“It would appear there is a high amount of traffic going through Sector 15, Mr. Walker,” Marianne announced. John Walker came out of his office after filing away completed reports.
He leaned on her desk as he pushed up his glasses, studying the screen intently. “Well, look at that. Seems the Heritage Front’s gettin’ a might itchy ta start somethin’.” He stood up straight and crossed his arms over his chest. “What’s the full details on that, Mary?”
Marianne tapped a few keys, and a legend was brought up, overlayed on the schematic. “Heavy weaponry movement,” she reported in her crisp British accent. “And from these readings, it would indicate a high amount of radioactive energy.”
“So alotta them purple cotton candy men ‘re runnin’ through the sewers,” John said matter of factly. “They usually stick ta the desert. ‘Less o’ course they usin’ the sewer network ta come up near Potter.” He sighed heavily as he contemplated the situation. And then Mary gave the word after seeing something very different.
“This indicates a high amount of magical energy, Mr. Walker,” she said, pointing to a particularily red patch on the screen.
“Well, well,” John stated with a smile crossing his lips. “Now what do Heritage Front want with Weaver magic. That is the signature we’re readin’, right Mary?”
“As we’ve often seen before.”
John’s smile cracked to a grin as he spoke. “Annie, git yer gun. Time ta hit the sewers an’ go huntin’.”
“Here it is, Mr. Walker,” Mary replied with a smile as she handed him a thick file from one of the cabinets.
“Thank you, Mary,” John said in his charming fashion as he gently took the file. Time to get to work, and who knew what the day would bring about. After all, he had a lot of work each week as the lead investigator for Walker Security and Investigations. The morning went rather quickly, scheduling security details with employees, seeing clients on case matters, and meeting with attorneys to cover case material and what needed to be investigated. Lunch came around and John drove casually into the section of Amarillo known as Potter County.
He had a meeting, one with someone who had become a friend. John had a nagging feeling that bothered him. He knew exactly what it was, but he needed to relieve that feeling. And the only way he could do so was by telling Detective James Mallard the truth. He pulled the Rancharo into the parking lot, smiling to himself as he saw Mallard waiting with coffee in hand, going over some notes at one of the sidewalk tables. “Never seen a man work as hard as you do, James,” John called out as he locked up his vehicle.
“Trust me,” Mallard replied without looking up. “It keeps me out of trouble. Don’t want to worry Linda any.”
“True ‘nough, Detective,” John replied as he sat down. “Fine lady like that deserves someone by ‘er side.”
James studied John Walker for a moment as a waitress brought out a coffee for him. Always with that southern charm of his, calling most women he met darlin’. “What’s on your mind, Walker. You called me, remember?”
John took a sip of his coffee, inhaled the aroma that came from the cup and looked across the small table to James. “What I gotta say, James, ain’t somethin’ ya tell a priest. I ain’t gotta make right with the Lord, I gotta make right with my own concious.”
“Does this look like a confessional? Did you ever see a priest with a sidearm and an Irish coffee?” James replied with a chuckle as he patted the gun holstered under his shoulder.
Walker chuckled as he lit a cigarette “Got it in one, James. Things changed a lot. People say I kinda a hard ass sometimes, but I guess that come from what I seen in my life.” Walker’s light hearted demeanor soon changed, like a performance vehicle stopping on a dime. “You ever heard o’ a man named Operative Violet Rose?”
“Yep. Figured he had issues, since ‘Violet Rose’ sounds like some two-bit stripper name.”
“Heh, yeah, I alway thought it were kinda a stupid name. But he were Illuminati,” he replied, taking a sip of his coffee, then looked directly to James “An’ I know the name an’ the man, intimately.” James arched an eyebrow as he nursed his own coffee. Part of him knew already where the conversation was going. “I quit, James. I got out. All fer one thing. A little girl. Life’s too short an’ too precious ta do the things I used ta do. ‘Specially when there’s some girl needs her daddy.”
“There’s always a woman, isn’t there…” James sat back and rubbed his forehead.
“Maybe. But I got tired o’ it. Tired o’ the lies, tired o’ the killin’. Don’t go start sayin’ I found the Lord ‘r nuthin’, b’cause I know damn well that I’m gonna burn in hell fer the things I done. I ain’t got no disillusions ’bout bein’ forgiven for what I done come judgement day. But maybe I can make right what needs ta be made right here an’ now.”
James looked down at his coffee and sighed again as he spoke in a quiet tone. “What do you need from me, John?”
“Fer now, just needed someone ta listen. I trust you, James. Ever since I first met ya. You got that look in yer eye that a man can know right ‘way that he ain’t gonna get no bull from ya.” Walker took a long drag from the cigarette, then crushed it in the ash tray. “An’ maybe I needed ta clear my own concious by sayin’ it aloud ta someone else. Times gonna come when I may leave this world. An’ I gotta know that Danny’s gonna be able ta find someone ta look up ta.”
“And you’re looking here?” asked as he shook his head.
“Gonna show me some other place ta look?” John chuckled lightly. “Maybe I go up to Blue Steel an’ let him know.”
James studied John for a long time before answering, letting the Texan talk. He had read the reports of Operative Violet Rose, and he’d heard the man simply fell off the face of the planet. If what John was saying was true, then he had an arrest which would break open an entire organization, erasing years of chaos and death as Illuminati could be brought down. But he also knew John Walker. In the six years he’d seen the man work, he’d never seen anyone more dedicated to preserving the peace than this man. James took another sip of coffee and shook his head.
“John.” James paused for just a moment as he thought of the right words to say. And realized, there was only one way to say what needed to be said. “I’ve known you for six years. And that has got to be the biggest line of bullshit I’ve ever heard.” John Walker put his coffee cup down as he started to laugh aloud.
“Is that what you think it is?”
“Yes, yes I do.”
“Well, alright then. Maybe it is.” John looked James right in the eye, and saw that there was something deeper to what the detective felt than was being said. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t believe it, it was that he was forcing himself not to believe it. “Alright. Then that’s that.” John looked at his watch and flashed a smile. “Gotta head back ta work m’self.” He rose from his chair and placed the appropriate money on the table, enough to pay for both his and James’s. “Miss,” John said as a waitress came by. “Take care o’ this young man. Keep ‘im on ‘is toes an’ make sure he heads home alright.” The waitress laughed at the comment and looked to Mallard. Mallard simply smiled.
“Keep your sights clean, Walker,” James called after him.
“You better b’lieve it. See ya on the trail, Sherrif.” Walker eased back into his vehicle, the smile never leaving his face.