor stood up, and held out a hand, a hand which Nicole quickly grasped, and stood up as well. She held on for maybe a few seconds too long, and she mentally scolded herself for it.
“Ahem…recess is over,” said the bailiff.
“Court will now reconvene,” said the judge. “Where we last left off, Ms. Sonatta was about to explain her relation to the defendant, Mr. Matherson.” He cleared his throat. “If you’d like to continue, witness…?”
“Yes. I apologize for what happened earlier. I am prepared to testify now.”
“Very well then.”
“As we all know, the defendant is my ex-husband. The divorce papers were finalized almost…three weeks ago. He was an abusive individual, which is why he has the perfect motive. Before we separated, things got really heated between us, and death threats to me were made, which shows what lengths he was willing to go to in order to kill me. He really, really hated me. That’s all.”
“…Mr. Wright. Your cross-examination.”
The defense attorney nodded. “Of course, Your Honor. Ms. Sonatta, you said the defendant made death threats to you?”
“That’s right. If you need proof, I have them recorded. I wasn’t stupid enough to let him talk that way, and not have any evidence of it.”
There was a long pause before he said, “That is all, Your Honor.”
The judge furrowed his brow in concentration. “Since this case is lacking in evidence, it seems we’ve reached an impasse. I ask that the prosecution and the defense come up with something, and return tomorrow better-prepared. Until then, court is adjourned.”
“So…now what?” asked Nicole, leaning comfortably on the prosecutor’s desk in his office. “We need to find evidence, right?”
“Right. But I think I’ll need you to explain this operation you were on to fully understand this case.”
“Alright…but I can’t tell you all the details-“
“Hey! Mr. Edgeworth!” Suddenly, a man in an olive green jacket and red tie burst through the door, breathing heavily, a ridiculous grin plastered on his face. “I heard you have a case-“
And at the exact time, he backed up, for there was a pistol aimed at him. “Woah, pal…” he muttered, eyes wide.
“Okay, I don’t know who the hell you are, but don’t you ever knock?!” she yelled angrily, having just been scared the crap out of.
“Ah…Detective Gumshoe. I see you decided to drop by,” said Edgeworth, rising from his seat. He cautiously put a hand on Nicole’s shoulder, and she reluctantly lowered her gun.
“Uh…yeah,” the detective said, rubbing the back of his neck. Nicole put the gun back in her waistband.
“Sorry about that, Detective. I guess I’m just paranoid, what with the trial today and such.”
“Nah, it’s okay, pal,” he said, a little less cheery than before. He still looked a bit confused, as gun ownership laws there were strict, so unless you were a member of the police force or higher authority, it’d be virtually impossible to own a weapon like that.
“This is Nicole Sonatta, the victim in the case you presumably heard about,” said Miles.
Now Gumshoe looked even more puzzled. “How is that even possible, Mr. Edgeworth, sir? Shouldn’t she be…?”
“Dead? Not necessarily,” she chimed in. “The doctors somehow miraculously saved me.”
The detective shrugged, accepting this answer.
Nicole sighed. “…So, now that everybody’s calm and collected, do you want me to tell you about the, uh, mission?”
“Mission? What mission?” asked Gumshoe.
The woman shot a distrusting glance at him. “Sorry, Detective, but you can’t hear this. It’s ‘top-secret’.”
“But…then why does Mr. Edgeworth get to hear it?!”
“…He signed a confidentiality agreement,” she lied.
Gumshoe whimpered a little with disappointment. “But…”
“Out before I shoot you.”
“Yes, sir!” And he hastily exited the prosecutor’s office, hearing Nicole say, “No listening at the door!” as he left.
“You didn’t have to threaten him like that,” said Edgeworth.
“…But was he really gonna leave if I didn’t?” She shook her head. “No, he wasn’t. So shut up and let me tell you what you need to hear!”
Miles obeyed. “…Very well.”
“Okay. There was a team put together of a lot of agents from MI6, the CIA, FBI, every branch of the military. You name it, they were there in Pennsylvania at the CIA headquarters. We were all trying to take down a group of…well…terrorists.”
“Terrorists?!” said someone familiar.
Nicole marched over to the entrance and kicked the door hard. “I SAID NO LISTENING, DETECTIVE!”
Nicole shook her head and walked back over to the prosecutor’s desk. “Now, let’s skip forward to my role. I was the leader of our fourteen-man team. We had to stop bomber planes from attacking here, in California. After we’d shot them down, someone shot me. That’s all I can really tell you at the moment.”
“Can you name off this “fourteen-man team” for me?”
“Well, technically there were only seven of us, the rest were in a different area,” she explained. “And most of them are dead or missing anyway.”
Edgeworth picked up his fountain pen. “Please…tell me their names.”
Nicole sighed. “Alright, fine. The ones who’re alive would be…Anderson Caldwell, from MI6. Brooke Border, from the CIA, and Ivanka Zerkovski, from…I’m not sure. And me.”
“And the deceased?”
“I don’t see what the point is, but okay. Gloria Santos, Antonio Valdez, and Xavier Hill, may they all rest in peace.”
Miles furrowed his brow. “…Anything else to add?”
“Just that you should look into Anderson Caldwell. He was my friend. He helped me when I was in the hospital, and he stuck by me through thick and thin. I respect him. Which is why I’m certain he’ll help me…but it comes at a price.”
“What do you mean, a ‘price’…?” he asked, putting his pen down.
“Oh, nothing. He’ll just ask for money or something. No big deal.”
Just then, Gumshoe decided to test his luck, knocking this time, and entering the office with his hands near his head.
“Don’t…don’t shoot, pal,” he said, inching forward slowly.
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Gumshoe. I’m not gonna shoot you!” She grinned happily, as if nothing ever happened before.
The detective had a genuine look of, “What in the world is wrong with this woman?” on his face.
“Oh! I almost forgot!” Nicole grinned wickedly. “You say you want decisive evidence, Miles? Check Jaime’s bank account record, which I may have hacked into. Seems he paid some unknown person fifteen grand for some unknown reason. I bet you can fill in the blanks.”
“F-Fifteen grand…?! With three zeroes?” asked Gumshoe, astonished.
Nicole frowned. “What, it’s not a million. Why are you so surprised?”
He looked down at the floor, genuinely upset about his paycheck. “I never get to eat anything but instant noodles, pal. I always screw up on the job, so Mr. Edgeworth cuts my pay.”
She frowned at Miles, and was met with an icy scowl. “What the hell is wrong with you?!” Turning her attention back to the detective, she said sympathetically, “Look. When we win this case, I’ll treat you to whatever you want. Drinks, food, whatever, it’s on me.”
“You’d really do that for me, pal?” He sniffled, really working it for all it was worth.
“Of course, Detective.”
“…Can Mr. Edgeworth come, too?”
Miles’s eyes said no, and Nicole said yes.
“Alright! We gotta win this case, Mr. Edgeworth! Now, I gotta go back and finish some things at the precinct.”
“…Just because he may make mistakes sometimes, doesn’t mean you should make him poor, Miles.”
“It’s not ‘sometimes’, it’s ‘all the time’, and he isn’t poor. He’s simply surviving on a low income budget.”
Nicole scoffed. “Well, I’ll leave you be. Tomorrow morning, Anderson should be here, I’ll make sure of it. And check into that bank account I told you to!”
“Oh my god! Andy! What the hell happened to you?!”
The man rubbed his cheek, where dark scar tissue covered almost the entire right side of his face, and tried to focus on something other than what happened. “…It’s a long story. But you’re looking well, Sonatta.”
Nodding, Nicole gave him a quick embrace. “Now, are you ready to do this?”
“Yeah. But, one quick thing.” He looked to Edgeworth. “Are there any cameras or spectators in there?”
The prosecutor shook his head. “No. Only the judge, attorneys, victim and defendant will be in the courtroom, as requested.”
“Thanks. That’s perfect.”
“My name is Anderson Caldwell. I’m currently a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service, namely, MI6, in this case.”
“The victim, Ms. Sonatta, says that you took over the operation whilst she was in the hospital? Is this correct?”
“Right. I helped complete the op, and did some digging when she was, uh, incapacitated.”
“…Witness. Please testify about your role in the operation, and what you found whilst ‘digging’ for information,” said Edgeworth, not waiting around.
Anderson nodded. “Let’s see. Well, I was ‘second-in-command’, and when Nicole was shot, I immediately became leader. Without losing too many people, the op was a success, and it’s been kept almost completely under wraps ever since. Until now, that is. Anyway, I managed to find out the gun that was used to nearly kill her, and…I know the name of the sniper.”
Silence. Dead silence.
No one dared breathe.
The judge banged his gavel, but for no apparent reason. “You…You know the name of the sniper? …Er…Mr. Wright?”
“I was just about to ask that, Your Honor,” the defense attorney said. “How do you know the sniper’s name, exactly?”
Anderson gave a stern, unwavering stare. “I am forbidden to tell you that.”
Phoenix then proceeded to ask the question on everyone’s minds, “What is the name of the sniper?”
“One ‘Hunter Beaumont’. At least, that’s what I think. I’m almost 99 percent positive that it’s not an alias.”
“How can you be so sure?” asked His Honor.
“…Again, I cannot tell you that. I’m sorry.”
Wright looked nervous. He had nothing to go on, and it looked like there was no place to turn. “If I may, Your Honor,” he said as calmly as he could. “I’d like to ask the witness what he saw. After all, he is a ‘witness’.”
“…Very well. Mr. Caldwell, please testify as to what you witnessed the night of the shooting.”
“We’d just annihilated seven planes. We were packing up quickly, and then it happened. Nicole dropped to her knees, and I think I noticed her first. I scanned for sight of Beaumont, and saw just a glimpse of him. So me and another agent sped off in one of the armored trucks we had, and we jumped out with guns and everything, but he shot, took out the woman I was with, and I lost him.”
After mulling the facts over, the judge spoke up. “…Your cross-examination, please.” Anderson’s testimony was flawless, as Wright had expected. “Mr. Caldwell, who was this woman agent who was killed?”
“Her name was Gloria Santos. She was from the Army, I think. Real unfortunate, her death.”
The defense attorney opened his mouth to ask Nicole if she remembered the operation this way, then realized it was a stupid question. She was pretty much dead at that point, he told himself.
“…That is all, Your Honor.”
“Hmm…I do have one question, however,” said His Honor. “And I would like it to be answered today, so we do not have to drag this trial out any further.”
“Yes? What question would that be, Your Honor?” asked Phoenix.
“What is Jaime Matherson’s motive?”
“Ah, yes. I believe I can answer that.” Nicole stood up and made her way to the stand. “Since we’ve already covered this subject, I’ll say it once, and no more.”
“Please, Ms. Sonatta, continue,” said the judge.
“He was abusive, and he hated me. Back and forth the death threats were made, each one increasingly dangerous. I do admit I did some things I’m not proud of. But we’ve even got evidence that he was involved. You cannot argue with solid evidence, can you?”
Edgeworth nodded, and showed the bank account record that Nicole had enticed him to use. “This is a bank statement from Mr. Matherson’s account. It clearly shows that a day after the shooting, $5,000 was deposited to an anonymous account, one presumably belonging to Mr. Beaumont.”
The judge seemed satisfied with that answer. “…If the defense cannot prove another possibility of who may have hired Mr. Beaumont, then I will declare a verdict.”
“Hold it, Your Honor!” Phoenix finally found his voice. “I do have another possibility. But I will need time to prepare my argument. Tomorrow. That is all I’m asking for, Your Honor.”
“…Very well then. Until tomorrow, court is adjourned.”
Edgeworth smirked devilishly. He knew the defense was bluffing. There was no other possibility; he was just trying to keep the trial going to see if he could pull through. And everyone involved was certain Phoenix couldn’t.
His wrists were shackled, his eyes blindfolded.
A perfect little present wrapped up, for Nicole to do with as she pleased.
"...Jaime," she hissed, acknowledging his presence. Although she didn't sound it, she'd been given the privelage of carrying out his execution, and she was delighted.
"Haven't seen you in a while, babe," said her ex-husband, charged with 9 counts of assault.
She fumed, disgusted at the pet name he had for her. But she avoided taking her anger out just yet, instead harnessing it for later.
"I've got something...unforgettable planned for you," she explained, and quickly began cutting his clothes away.
All the weapons she could ever want were at her disposal -- knives, guns, various metal objects. Once all his clothing had been torn from his body, Nicole said, "Let's go through a little...re-enactment, shall we?"
Jaime could only glare, knowing full well what was coming next.
Nicole circled the man, playing with the knife in her hands, admiring him like a plain canvas. "Hmm...I think I'll start small," she said, and effortlessly dug her knife into his right arm, lower back, left thigh, leaving deep gashes that poured blood down his heavily-tattooed skin.
She often talked whilst doing something...unpleasant, so she said, "Remember those? You probably felt powerful. You even took steroids just so I wouldn’t be able to fight back, remember?" She chucked the small knife somewhere behind her, and instead, reached for a thin, sharp bayonet, without it’s rifle counter-part. "You were a cowardly bastard."
"And you were a heartless bitch," he replied coldly.
"Good, the desired effect came across." She gave him a painful kick in the side, knocking him to his knees. "Get down on your stomach. Now."
Jaime slowly, and reluctantly, obeyed.
"Good boy," she said, as if he were a well-trained hound. "Now, you're gonna know what it feels like to be on the receiving end..."
Hours seemed to fly by, and afterward, Nicole grinned sadistically, glancing at the bloody, half-alive lump of flesh that was her ex, who dared not move, the pain was so great. "How does it feel to be fucked like that, hm?"
"I...I won't...answer that..." he choked out.
"Meh. That's fine. I don't need to hear your answer, anyway." She wiped her hands on her trousers, smearing blood that quite possibly would never come out of the fabric, and chose her final weapon. Her favorite rifle.
Straddling him whilst he lay on his back, she said, "...Hm...Any final words? I do believe it's proper 'murderer's etiquette'."
No matter what he said, there was no way Nicole would let him live any longer.
"I never loved you."
"Oh, I'm well aware."
Nicole awoke at the sound of the 'gunshot', and frowned. If only that was real...
She checked the clock, but she already knew by the light outside that she would be late if she didn’t hurry. Not really taking time to even think about what to wear, she quickly got dressed, pulling on a light green sweater and black slacks, and bolted out the door, shoving the hotel key into her pocket.
This country was her first home, but she still didn’t have a car. “Los Angeles Municipal Court, please. And hurry.”
So, the cab sped down the gridded streets of the City of Angels. If it’s two things you can count on, it’s that taxi drivers there always have a foreign accent, and that they hate to slow down.
Paying fare, (a currency that was more familiar to her), she scurried down the crowded sidewalk, oblivious to her follower. The ‘stalker’ called her phone, and Nicole, frustrated, picked it up.
There was a small silence on the other end, then the person said, “Woah…you look good in green.”
Instantly she flipped around, scanning for anyone who could see her. “Who is this? And how did you get this number?”
It was the voice of a man who said, “…Hm…Through a friend of an ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.” He leaned around the corner farther and grinned stupidly.
That was a mistake, because Nicole spotted him, a younger man with a hideously bright orange jacket. He’d seen how pissed she was, and started running as she made her way over to him. But he was too slow.
“Who the hell are you?!” she demanded, slamming him against a brick wall.
“L-L-Larry! Larry Butz!”
“And why were you following me, hm?”
“Spit it out!”
“…I-I thought y-you were…erm…k-kinda...g-good looking…”
The woman rolled her eyes, and released her grasp. “Sorry. I’m not as desperate as you are.”
And towards the courthouse she went.
There was ultimately no reason anyone should’ve showed up that day. Wright was, in fact, bluffing. He had nothing. Absolutely nothing. He made a feeble attempt at pinning the blame on Anderson Caldwell, and Nicole flew off the handle.
“DON’T YOU DARE! HE WOULD NEVER!” she had shouted, and had been warned by the court not to make another outburst.
The verdict was declared. “…Guilty.”
In Nicole’s world, it’s not looked down upon to party at someone’s demise. This was no exception, but the celebration would have to wait.
As she walked down the steps of the courthouse, the cameras and reporters swarmed the guilty party, as well as the victim and lawyers, begging for questions to be answered. It was then that the blonde looked over to Anderson, who was walking next to her, and she saw it.
A smirk. A devil’s smirk. A sadistic grin. One that immediately proves that they had done something evil.
But she stopped daydreaming, of sorts, and said “thank you” when Caldwell opened the taxi door for her.
He suddenly slammed it shut, crushing Nicole’s fingers.
And he put her in a head-lock, with one arm, and held a gun to the top of her head, pointed down. There was a simultaneous gasp from the on-lookers.
“You remember me, right, bitch?”
While the other news reporters focused on the prosecutor and defense attorney, Anderson had ample time to force the blonde into the cab’s passenger seat, and throw out the driver, always keeping his gun aimed at Nicole.
He tossed a plastic zip tie to her. “Tie your hands.”
She complied, and tightened the strap with her teeth. “You know, my fingers still hurt.”
“Shut up, Sonatta. You know how this works. You stay quiet, you live.”
Along the ride to God knows where, praying and contemplating and thinking was all she did. Until, of course, Anderson took her into a warehouse, or maybe it was a factory. Either way, she was going to die. Plain and simple.
“You’re not who I remember.” Sitting on an old, rusted folding chair in the darkness was not her favorite thing to do, but she had no choice.
“Yeah, well, sometimes people can be deceiving, Sonatta.” He fiddled with his firearm, then said, “You don’t remember me?”
“What do you even mean, Anderson?”
He whacked her upside the head with the butt of his gun, which hurt like hell and sent her vision on the fritz. “That isn’t my name.”
“Then…then why don’t you—“
“SHUT. UP.” He scowled at her. “Does the name ‘Tate Henshaw’ mean anything to you?”
It was hard to concentrate, seeing as how her head was still spinning, but she thought as hard as she could. “…Yeah…he was…burned, as an agent…a long time ago—Wait.”
“Yep. I was the one. The one who was deemed ‘unreliable’ by the rest of MI6. And guess who had a part—a big part—in that?”
She glared. “Me.”
“You ruined my entire life, Sonatta. I had no money, no job experience to fall back on, but you carried on your perfect little life, as well as the others who helped you.”
“It…it was an accident! I…we…we didn’t mean to…it looked like you were selling illegal weapons…but you were set up or something…”
“Save it, bitch. I had a good gig going, then you had to interfere.” He leaned closer to where Nicole could only stare at the barrel of the gun. “I suppose you wanna know what happens next, right?”
“If you’re…suggesting it’s a story…then…yeah, sure.”
“Well, when you’re in a position like that, you bottomfeed to make it. Take low, shady offers. But even if you lose your job, your house, your life…they can’t take away your experience in the field.”
Nicole did remember that much. Working with ‘Tate Henshaw’, she’d saw that he was good. Really good. At almost everything he did. Covert work, weapons especially.
“So…guess who picked me up because of my rep?”
Realization hit the blonde, almost like another blow to the head, and it showed in her expression.
“…You know those little terrorists you dealt with? And you know those seven bomber planes?”
“…you were…a snitch and…a terrorist…too…”
“That’s right, Sonatta. See, you’re learning already. Now, it’s better to just take down a few than to take them all, right?” He motioned to his scar. “But there’s always a price. Because that little stunt cost me the right side of my face.”
“So…when I was in the hospital…”
“I lied. Like every agent does. I said we ‘defeated them’? Bullshit. They’re still out there, somewhere, although I cut ties with them since then.” Tate squatted down to eye-level. “You’re the last one. The last ‘loose end’ that started this whole mess.”
Click. Ready to shoot.
“I only hired that guy because I didn’t want to get my hands dirty. But then that black bitch, Gloria something, she was a witness to our ‘meeting’. And we couldn’t have any witnesses.”
“…you’re…a lying bastard…and I trusted you?”
He chuckled. “Yeah, that was really stupid on your part, Sonatta.”
And he took a bullet to the base of his skull. Dead.
Nicole, when she was finished wincing, actually opened her eyes to see someone familiar. “…holy shit! GUMSHOE!!”
Although he just saved someone’s life, his firing hand was shaking like a leaf in the wind. Really, he had never been good around guns, nor shooting them.
“Are you alright, pal??!” He clumsily fiddled with her restraints, only to find that he’d need a knife to get it off.
“…yeah, I think so. How’d you find me?”
“When we found out you were missing, we sent out pretty much everybody to find you, pal. It’s real lucky we did, that guy was gonna kill you!” He helped her up, and she stumbled, still a little dizzy from the hit.
“I know, Gumshoe. I know.” She cracked the faintest of smirks. “You know what this means, right? You’re a hero, so you get to celebrate even more now.” “Alright, pal! But let’s get you fixed up first, okay?”
Nicole relayed the story to about everyone involved, but there were still questions unanswered.
“Just a new identity wouldn’t get him very far, so how did he manage to forge himself as an MI6 agent?” asked the prosecutor, across from Nicole, who was sitting on a bench, receiving medical treatment to her head.
“I’m not sure. He looked different enough, you know, before the scar, and he didn’t have any signature moves or anything to be recognized. But there’s lots of different possibilities that are probably left hidden.”
Nicole rubbed her wrists where the strap had been, and when the detective came over to the blonde, she hugged him tightly. “Thank you!”
“Heh…no problem, pal. Just doing my job.”
(to be continued)