Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Sunshine City Chronicles, The Freshmen- Part 8: The Pasquinade of Justice


June 7, 2018,
10:12 local time,
The Oval Office, The White House,
Buffalo, Roman New York

“Lieutenant Mayhew,” said President Tom Kirkman to Lieutenant Alfred Mayhew (U-Va), the House of Lieutenants Majority Leader, “thank you for taking the time for meeting with me.”
“You're welcome, Mr. President,” said Mayhew, getting comfortable in his chair.

Kirkman wasted no time getting down to business.

“Look I'm going to be brief,” said Kirkman. “There's no way I am going to restore the Behavioural Analysis Unit. Their crimes against the people are too egregious and for me to extend any kind of clemency to them would be to make a mockery of our justice system. I trust the analysis of the Department of Justice and their conclusions, so the decision is final.”
“I knew you would say that,” said Mayhew. “I'm just going to ask that you forget the technicalities and consider the results. The BAU acted in good faith...the reasons that Linda Barnes imposed on them for not investigating Kevin Peck were frivolous and frankly arbitrary.”

Kirkman could only chuckle and shake his head before responding.

“Yet the BAU knew they were violating her orders,” said Kirkman, “and the other former members that tagged along to the case also knew they were violating orders and protocol. As I understand, Penelope Garcia was strictly forbidden by her new boss to investigate Peck as far as she did, and David Rossi was technically retired yet he somehow gained clearance to interview a suspect in prison, of which only Federal agents are allowed to do. Emily Prentiss also knocked down the door of a dwelling of which she did not have a warrant to enter, and the BAU also gained access to Peck's apartment without a warrant as well. Not only that, but Luke Alvez intimidated a hotel clerk into divulging guest information by waving his badge in his face.”

His voice grew angrier and more forceful in tone as he continued.

“...and this is just one case,” Kirkman said. “Garcia herself has pulled countless records- especially medical records- as evidence in cases despite not obtaining warrants to gather such information, Jennifer Jareau once put an arrest at risk by refusing to see the obvious solution, Prentiss allowed a suicide to take place right in front of her, and Matt Simmons- when he led the International Response Team- allowed Zoe Hawkes to rot in a Jalisciense jail because he refused to challenge the assertions of the authorities in Jalisco and even suppressed evidence by deleting a cognitive interview he did with her. She suffered for three months getting regularly beaten and raped by the prison guards and needed a further six months off the job recovering from the trauma of her experience, mentally and physically. Zoe is all that is left of the BAU because she refused to assist Prentiss when the 'team' went rogue, and while I am open to giving her assistance, that assistance will not come from the ranks of the old BAU that Prentiss was so sloppily in charge of.”

Kirkman then leaned forward and looked Mayhew right in the eyes, his steely glare rattling the Lieutenant.

“Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant?” said Kirkman unrelentingly.

Mayhew sat in his chair and shuffled, stewing over what he had just heard. He took in a few deep breaths to gather his thoughts before he responded.

“Emily Prentiss has been in charge for hardly a year and a half,” said Mayhew. “She's still learning...truth is, if Lieutenant Milner didn't write the report that effectively ended Agent Hotchner's career, the BAU wouldn't be in this predicament.”
“...and you would be correct,” said Kirkman, “but that's not going to absolve the BAU of any of the wrongs they have committed.”
“Doesn't the fact that Hotch personally recommended Prentiss for BAU Chief mean anything?” said Mayhew. “Prentiss may have made a lot of mistakes and her leadership style is different than Hotch's...but she's a distinguished agent, she shouldn't be thrown under the bus like this.”
“No, she should,” said Kirkman, “because she regularly made mistakes no one in any police academy would ever make...we're talking about Hollywood levels of incompetence, the kind of mistakes lazy screenwriters make detectives do in order to add pointless 'drama' to their shows...no one should ever make those mistakes in real life, but here we are, with Prentiss have demonstrably made those inconceivable errors. Aaron Hotchner never once made those mistakes.”
“Elle Greenaway,” said Mayhew, folding his arms.
“Elle Greenaway went rogue,” said Kirkman. “She took actions into her own hands and put Hotchner in a tough spot. While I grant that Hotchner should have made a better choice with the security detail on Agent Greenaway's home, that's hardly the same level of mistake as kicking down a door without a warrant and allowing the seizure of scores of unauthorized evidence and subjecting her own teammate to months of torture because she could not be bothered to look for evidence that would exonerate her teammate. Hawkes was only released because a drug runner ran his mouth and forced Jalisciense authorities to investigate him- if it wasn't for that, Hawkes may still be rotting in a jail.”

Kirkman then decisively took off his glasses and again looked Mayhew straight in the eye.

“Don't even bother trying to make a response,” said Kirkman, “because I am tired of dealing with your nonsense. I do not care what excuses you have for the BAU- they have proven, time and again, that they have no interest in following the rules and regulations that so dearly help maintain and preserve a civilized society. I have to put my foot down and stamp out this maverick ridiculousness, because society cannot function if those who are paid to uphold order do not follow that order themselves.

“The BAU have made a pasquinade of the justice system...there is no further discussion on their continuance. Special Agent Ritter will see you out, Lieutenant. Good day!”

Mayhew left in a huff, offering a few choice words for the President who was unperturbed by the display. Kirkman was too busy dealing with the multitude of notes on his desk to be bothered by his belligerent Lieutenant.

Moments later Kirkman's Chief Legal Counsel, Aaron Shore, walked into the Oval Office alongside Kirkman's Chief of Staff, Emily Rhodes, both of whom were young and slender individuals.

“Aaron, Emily,” said Kirkman, noting his guests' demeanour. “What can I do for you?” It was odd for both Shore and Rhodes to enter his office at the same time, so Kirkman knew they had something important.

“Sir we've received a request for a paternity test from you,” said Shore in his usual sternly deadpanned delivery.
“A paternity test?” said Kirkman, scoffing at the suggestion. “No- I'm not going through with it. How many do I get in one week? A dozen? Fifty? Fifty thousand? No, absolutely not.”
“You had 4833 last week,” said Shore matter-of-factly, “including 9259 people who have claimed they are your cousin.”

Kirkman threw his hands up in the air and smiled with glee.

“See?” he said, “I rest my case.”

“Sir,” said Rhodes, unrelenting from her serious tone, “we've got reason to believe that this request may actually have some merit. There was a murder in Sunshine City sometime in the early morning hours of June 4, and he was a former friend of yours.”
“Who?” said Kirkman, confused.
“Martin Coleman,” said Shore, opening Kirkman's high school senior yearbook to the page with Coleman's picture, which Shore circled.

“Pfft,” said Kirkman, pushing the book away. “I haven't spoken to Coleman in 25 years...we graduated high school and lost touch. I'm sorry for his family but I have nothing to do with his murder...and what does this have to do with a paternity test anyway?”
“The records contradict your words,” said Shore. “Paradise Resort in Sunshine City has a record of you staying there on December 16, along with Coleman and two other men named Jim Zack and Cory Fellows. You checked out in the early morning hours of December 18, along with Zack, Fellows and Coleman.”
“That's very interesting,” said Kirkman, “I apologize that my memory isn't perfect, especially after twenty five years.”
“...but that's not all, Mr. President,” said Rhodes.

Kirkman reacted with mock surprise before chuckling hysterically.

“Oh, it gets better!” he said. “What is this, a bad soap opera?”
“We have a woman who claims you raped her mother that night in Sunshine City,” said Shore. “Based on her gestational period, the timeline actually fits that she was conceived when you were in Sunshine City.”
“OK,” said Kirkman, deciding to play along, “so there may be something- but, who is this woman I supposedly raped? How do I know this daughter that I have was even conceived in Sunshine City? It's not like a fetus has a marker indicating where she was born. What's her proof that she was born in Sunshine City?”
“Conceived,” said Shore with a frustrated sigh.
“Whatever,” said Kirkman. “You know what I mean.”
“Martin Coleman told her,” said Rhodes.
“The dead guy,” said Kirkman, “whom we can't ask for verification.”
“Yes,” said Shore, “but statements given by both Zack and Fellows to Sunshine City Police confirm Coleman's account...they even gave the mother a name, Nancy Simpson, who we can confirm also stayed at the Resort the same time you did.”
“Jim and Cory are both still alive,” said Rhodes, “so we can ask them to confirm their statements.”

Kirkman shook his head and laughed.

“This is all just poppycock,” he said. “Just some people looking for attention...we really have bigger problems to worry about than some blowhards who can't understand their best days have long since gone.”
“So I take it the answer is 'no',” said Shore matter-of-factly.
“Yes,” said Kirkman forcefully. “My answer is an emphatic 'no'. Is there anything else?”
“One thing,” said Rhodes. “Quebec Premier Justin Trudeau wants to know when you can come back to Montreal to formally commemorate the street he's naming after you in Kirkland.”

Kirkman hemmed and hawed, flailing his arms as he pondered a response. He'd been leaving Trudeau hanging on that matter for quite some time.

“You know what,” he said, “Tomorrow. “I'll fly up first thing in the morning.”
“All right,” said Rhodes, “I'll make the arrangements.”

With that, Rhodes and Shore left the Office, upon which Rhodes asked Shore to walk with her outside of the Office premises to a quiet alleyway, where their conversation could not be recorded.

“What's wrong Emily?” said Shore, grabbing Rhodes' shoulders and rubbing them. Now that he was outside of the Office he could more properly show affection to his girlfriend, a relationship both hid from Office workers.

“I don't believe Tom at all,” she said. “See how dismissive he was?”
“I saw it too,” said Shore. “He knows he did something wrong and he doesn't want to admit it to us.”
“So what are we going to do?” said Rhodes, clutching Shore's hand. “I don't want to think that he raped Nancy Simpson...but we can't let that go.”

Shore then brought Rhodes close to him in an embrace.

“I don't want to let it go,” said Shore. “The problem is, how can we investigate this without the President knowing?”
“I could take an emergency day,” said Rhodes. “Blame stress or something...then I could go talk to Jim and Cory myself.”
“I'll go,” said Shore. “You need to be with the President...it would raise too many suspicions if you took a day off. Besides, you don't know where they are...I do. At least I have the capability of finding them.”
“I have a better idea,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes then pulled out her personal cell phone and sent a carefully coded text message. Within twenty minutes, Speaker of the House Rep. Kimble Hookstraten (F-Mis.) met the pair in the alleyway looking to get down to business.

“Hey Kim,” said Rhodes. “I'm sorry for doing this to you on such short notice.”
“It's no problem,” said Hookstraten. “As you know, I've been looking for something like this.”
“That's why we thought you were perfect,” said Shore. “If we investigate, we look like we're undermining our boss...if you investigate...”
“I do risk turning this into a partisan affair,” said Hookstraten pointedly.
“...but the difference,” said Rhodes, “is that if we sent Haylie Modine or another Unionist then when the story comes out it becomes easy to dismiss as 'part of their politics', since they're all about 'rape culture' and things like that. You're actually on record as being dismissive of the idea of 'rape culture' and you and many in your party have stood up for due process rights...if you come out and find Jim and Cory's story has credibility, then the wider public might believe you more than a Unionist who's 'pushing their narrative'.”
“Plus both Jim and Cory are constituents,” said Shore. “You'll just look like you're helping your district.”
“All right,” said Hookstraten, “I'll do it- but I won't be able to fly out until this weekend, when I'm supposed to go back to my District anyway.”
“Thank you Kim,” said Shore, bringing relief to both him and Rhodes.

Hookstraten then started to walk away before she turned around and addressed Shore and Rhodes one last time.

“I just have one question,” said Hookstraten pointedly.
“Shoot,” said Rhodes.
“Why are you so interested in bringing down the President?” Hookstraten asked. “You work for him...shouldn't you be loyal?”
“This is a serious allegation,” said Shore, “one that we think actually has truth in it. This could cost him his Presidency, upon which we won't be working for him anymore.”
“Besides,” said Rhodes. “How many times has Tom gone on one of his self-righteous rants to some poor soul and you just want to tell him, 'no, you're wrong' but you can't because Tom is right? He can't claim the moral high ground forever.”

Hookstraten laughed in acknowledgement.

“OK,” said Hookstraten. “Get me their contact info and I'll have the information to you by Monday.”