It started with sure bet going bust.
Maybe my source dropped the ball or maybe some bigger names than myself also lost their money. As I sat myself on Red House‘s bar to get even some warm feeling this night, I heard car banging heads with a brick wall. I almost didn’t bother to even go out as my shift had ended hours ago, but then I heard pair of shots following the crash. Seemed reason enough to stop looking for lost money from bottom of bottle and put my badge on for a change.
Behind the corner I saw crashed car with driver laying his bloody head on wheel and other man squirming in the ground. There was older model Sedan that was black fleeing the scene. Before even getting my head straight I heard a voice. Elder Man looking like a runover bull was getting on his car and asked if officer needed some help with pursuit. Seemed that I was in this for the long haul after all. Before I even answered I saw younger man running to look after victims with a man I imagined to steer away from this kind of buzz: William I Pierce, head of mining company, a man with money and power. Seemed that there’s some redeeming qualities even in Old Town’s Red house.
We cut through 7th street to catch up but in the end it didn’t amount to much. As I ordered them to stop they opened fire and riddled our hood with bullets, and with some fire and smoke, our chase stopped in its tracks.
Angels over Old Town
Returning to crime scene I started to look what actually had happened. Car had crashed to streetlamp and the man on wheel was already dead. Young man on scene turned out to be somekind of doctor named Gaston Artz and he told that driver had said something before dying: “Tell bishop Joshua that I found it…”
It provoked my interest, but thankfully it wasn’t all I had to go on. Man shot to throat that lay beside the crash was still alive, but not concius, so I needed to wait for me to talk to witness and what had happened.
Looking for stiff’s name first thing I found was emty shoulder holster, with no weapon in sight, so it seems that attacker stole the gun and possibly the thing this driver was talking about.
Then I find something that I didn’t expect to see outside Holy City.. Guardian Angels badge. Dead cop and from high and mighty Holy City no-less. This was going to be big. And it seemed to relate straight to Joshua Wells, one of the bishops.
Guardian angels will take this case and try to get it done quickly and quietly. If I could solve this case it could mean getting some friends in high places. I needed to be quick and get to meet Joshua.
Rubbing elbows with money and holy men
I needed some witnesses to back up my story. I picked up Mclean that I’d gotten on my good side by getting his car fixed on LAPDs garage. Still, Holy City hasn’t been my usual scene and getting in to talk to bishop proved to be bit trickier than I thought, but little luck takes you far. Mr Pierce from last night had the same idea and was going to meet Joshua. He noticed me and took me with him. Looking after his anonymity paid itself back quickly. He had the young doctor with him. Dark leather seats and driver, just what one has come to expect from mysterious moneyman like Pierce.
We entered Joshua’s office and I went straight to business. I knew I didn’t have jurisdiction, but one of the four bishops could easily change that and you never know when friends in holy places might come handy. Joshua had not heard about what happened but seemed to take it seriously, especially after I told him what the angel had said. Joshua told us that stiff’s name was Randell and he had been searching for old ruins for relics with reporter Gregory Ford. It seems that they found something and that something might have gotten Randell killed… It didn’t take much to get signed warrant from Joshua to meddle to Guardian Angels affairs. When we were leaving he added that church would be very thankful if we could return the possible relic, if possible.
I didn’t make promises, but of course it wouldn’t be the first time rulebook was going to have to move aside from more important things.
Trail of ink and blood
When leaving the Holy City it seemed that my companions were quite interested about this.. okay, Rex wasn’t but some muscle was never a bad idea and I didn’t want to involve Nelson to share success in this… The old dog would propably just piss off the church, so I talked Rex into staying with us.
Now we had two leads: the reporter and hospitalized victim. Looking at our group I knew that Rex would stand off in office like an elephant and Artz could take a look at the victims state to evaluate when he could be questioned… and the paper Ford was working for was no-other than the great Examiner, owned by mr. Hearst himself. Man could be mayor if nothing would shook his standing and he propably could be interested in this. Might buy some favors for myself on the side. To up my standing I asked mr. Pierce to accompany me. I had noticed that this moneyman had quite the interest for relics or history as his eyes had lit up when old ruins and relics were mentioned. I also seem to recall that he took trip to more savage cultures a few years back. Need to keep this in mind for future.
We entered Hearst building. Banners carrying his name greeted us. Makes sense that a man who owns half of local papers would have the ink for his campaing. We asked after Ford and we found out that he had gotten fired some time ago. While talking to quite a looker secretary, she told us that Ford had changed quite a lot before getting the boot. He’d gotten thinner and was getting shouted at quite often. Maybe it was because of his searches as the man wasn’t married… nor the secretary for that matter. Left my card if she “remembered something”. Somedays I feel that I just can’t be stopped.
But then came the reality check. We went to meet Hearst. Man was strung up and almost aggressive towards us for taking up his valuable time. Still we didn’t leave with empty hands. It turned up that after starting to write about the ruins, Ford had dropped other articles and gotten almost manic about the ruins. Hearst had wanted more stories but Frod was fixated on these ruins. We also got his last known adress. Hearst wanted to get rid of us so there was nothing more to do than leave him my card, wink goodbye for the secretary and head for Fords flat that resided on Mazedge. For my disappointment, no-one was home and talking to neibhours hadn’t been for couple days.
It seemed that trail of blood had paid off better. Man I thought to be victim, was one of the robbers, named Hopkins. Perp had tried to flee hospital when others had comer there, but had been taken to “custody” by Mclean and was on mr. Artz’s clinic. Turned out that it indeed was Ford who was behind the shooting. Hiring muscle to get his hands on a gun that was found in the ruins. With bit of pressing Hopkins told that Ford had been muttering some sort of mantra: “one for the wicked, one for the righteous”. Man was capable of murder, theft, leaving his associate behind bleeding to death and propably crazy. Great. At least it was only one man and not a syndicate, or that’s what I hoped.
It was time to visit Ford’s flat again… this time I wasn’t going to be polite. I took Mclean with me.
One for the wicked…
Again no-one answered to my knock, so I let Mclean to do it for me. “Biomechanical man” seemed to be more than moviename for this man as he removed his gloves and pushed the door in. It might be wise to stay on his good side.
Inside opened the den of man losing himself to obsession. His wall was full of newsarticles about Hearst. Magazines and old papers that had one sentence circled with pen: “one for the wicked, one for the righteous”.. Under his bed a box full of old rusty revolvers. Seemed that he had looked for this some unique revolver for some time… and we knew the target.
Newspapers on his wall were all about his former boss, mr. William Randolph Hearst. One picture had knife struck on it and words “one for the wicked”.
We needed to be fast. We jumped on my roadster and engine roared as we drived towards Hearst building.
Everything run as normal when we entered the building. We might have gotten here in time. Rebecca, the secretary, smiled when he saw me, but I was in hurry. I needed to know if Hearst was still working and if Ford had shown up. Bit startlet she said that she hadn’t seen Ford and that Hearst was still on his office. We headed up.
Hearst was annoyed to see us but I cut quickly to chase. I didn’t even have time to finish when we heard a scream.
Again I saw Rebecca.
Behind him a man with crazy in his eyes.
Ford had come to take down “the wicked” boss of his.
Mclean and myself spurted out to meet him. I pointed my revolver and tryied to order him to stand down.. I think that deep inside I knew how futile the attempt was. Ford looked at me in dismissal, pointed his gun to office and fired.
Hearst fell with a shout of pain…
…and then started shouting and cursing, mostly why I hadn’t shot the man yet. He seemed to be alright and to be frank I wasn’t going to lose sleep if he wasn’t. I turned to Ford trying to get bead on him, but Rebecca’s frightened eyes kept messing with my aim.. good thing Rex wasn’t one for shaky hands or hesitation. He fired two bullets, scraping Fords shoulder, freeing Rebecca. I took shot when I could and shot Ford in arm and the accursed revolver fell to ground.
…but Ford didn’t stop. We found out where angel Randell’s .45 had gone as he shot Rex twice to to gut, folding the big man in two. Still before I got a shot at Ford, the old thug was running toward him, dripping blood. Even Ford understood his situation as Rex stampedet towards him and started running. I ran after them, hoping that Rex wouldn’t kill the man. I got to them at elevator as Ford was tapping the buttons and Rex gained on him. There was sign of fear on Ford’s crazy eyes as Rex smashed murderer’s face in with his pistol… and then continued pummeling with his fists.
I’m not sure how I got this man away from Ford, but I managed and Ford was still somewhat alive. Whole office was fearful, but nothing too bad had happened. Hearst was only clipped on his shoulder, but alive and grumpy, Rebecca scared but mostly untouched. Rex on the other hand carried his wounds like a stone, but was bleeding quite bad. He said that Artz would be best place to stitch him up and if I wanted to interrogate Ford about why he thought that Hearst was “the wicked” to get some leverage if need be on the future, Artz’s clinic could provide me with that. I took the guns as evidence, but I wanted Pierce to evaluate the relic, if there was something… I don’t know, wrong about it.
Closing the file
We were left with empty hands with gun and Ford. Man seemed to be sleeping even awake and Pierce didnät find much about the gun. I booked this lost soul of reporter tweaking the details to leave out the old revolver.
We took it to bishop Joshua who was grateful that situation had been solved. As we unveiled the gun, we heard more about this weapon that had created this mess:
“It is a gun, no THE gun, one of pair, for there were two. This is the Law of the West or Dead man’s gun. One for the wicked, one for the righteous went the saying. These guns belonged to murderous gunslinger that walked the earth at the time of great flood, named Ace Sinfall. He murdered without hesitation, but it was said that he had two guns, one for criminals and one for the upright folk. On his later years he opposed the church of LA, before the great flood put his soul to rest.”
Seems there is still another one up for finding. Hopefully it won’t end in same kind of mess. We left the Holy City. This case that fell to my lap had gotten me some quite big names to my phonebook, but my partner was going to take great pleasure making me pay back the hours I took off and put into this. Thankfully he wasn’t at the station when I returned.
Some time to cool off. I took coffee and opened a newspaper… huh.
Number 23, Carrot Seven had won monday’s last takeoff at race.. the horse I chose on moments whim.
Maybe my luck was just taking turn for better.