The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Bloody Shadows (Part Two)

Karkana Chronicles Eight

March 1, 2013 (Morning)

That morning, Brianna and Joey decide to swing by Quincy’s hotel. On the way, Brianna calls Mel and lets him know that she has another family obligation that has taken her and Joey to Seattle and that Joey won’t be able to fight this weekend. Mel, as expected, is pissed, but will work out a different fight schedule with different fighters. Brianna says she will pay back his promotional costs and he responds “damn right you will.”

On the way to the hotel, Brianna is on the lookout for anyone following them and Brianna gives Joey a description of Alissa Tanner, especially her predatory walk. As Brianna and Joey pull around to the Downtown Sheridan, they notice a fair number of police cars parked out front. Looking at the building, both Brianna and Joey think that someone with enough athletic ability could move from balcony to balcony outside the building. Brianna also rules out shapeshifting on the part of Red Court vampires, unless they also use black magic.

Brianna and Joey go inside the hotel, noticing a lot of hustle and bustle in the lobby, and head straight for the elevator, as if they know what they’re about. They go straight to the sixth floor (Quincy’s room was 605). As soon as the elevator doors open, they are met by a uniformed police officer who asks them for their room key. They notice room 605 with crime scene tape around the door and a great many police personnel in the hall.

Brianna gets a quick impression of the hall. She notices room 604 and 606 around 605 and that all three rooms face the east wall. She quickly recovers “I don’t think this is my floor. Sorry to disturb you.” She hits the lobby button on the elevator panel.

She and Joey sit in the lobby for a while to think. They observe the busy lobby. There are bellhops helping guests, a concierge, the front desk staff, a restaurant/bar area (currently closed). Dissatisfied with any of their conclusions, the two head out.

They then go to Pioneer Square and drive by the club where Quincy picked up Chandra Hinckley. The club is currently closed, but will re-open at 7:00 pm. Joey says, “We’ll probably get more leads tonight.”

“I trying to decide if I want to contact one of my few contacts here. She’s White Court so she may be willing to talk to me,” Brianna says.

“Do you think she knows anything?” Joey asks.

“I don’t know. If there’s anything going on in the months I’ve been gone, she’d know. Let’s see what we find tonight. Then try her. She may not even see me.”

Brianna puts her ear to the ground regarding the supernatural community, getting out and gathering information. She hears that the Red Court has been steadily making gains. There haven’t been any strange murders like what Quincy has been accused of. Alissa is quite put out with the Raiths and with the Karkana. And the local weres, particularly the pack lead by Dexter Quinn, have working the Warden to maintain order. Based on this information, both Joey and Brianna speculate for a while on Alissa’s involvement in Quincy’s framing.

The two head back to the hotel room and set the alarm for 6:00 pm. They then get up and dress to go to the club/bar where Quincy picked up Chandra Hinckley. They head out to the bar and mingle with the guests, gathering information.

Joey’s more successful than Brianna, determining that Chandra often came to the club between flight attendant gigs. Joey also manages to spot Detective Loomis in the crowd, apparently doing the same thing as they are, gathering information from the crowd. He spots them and makes a beeline for Brianna.

“I thought I told you not to interfere with this investigation,” he says without preamble.

“I’m not interfering,” Brianna says.

“Then what do you call it?”

“Getting justice for my cousin. He said his balcony was open when he woke up. Has this angle been investigated yet?”

Loomis frowns. “All avenues are being investigated.”

“Good.”

“Including this one.”

“Well, if you don’t mind, Detective Loomis, I’m going to get a drink.”

Loomis motions towards the bar.

Brianna goes to bar and orders a double. Loomis continues about his business, showing a photo around the bar patrons and asking questions. Brianna turns to Joey. “He’s going to make my job more difficult, Joey.” The two wait for Loomis to leave. Eventually, he does.

Around 9:00 pm, Brianna and Joey head back to the Sheridan. They note that there is not as big a police presence as this morning. They head into the bar/restaurant area and sit at the end of the bar. Brianna attempts to flirt with the male bartender and pump him for information about the events upstairs. No dice—he’s pleasant, but isn’t talking. Joey speculates that he’s “playing for the other team.”

Brianna is worrying about feeding tonight when she sees a young man enter the hotel lobby and approach the front desk. She overhears part of the conversation he has with the front desk staff. He is apparently picking up his final paycheck. He’s not happy about it. He insists that he was not drunk last night, that he didn’t drink a drop. “Sorry,” the desk manager says, “The general manager was firm. Here’s your check.”

Brianna approaches, sipping in the anger from the young man.

The young man takes the check. “I don’t need this job anyway,” he says, despondent. He walks away.

Brianna intercepts him, matching his stride. “I’m sorry, I overheard part of that conservation. that an awful accusation to make about someone.”

“Yeah. Yeah it was,” the young man says.

“Can he just make that kind of statement:? What kind of evidence did they have?”

“Well, I was acting kind of dopey, I guess.”

“Acting dopey’s not…were you doing you job?”

“Yeah…yeah I was. Mostly.”

“Why do you say you were acting dopey? I was heading out to get some coffee. Would you like one?”

“Yeah, okay.”

By this time, Brianna and the young man have made it outside the hotel and Joey is following close behind them. Brianna leads them to a nearby coffee shop and sets them down. Joey lingers not too far behind them, but doesn’t interfere. Brianna and the young man, whose name is Dwight Higgins, for a time, before getting back to the topic at hand.

“There was this blonde,” he says, “she took me aside, just like in the movies, and kissed me. Things get a bit fuzzy after that. That’s when I remember acting kind of dopey.”

“Like you were drugged? Like you did thing you normally wouldn’t do?”

“Yes.”

“Like what?”

“Well, I let this blond into a guest’s room.”

“What room?”

“I don’t know.”

“What happened to the blond?”

“I haven’t seen her since.”

“Can you describe this blond?

“Young, blond, real pretty.”

Brianna asks probing questions about the description of the blond based on Alissa’s description. She could be a match, or it could be another pretty blond.

“Where did you meet this blond?” Brianna asks.

“On the sixth floor. About 11:00 pm.”

“It sounds like she had some kind of drugged lipstick. You’re lucky you got away okay.”

“I suppose so,” Dwight says.

“Dwight, I’m sorry that happened to you. Are they going to give you any references or are you going to have to start over?”

“Drunk on the job?” Dwight asks, incredulous.

“You’re right. Well, its been nice having a cup of coffee with you. I’m in Seattle for business. I don’t know if you’d be interested in getting another cup of coffee before I have to leave?”

“Sure.”

The two exchange phone numbers.

Brianna heads to the car and Joey meets her soon thereafter. “I think it was that bitch Alissa,” Brianna says. “It sure sounds an awful lot like her. I’m going to need to find some place to feed.”

She does some asking about and finds an underground rave party—perfect. They go out to the riverfront where, at a warehouse, there’s plenty of thrash metal, people with body art and piercings, and a wicked mosh pit. Joey stays on the periphery and hangs out at the makeshift bar while Brianna plunges into the middle of the pit. She gets into the physical dancing for a bit and then incites rage into one of the moshers, feeding at the same time. He begins thrashing about in a rage, fighting with one of his fellow dancers and she smiles, sated. She backs away from the chaos she’s caused and dances a while longer, thinking and thrashing out her aggression and frustration. Finally, she finds Joey. “I need a bag,” he says.

They find a 24 hour gym and hit the bag for a while. Then they go back to the hotel. Joey asks “What’s next?”

“If I can get a picture of Alissa, I can get Dwight to ID her. Being as how she’s the get of the Margrave here, It wouldn’t be wise to move against her based on ‘the blond’,” Brianna says.

She continues, "The only other White Court I know is that dominatrix. I won’t be getting invited to any White Court parties. I just know that the Red Court is gaining power daily. If it was Alissa, and she was doing this because she is put out because of the last interaction she had with the White Court, then she marked Quincy as Karkana. One of the questions I need to answer is if he knew her already. If he never heard of her, then somehow she found out about him, found out where he was staying, found out when he seeing a woman, and moved against him. That’s a lot of information. I have a hard time believing Alissa would follow a random couple back from a club and frame the man for murder.

“Tomorrow I need to see if I can get another fifteen minutes with Quincy. Maybe get a picture of Alissa. Maybe speak with the Dominatrix. That’s the agenda for tomorrow.”

Brianna and Joey move furniture in front of their door, on the off chance that Alissa tries to get into their hotel room.

March 2, 2013 (Saturday)

Brianna calls the precinct house and asks to talk to Detective Loomis.

“This is Detective Loomis,” a deep voice says on the line.

“Good morning, Detective. This is Brianna Karkana. May I see my cousin today?”

“That depends.”

“That depends on what, Detective Loomis?”

“That depends on whether or not you are going to share what you’re seeing about this case or simply going to continue to interfere in this case?”

“I guess that depends on whether sharing information with you gets me slapped with any official interference with police actions, wouldn’t it?”

Loomis sighs. "I grow tired of these games, Ms. Karkana. “Your cousin is being questioned by a consultant right now. You can see him for another 15 minutes when they’re done. If you continue to interfere with my investigation, I will book you for obstruction. But if you cooperate, we may just bring a killer to justice.”

“I’ll be there in 20 minutes,” Brianna says and hangs up.

Brianna shares her conversation with Joey as they head to the precinct house. When they get there, she announces her presence and says “I’m looking for Detective Loomis. He’s expecting me.”

When she gets to the Special Crimes Unit, she sees Loomis shaking hands with a tall, lanky Native American man with long hair and handsome features. Brianna immediately gets an interesting supernatural vibe from this man, which puts her on her guard. She starts sizing her up—and finds that he is doing the same to her. Loomis introduces the man as Ezekiel George.

“For what its worth, I do not believe your cousin is guilty of this crime,” Ezekiel says to Brianna.

“Good. I suppose that depends on how much the police believe you,” Brianna says.

“Unfortunately, my word does not carry much water in court.”

“Then we’ll just have to bring the actual killer to justice.”

“Sometimes that the best we can hope for.”

Brianna has turned to face Ezekiel, feeling that he is the bigger threat in the room right now.

“Loomis,” Ezekiel says, “Have a good day. Call me if you need me.”

Loomis nods. “I will. Keep in touch.”

Ezekiel leaves. Brianna turns to face Loomis. “Where did you want to do this?” she asks.

Loomis shows her and Joey to his office. The small room is slightly disheveled, with lots of files and papers strewn about. There are police academy certificates on the wall and pictures of another man in a Washington State Police uniform on the wall. He motions for them to sit down in the two other chairs in the room.

“So, what have you got?”

“Really only two pieces of information, one of which you may already have,” Brianna begins. “Chandra Hinckley was a frequent patron to that bar. She often went there between her airline gigs.”

Loomis is taking notes. “And?”

“The other piece is that a former employee of the hotel reported a strange blond woman on the sixth floor about 11 pm that night.”

Loomis looks up from his notes at Brianna. “A strange blond woman? Any more of a description?” Brianna gives a more thorough description based on what Dwight gave her. Loomis looks thoughtful. “What about this blond woman was strange?”

“He said she came up to him and kissed him and things got a bit fuzzy after that,” Brianna says.

Loomis’ face is a block of stone. “So she drugged him?”

“Sounds like it,” Brianna says.

“Blond woman?” Loomis confirms and looks thoughtful again. “This has been extremely helpful. Thank you.”

“He thinks she asked him to let her into another guest’s room,” Brianna continues.

Loomis’ eyes narrow. “What room?”

“He doesn’t know. He was drugged. It was very blurry for him.”

“You have a name for this worker?” Loomis asks.

“I do.”

“I need it.”

Brianna gives him Dwight’s name and phone number.

“Is there anything else?” Loomis asks.

“No. Has my cousin’s lawyer arrived?”

“Yes.”

“Is he going to be able to get out on bail?”

“His arraignment is on Monday. Bail will be set then.”

“Good.”

“However, if the killer is found before, it will be a moot point.”

“I suppose so,” Brianna concedes. “You must have a lot more leads than I do if you think the killer can be found and apprehended by Monday.”

“I want to talk to this Dwight. that may open quite a bit,” Loomis says.

“Does this blond woman mean anything to you?”

“Why do you ask?”

Brianna presses. “Just your comments on how quickly you can ramp up this case give me an idea. I suppose Seattle is a big city. Perhaps you have a lot of instances of blond women who drug people by kissing them?” She shrugs.

Loomis stares hard at Brianna.

“May I see my cousin now?”

“Yeah.”

Loomis gets up and leads the way to the holding cells. Brianna and Joey follow.

“Remember,” Loomis says, “Fifteen minutes.” Then he leaves.

Brianna sees Quincy pacing in his cell, agitated.

“How are you holding up?” she asks.

“Been better,” he says, through gritted teeth.

“Make it until Monday,” Brianna says.

“Have to,” Quincy says.

Brianna gets close to the cell to let him sip her pent up anger and frustration at this situation. She tells him what she found out at the club, from Dwight, what she told Detective Loomis, the scuttlebutt about Alissa regarding her axe to grind about the Raiths and the Karkana, and the description of the blond woman and how it matches Alissa.

“Have you met Alissa before?” she asks.

“No,” Quincy says.

“Do you go to this club frequently?”

“Been there from time to time?”

“Do you often get a bit to eat in Pioneer Square when you’re visiting?”

“Sometimes.”

“Had you that night?”

“No, but the night before?”

“Would you have been easily observed or were you dining more privately?

Quincy seems exasperated. “I wouldn’t say easily, but it’s possible to be observed, I guess.”

Brianna says, “If it was Alissa, she would have had to make you as a Karkana and then set her plan in action. What did that consultant talk to you about, that Ezekiel George? I got an odd vibe off that one.”

Quincy nods. “I did too. But he was pleasant enough. He just asked me about that night. Everything Loomis asked. Had me go over it again. But he seemed to think I was innocent.”

“He said as much to me at Loomis’ office. But did you notice any odd behavior? Just a vibe?”

Quincy shakes his head. “No. Just an intensity.”

Brianna changes the topic. “So. Politics. If this situation is what I think it is, what exactly does that mean for us and for the family? This will be the second time in as many months that a particular court is causing trouble.”

Quincy says, “The Patriarch has declared for the White Council. So as far as he’s concerned, the Red Court is an enemy.”

“Well, they certainly are acting like it. I guess it remains to be seen whether the rest of the White Court will reach such conclusions.”

Loomis comes in: “Time’s up.”

Brianna says, “Very well,” and touches Quincy’s hand one last time. Then she walks toward Loomis and Loomis leads the way out.

“What time is the arraignment?” Brianna asks.

“Nine a.m. At the courts building,” Loomis says.

“Is this information I gave enough to carry me over until the arraignment with visitation?”

“Are you going to continue to interfere in the investigation?”

“My interference got you quite some nice leads, wouldn’t you say?”

“Then I’ll need more such information for visitation.”

Brianna intentionally backs up so she doesn’t get up in Loomis’ personal space, as much as she’d like to.

“I see. I guess I’ll see what I can come up with.”

Brianna turns and leaves. Joey follows. Once they get outside, Brianna turns to Joey and says. “This is why I don’t work with the cops.”

She spends a good part of the day doing some snooping in the supernatural community on Ezekiel George and discovers that he is in fact the Warden of the White Council assigned to the Greater Seattle area. He has butted heads with Alfonse Velasquez many times and lived to tell the tale.

Later that afternoon, Brianna calls Detective Loomis and asks him to give Ezekiel George her contact number and to let him know she wishes to speak with him. She and Joey then go find a gym to go work out.

Later still that day, Brianna gets a call from Ezekiel George. There’s a lot of interference on the line, but she can still make him out.

“Thank you for calling,” she says, “I don’t feel like we were properly introduced last time we spoke. I didn’t realize I was speaking to the Warden of Seattle.”

“I think we were both wearing cloaks, Ms. Karkana.”

“That would be true. I feel like you had a slight advantage over me, however. Anyway, that’s not why I called. I would like to talk about the situation with my cousin. I feel like I can be more frank with you than with Detective Loomis. Did he share with you the information I gave him this morning?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact he did.”

“Good. Does Detective Loomis know what that actually means the situation is?”

“More than you do, probably,” Ezekiel says, without rancor.

“Interesting. I guess in that way, I’m glad. I didn’t want to point the good detective in a direction where he was woefully unprepared for what was going to find.” Brianna continues. “I am angry at the bitch that did this.”

“Do you know her?

“I have my suspicions.”

“As do we.”

“And as much as I would like to personally take satisfaction against this dishonor done to my House, my concern is for my cousin. My concern is that he has these charges dropped and that he walks out of there a free man. My kind don’t do well in captivity, as I’m sure you’re aware.”

“Loomis is looking into some extenuating facts of the case that could shed doubt on your cousin’s guilt…” Ezekiel begins.

“Good,” Brianna interrupts. “He needs to get out of that jail as soon as he can.”

“…but it will be hard.” Ezekiel finishes.

Brianna clenches her teeth. “Then how’s this going to work? it’s not like I can take someone from the Red Court and put them in front of a jury.”

“Exactly,” Ezekiel says.

“So can I have an idea of the game plan then? Because this becomes a moot point if my cousin is held long enough to become a danger to himself and to others.”

“Best case: Loomis finds enough extenuating evidence to drop the case. Worst case: the case goes to trial but evidence goes missing.”

“And my cousin pays the price.”

“And then your cousin goes free because of a mistrial.”

Brianna takes a deep breath. “As I understand it, the Margrave has quite a hold here in Seattle.”

“That’s true,” Ezekiel answers carefully.

“So what are you going to do once you figure out who did this? Because if its who we suspect it is, she’s quite close to him.”

“I’ll do what I have to do.”

“Good,” Brianna says.

“Your Patriarch has declared for the White Council.”

“Yes, he has.”

“Do you want to be there when we go after her?”

“Yes,” Brianna says without hesitation. “I can tell you, if Alissa sees me, she’ll probably come after me. We’re not particularly friends.”

“Alright then.”

“When you say ‘we’, who is ‘we’? Are you including the Detective in that? Or is this Dexter Quinn’s people?”

“Loomis and I.”

“Does Loomis know what my cousin and I are?”

“He knows about Quincy—he doesn’t know about you,” Ezekiel says.

“He hasn’t figured out the family name then. If she comes at me, I’ll defend myself. I don’t want there to be any surprises. I don’t want to get shot.”

“If you want, I can talk to him.”

“That would be lovely,” Brianna says. “If he understands Quincy, does he understand the inherent problems with keeping him locked up for long periods of time.”

“He doesn’t have much choice.”

“I understand that. But we may have to get creative somehow to get him to eat something.”

Ezekiel says, “After the arraignment, he’ll be transferred to County. That may alleviate some of the problem.”

“Perhaps, we’ll have to see.”

“I’ll call you when we get ready to move,” Ezekiel says.

“Alright. I appreciate it. Do you have an approximate time?”

“Might be as soon as tonight.”

“I’m staying in the downtown area. I should be able to move fairly quickly. If you could, can you persuade Detective Loomis to allow me to see Quincy tomorrow without this bizarre barter system? I provided you with a significant amount of information and I need to see how he’s doing.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

“I would sincerely appreciate it.”

“What about your companion?” Ezekiel asks.

“What about my companion?”

“Is he part of this fight?”

“Most likely. I’ll explain the situation to him. He usually has my back.”

“This is no ordinary fight,” Ezekiel says, wary.

“I know that. He knows that.”

“It’s up to you,” Ezekiel says, resigned.

“Very good. then I look forward to your phone call.” Brianna hangs up. She explains the situation to Joey and asks if he wants in. He does.

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