Friday, June 22, 2018

The Sunshine City Chronicles: The Freshmen, Part 7- Raven's Story


June 4, 2018,
17:02 local time,
Sunshine City Police Headquarters,
Sunshine City, Sonora

“Hey, Raven,” said Bullock, greeting Raven as he entered the interview room. “Thanks for coming down to the station.”
“No problem,” she said with a smile, looking on as the rest of the SWAT team- including Deadpool now- got comfortable in their chairs.
“Is there anything we can get you?” said Bullock. “Water? Coffee? A sandwich?”
“A water bottle would be nice,” said Raven. “It's getting hot out there.”
“Finally,” said Morgan. “I was wondering if it was ever going to show up.”

Raven gave Morgan a confused look.

“First day in Sunshine City,” said Morgan with a laugh. “Touched down and there was nothing but rain.”
“I see,” said Raven.

Bullock then came back with the water and the team was ready for the interview.

“So I'm not sure where to begin,” said Raven.
“Start wherever you feel like,” said Street. “This is just about information.”

Raven took in and let out a deep breath in a bid to calm her nerves, doing it a few times before while the team encouraged her before she actually began.

“I'm going to start with what I know,” said Raven. “I was born in an artificial womb in Arizona on September 24, 1994, and the only person who take care of me was the doctor, Julia Jimenez. Unfortunately for me, she was too swamped with work to really take care of me, so I had to bounce around foster homes in my youth. I had a few good experiences, but many more were bad, and by the time I was 14 I hitchhiked to Alberta, where I was promised riches in the oil industry.

“As you might expect, I didn't actually get a job in the oil industry- I was hired as an 'entertainer' for oil workers in Wood Buffalo, of which Fort McMurray is a part of. Sex and lap dancing were regular parts of my duties, and while my handlers were actually nice to me, took real good care of me and protected me from the more overzealous men, I couldn't help but feel degraded and deceived. I mean, I didn't flee home to have sex with random strangers.

“One day I learned about a professional wrestling circuit in Fort McMurray and I became interested in participating. One of my sexual clients became interested in training me, and I soon began to enjoy trading workouts for sex- at least I was getting something out of the arrangement. I worked with him for many years, and by the time I was 20, I quit the sex trade for good and became a fighter. I soon graduated to the wider Alberta circuit and even got to participate at the main event at the Calgary Stampede, a match I won handily.

“I was on top of the world- but then, somehow, Alberta found out about my prostitution days so I had to run- so I took on the name 'Becky Salisbury' in an attempt to evade the Albertan authorities. The same man who trained me as a fighter found me a job here, in Sunshine City, so I took it...I work as his executive assistant for his private investigation firm...or at least I did.”

“What happened to your employer?” said Alonso as the team's interest was piqued.

“You guys found him today,” Raven said. “Dead.”

“Martin Coleman was your trainer?” said Deadpool, his eyes wide with shock. “What an amazing coincidence...this must be a crime novel or something...”
“Life imitates art many times,” said Raven with a smile. “That's why I wanted to talk to you, Deadpool...because I saw Martin earlier and thought I could help. I also thought you weren't a cop then, so couldn't turn me in.”
“Well we can't turn you in now anyway,” said Bullock, looking on a database on his phone. “Your record is clean in Alberta, I can confirm that. It's clean everywhere, in fact.”

Raven smiled, acknowledging the news before continuing her story.

“Anyway,” said Raven. “Martin took an interest in me because he told me I reminded him of an erstwhile friend of his, Tom Kirkman. Martin says Tom blamed him for raping my mother, but Martin believes Tom did. One of the reasons Martin came here was that he wanted to investigate the circumstances of my mother's rape and understand what really happened...he wanted to write a book about it, implicating Tom if he was indeed involved.”
“There'd be a lot of money there,” said Thurman. “The President accused of rape? That's a story the public will eat up.”

A thought came to Street.

“Do you think the President had Coleman killed to keep him from exposing the truth?” said Street.
“I'd say right now it's a very good possibility,” said Morgan. “I can't think of anyone else with the manpower and the resources to be able to track down Coleman here and kill him, especially with such a highly specific M.O.”
“Don't you think, Derek,” said Bullock, “that perhaps Kirkman would cover his tracks a bit better? Why down him with Valium? That's going to arouse suspicion. Wouldn't it be better just to shoot him?”
“You do have a point,” said Morgan, “but, right now, we don't have any other leads.”

“Martin stayed in Sunshine City with people he named Jim and Cory,” said Raven. “I never learned their last names, unfortunately.”
“What do you know about the night your mother was raped?” said Morgan.
“Not much, unfortunately,” said Raven. “I just know someone in that quartet did it and likely gave birth to me...I'm willing to submit my DNA test to see if Tom Kirkman really is my father...might give some closure on that part of my life.

“You know,” said Deadpool, “I think the Toronto Maple Leafs have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup than we'll ever have getting the President of North America to submit to a DNA test.”

The group chuckled sardonically.

“What about Martin?” asked Thurman. “Could he have produced you?”
“No,” said Raven. “We checked...believe me, we checked.”
“Which leaves the other three,” said Morgan, “and one of them will be one major pain in the rear.”

Bullock then took a look at his watch.

“Well,” he said, “it's 6:30...I think it's time we call it a day. Raven, thank you for your information.”
“That's it?” said Raven, shocked at the development.
“See this is the time where life doesn't imitate art,” said Bullock. “You've given us great information...but, as far as we can tell, there's no one in immediate danger and we're still not ready to make any additional moves...besides, rest is essential to reset the brain so it can focus on the task at hand at a later time.”
“Oh,” said Raven with a restrained smile. “I see.”

“Is something wrong Raven?” said Morgan.

Raven let out a sigh and struggled to respond.

“I'll be fine,” she said unconvincingly.
“That doesn't sound like someone who is going to be 'fine',” said Morgan pointedly.
“Are you sure you're fine or are you just telling yourself that?” said Thurman with a smirk.

“Look,” said Raven, still struggling. “When I saw Martin dead...my brain's been going through a whirlwind...I've been thinking so many thoughts that I have no idea how to keep any of them straight.”
“That's expected,” said Morgan. “You and Martin were close...I wouldn't expect you to not take his death hard.”
“It's not just that,” said Raven. “With him dead, I'm not just unemployed I'm homeless...part of his office was converted into an apartment space for me...I was hoping to tag along with the case so I didn't have to worry about this part of my life...at least not yet.”

Raven then broke down and cried, burying her head in her arms to muffle the sound of her sobs, though they were still loud.

“Raven,” said Bullock, “there's a couch in one of our break rooms you can use for the time being. We've got food vending machines and coffee and milk that you can use. You can stay there for the night and tomorrow you can go back to Martin's business and claim your stuff.”
“...and then what?” said Raven.
“We'll figure something out for you,” said Morgan. “We're probably going to need you on this case still...and you've been through a lot. We don't want to leave you on a lurch.”

Raven was relieved, though still sombre.

“Thanks guys,” she said, sheepishly.

Alonso then left with Raven to show her where she would be staying as Morgan and Bullock retired to Bullock's office.

“Do you believe anything she's said,” said Morgan after closing the door.
“I've got no reason to doubt her right now,” said Bullock. “We've got no other credible leads...as crazy as it sounds, the President conspiring to murder Martin Coleman makes a lot of sense.”
“She certainly looked like someone who had a connection to Coleman,” said Morgan. “She pursued us, and there aren't any contradictions in her story.”
“We'll just need proof that Tom Kirkman was in Sunshine City around the time Raven would have been conceived,” said Bullock. “As much as our suppositions hold up, the President isn't going to submit to a DNA test unless we've got some ironclad evidence that links him to the scene of the crime.”
“True,” said Morgan. “I just want to know how we're going to find records from 25 years ago.”

Bullock smiled.

“You're in luck,” he said. “Paradise Resorts keeps a record of every patron that has stayed at the resort since it opened in 1969. They do this because they have a deal- stay there for nine trips of a similar length-”
“-get your tenth one for free,” said Morgan with a smile of his own.
“How'd you know that?” said Bullock.
“I've taken advantage of it,” said Morgan, “and my dad tried to...one year, we stayed at Paradise for nine trips of a single night and then tried to book the tenth for a whole month...Paradise said 'no', pointing us to the part of their policy that states for the 'tenth' trip to count, it has to be a of a similar length to previous trips, judged at Paradise's sole discretion. My dad was mad...screamed they were being racist but my mama put him in his place...because it's a perfectly reasonable rule.”
“Anyway,” said Bullock, “for Paradise to know this, they need a record of everyone who has been there, because it's a lifetime policy. So we'll just need to get Paradise's records and then we can prove that President Kirkman was there- or not.”

Morgan nodded before getting a sullen look on his face.

“Unfortunately,” said Morgan, “I'd ask my friend Penelope for help...but she and the entire BAU- a new one created by Emily Prentiss- are under investigation by the Department of Justice for multiple abuses of the law, including illegal searches of which Penelope has done...”
“Many,” said Bullock with a sigh. “I know.”
“I guess we have to do it the old fashioned way,” said Morgan. “The good ol' fashioned search warrant...”
“Paradise is usually pretty good about helping us,” said Bullock. “They know how important it is to keep the crime down...so we may not need a warrant.”
“OK,” said Morgan. “After dinner I'll go down and get the list. It should be small...we're looking at 1993 and 1994, and only for one name.”
“It still could be quite lengthy,” said Bullock. “Thousands stay at the resort daily.”
“At least we'll know what we're going to do tomorrow,” said Morgan with a grin.