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Next of Kin, Chapter Twenty-Three 31%

11/24/14

  12:53:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 859 words  
Categories: Next of Kin

Next of Kin, Chapter Twenty-Three 31%

  1. Twenty-Three, 31%

 

?Investigator Tip: It is common for a bullet wound to render the victim unconscious due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. However, audience members tend to react poorly to any activity that can be described as 'fainting' or 'swooning.'?

I was moving fast, inside a car. ?The good news, is I was able to trace the pay car,? Chase told me. ?The bad news, it was an associate of his, not a usual pay car, hence why they'd pick up a guy who just shot somebody on a street corner.? I couldn't focus past the pain. ?And of course, the worse news, that you're bleeding to death, you already know about.?

I realized I had my hand against my shoulder, that it was wet and warm, and I pulled it back to be able to look at it. The hand was keeping a hole plugged up, and without it there, blood spurted from the wound, and my blood pressure fell enough that I got faint, and smacked my head against the dash. ?Ow,? I said.

?Keep fucking pressure on it; I don't want you to bleed out in my front seat any more than you do.?

?Hospital?? I asked.

?I'm afraid you aren't that lucky,? he said.

I tried to pull up a map to see what he meant, but couldn't get a signal. We were already in the dead zone.

?Did he shoot me on camera?? I managed to ask over the course of what felt like a half an hour.

?Yes and no,? he said. ?He did, but he's using an app sold as the Reasonable Doubter. It basically systematically alters recording of a crime. It starts out subtle, like right now, it's just added crazy amounts of shadow to your attacker. But it's a progressive thing- attacking the footage in waves. It will try to make sure that the footage is completely unusable. And you might not have noticed it at the time, but he was ghosting another ID, and using a facial blur. At least for the spores. I've got forensics trying to back up your video feed, to see if he wasn't blurred there, but they're fighting with what is essentially a virus in their server, so, who knows what they'll be able to salvage.?

Suddenly the car stopped, and he was outside my door pulling me to my feet. I felt like a marionette, dangling but for the strings holding me up. We limped inside, and it wasn't until the flap fell off my eyes that I recognized we were back at Jenel's tent.

?What the fuck?? she asked, getting up from a folding table in the corner.

?You ought to know,? he said. ?I'm pretty sure you've been keeping as much of an eye on the kid as I have.?

?When I saw you pick him up I canceled my call to the ambulance. I assumed you'd take him to a hospital. I apparently gave you far too much credit.?

?This was bound to happen,? Chase said, and lowered me into a chair. ?Archer can see his every damned move. He knew he was coming- and when he got close, he mauled him, and shot him.?

?Both you and him need to get out of here.? She pointed a gun at him.

?You want to shoot me, sister? Go ahead. I already know my lenses are off, and I'm disconnected. So you want to put a bullet in me, go ahead- now's the time. But that will bring tactical down on your head- if they don't get a signal I'm okay in the next few minutes- and fancy as you are with a computer, there's no way in hell you've cracked that system. Not that I want a confrontation here- but you know better than me that it's protocol. Anytime an officer sets foot inside a dead zone that the clock starts ticking. You know what won't bring tactical raining down on you? Agreeing to save that stupid, bleeding-to-death bastard right there, and letting me walk out of here. I'll tell them you're cooperating with the investigation by saving our advocate's life, as soon as I'm clear and have a signal.?

?Tell them now,? she said.

Chase sighed, and used the line she opened for him. ?You know how I'm calling from the dead zone; don't play dumb right now. Yeah. I picked him up. I took him here because here was one minute away, and the hospital was five or more. It was a judgment call, and it's already been made. The locals have him, and they'll save him if they can, and if they can't... I'll believe they did what they could.?

A moment later, I was being loaded onto a stretcher, and I realized that for the first time Jenel's face wasn't blurred out. She was beautiful, and I didn't think that was entirely the blood loss. I don't know if she let it slip, consolation for a dying man, or if my system was utterly down. Or if I was hallucinating. But I wanted to stay and just stare at her, but they wheeled me away.

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