ASN 6.3 Info Dump

by Matt P.

With a suitable bribe, Siobhan was set up with Walter’s personal firearm and one of the SWAT officers as a guide. Part of the bribe had been that yes, Walter would come out and shoot with some of the SWAT team, and in return they also wouldn’t teach Siobhan stupid gun tricks. The Range Safety Officer had been thrilled to hear that there wouldn’t be shenanigans, although Siobhan had been disappointed. Now the team that was there had gathered around one of the picnic style tables at the range, for the information sharing.

“Sodium thiopental?” Alexander asked, considering the vial in the bag carefully. He turned it over, as if he could glean more information from it just by looking at a different angle. He handed it to Ashland when she held a hand out for it, and she gave it a similar once over. “So someone wanted to be unconscious, or I guess it could be the truth serum you people always bang on about; You did say it was the government.” He gave a look to Ashland, as if hoping she would either confirm or deny that the government actually had truth serum.

“Neither the FBI nor the CIA will officially comment on the existence of chemical compounds of that nature,” Ashland responded simply. She handed the vial back to Walter, who shrugged and handed it back to the Marshal.

“If it’s connected to our cases,” Walter said, “I’m going to guess that the unidentified compounds have something to do with Salvation. Maybe it can help us identify exactly what it does.” He shrugged. “And then there’s the case at the hospital. Did Dr. Winters send you her analysis of it?”

Ashland reached into her backpack and pulled out a couple of folded pieces of paper. “Yes. ‘A heretofore unseen drug interaction causing extreme anemia, coma, difficulty breathing, and slowed heartbeat. Effects last for an unknown amount of time, currently treating with’ and then a bunch of medical terms.” Ashland folded the papers back up. “Certainly seems like the kind of interaction that one might expect mixing drugs with barbiturates, but that could be arguing ahead of the facts.”

Walter nodded. “That was my thought too. We’ll have the lab run it and compare; Leah knows the techs and has a good background in chemistry, so I’ll have her work on that end. You mentioned that you had some info too?” He asked Ashland, raising an eyebrow as if daring hr to not be as sharing as he had been. But to his surprise, she pulled another couple of files out of the bag and put them on the table.

“There have been a couple of private investigators who have looked in to Salvation,” Ashland explained. “They are—surprisingly—all dead. Some of that can be explained by how long we suspect these cases have been going on, but some can’t. One caught our eye, however, because of the unusual coincidences.” She flipped through the files until she found the one she was looking for. “A man was hired to look into drug related disappearances in town. He found one girl who had run away to join some sort of cult worshiping a squid demon, and returned her, and he kept poking around looking for information. He was pretty good, but apparently the trail went cold because he stopped as far as I can tell.” She scowled. “This is all conjecture for now, although I’m hoping that you can help with that.”

She pulled a picture out, and slid it across the table to Walter. “Recognize this man?” She asked. He considered the picture carefully. It showed a spry looking man with neatly groomed white hair underneath a forest green hat, and a goatee; he could have been an old forty, dead on for his fifties, or even maybe a young looking sixty. He had piercing green eyes, and in the picture he was wearing a green blazer and a dark brown bow-tie. He looked like someone’s grandfather, Walter thought, the kind of grandfather with interesting stories and a varied past.

Walter didn’t recognize him, and he said as much—but he felt Ryan’s legs tense under the table next to him, all the sign the man gave of anything amiss. But it was a sign, and Walter filed it away for immediate follow-up when the CIA wasn’t at the table. “Can’t say I know him. Normally we ask that question if we suspect the other party has killed them?” He prompted.

Ashland smirked, and shook her head. Alexander leaned in to consider the picture, and he looked equally baffled; Ashland had apparently not even shared this bit of information with him before now. “I don’t think you killed him, Walter, I just think that you know who did. Well, hell,” she held up a hand to forestall his question, “We all know who did. He might have looked differently when you saw him last, but this is the charmingly named Arthur D. Mortimer, of Spenser Hills in one Border, Kansas. The last time you saw him I believe he had been murdered by the Three Stripes killers.”

Now Walter tensed as well, and looked at the picture. Images bolted through his brain like a wild horse—a slashed throat, gutted with what looked like burning knives, red and black and blood and three bloody stripes on the wall behind him. Walter had to take a second to steady himself, and he nodded. “I recognize that.”

“He had papers,” Ashland continued, pushing the point past Walter’s discomfort. “But they’re not in evidence. I don’t know why,” she offered with a look over at Alexander, “But I want to see them.”

“That…” Ryan said, considering the picture and sighing. “Will take another phone call.” He pulled out his cell phone. “With your permission, Marshal?” He asked Alexander, who nodded and sent him to do so.

“The papers were hired by Tania Summers, whom you met; she employed him as a private detective in some matters, although she hadn’t mentioned Salvation,” Walter explained. “We’ll find out if it will be easy or a pain in the ass to get the files in question in a minute, but—” he stopped when his own cell started ringing. It was the generic ringtone, not one he had saved for his children, brother-in-law, or Morgan. He expected to see ‘Tania’ on the screen, but instead it read ‘Tums.’

“Shit,” Walter cursed.

“Summers?” Ashland asked.

“No, and not Satan either, although I’d prefer that,” Walter sighed. He slid a finger to answer the phone, and put it up to his ear. “Yes, dear sister?”