Hackjob: Part 10

Kayla got back to me almost immediately. “If you don’t have any reason for him to be in custody, they want you to release him, but they also want to talk to you tomorrow–all of you.”

“Did they say why?”

In the background of Kayla’s connection came the sound of tapping. “Not exactly, but they sounded unhappy about a few different things–the damage at the fight, that Kid Biohack never notified them he was going to be active here, and well, I overheard a lot about the Syndicate L guy Biohack was chasing. His name is Seth Bradley, and I looked him up. He’s got quite a record. He’s been suspected of murder a few times over, but there’s never been enough evidence to connect him to the crime.”

Floating above the ground, he didn’t seem especially intimidating, but murder? If he mostly fought normal people, he could rack up a high body count completely accidentally. The fact that he hadn’t gotten caught argued that it wasn’t accidental, though.

Alternately, it might argue that Syndicate L was phenomenal at cleaning up that sort of mess.

Either way, it wasn’t a good thing.

To Kayla, I said, “I guess you’ll have to find a time when we can all meet. I’m open after three tomorrow. I don’t know about everybody else.”

“Got it,” Kayla said. “I’ll check calendars.”

I realized then that Tigershorts (Seth) had stopped talking. Given that he didn’t know much of anything about the armored car robbers, there wasn’t much of a point in asking him anything else.

“Hey,” I said, “Control called, and told me that the police want Tigershorts to go free if we don’t have any reason to keep him. I told him that that was okay and that so far as we could tell, the guy doesn’t have any connection to Syndicate L.”

“But that’s not true,” Kid Biohack said. “And it makes me look bad!” He stood up from his chair. “I got the guy. I bribed Syndicate L to learn his name. I put myself at risk in half a dozen different ways, and you’re taking the credit!”

“No,” I shook my head. “That’s not what’s happening here. We’re taking the blame and you’re taking it with us. The police wanted to let us know that they consider capturing him kidnapping. We can’t keep him, and we need Syndicate L to trust him. They probably won’t anyway, but this way they might and that’s better than no chance at all.”

Travis grinned. “Nice one. I wouldn’t have expected you to come up with that.”

Fixing his attention on Seth, he got up from his chair, meeting Seth’s eyes. “Hey Tigershorts, you heard the Rocket. We’re letting you go, but you need to keep us informed. We’ll know where you go. Can’t say I know what the Rocket will do, but if he wanted to, he could bug your house and follow you everywhere. So keep your mouth shut about anything we said, and remember that we’ll find you again. When we do, you’ll tell us every new thing you learn.”

Seth’s eyes narrowed under the mask. “You sure about that? You don’t think the cops won’t pull you in for wiretapping?”

Travis didn’t blink. “In the City of New Orleans vs. The Burning Cajun, the Supreme Court determined that as long as the police didn’t motivate the collection of the evidence, they can legally use the evidence vigilantes collect.”

Seth blinked. “Aren’t you supposed to be the team’s dumb jock?”

Travis laughed. “Gravity Star, would you mind floating this guy outside?”

Camille glanced over at Haley, who gave her a short nod.

Seth floated toward the front door—which opened automatically—and landed on the sidewalk. He stumbled, recovered, and ran away into the night.

Between the darkened glass and the darkness outside, I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I saw flashes as he left. Were there really photographers out there? It wasn’t unlikely, but it was different.

Kid Biohack watched Seth go, frowning as he disappeared, but turned his head back to all of us, smiling as he did. “That’s not a bad idea. If we can’t keep him, we can use him as our mole in Syndicate L. Yeah, that’s good. It’s really good. All we’ve got left to decide is how to make this partnership work. I put this great lead in your hands, and between him and all our hard work, we’ll break open the mysterious thieves who are terrorizing this city.”

Travis shook his head. “That is such BS. If you want a partnership, what you need to do is tell us that you’re in town, and then we cooperate. Even if you don’t want our help, you politely let us know you’re here anyway. That’s how it works everywhere. It prevents fights like we had in the street. It keeps people safe because they don’t have to dodge us.

“You made a mistake. We’re fixing it.”

14 thoughts on “Hackjob: Part 10”

  1. You know, finding out someone is “suspected of murder” would actually be one of the most difficult things to research about them. I imagine it means they were arrested and then released without trial, which would at least leave a paperwork trail, but that’s hard to distinguish between “we couldn’t prove it” and “we decided he didn’t do it”. But it’s not like you can write “we suspect this guy but have no evidence” on any official record. Just something Kayla’s comment on Seth made me think about.

    1. Yeah. The way I imagine it, he exists in an FBI database of known supers, and when he’s placed at the scene of a murder, but there’s no physical evidence and no one will testify against him, it’s noted (as are things for which he’s actually found guilty).

  2. No, don’t end now. I want to know Biohack’s reply. Great work as always.

    Error:“Not exactly, but the they sounded unhappy about a few different things.

    Fix:“Not exactly, but they sounded unhappy about a few different things.

    Error: All we’ve got left to decide to make this partnership work

    Fix: All we’ve got left to decide is how to make this partnership work

    Error:“That is such BS. If you want a partnership, what you to is tell us that you’re in town, and then we cooperate.

    Fix:“That is such BS. If you want a partnership, what you do is tell us that you’re in town, and then we cooperate.

  3. “In the City of New Orleans vs. The Burning Cajun, the Supreme Court determined that as long as the police didn’t motivate the collection of the evidence, they can legally use the evidence vigilantes collect.”

    Man, that is a pretty messed up ruling.

    1. If it means they can use it to get a search warrant or to direct their investigations it may be OK. If it means they could use the Rocket’s recordings in court, yeah, messed up. Chain of custody wouldn’t be a thing withvigilantes.

      “These recordings were made by the Rocket, a technological genius with sufficient ability in sonic technology to weaponize it, correct?”

      “No your honor, I did not mean to impugn the integrity of the Heroes League. Just establishing what might be available at their base.”

      “The recordings were at the Heroes League base from… 22 April to 18 May. Officer, do you have a list of who entered the base over that period?”

      “No? But one Seth Bradley, a man suspected of being a member of Syndicate L was there and left freely, is that correct?”

      “No further questions.”

  4. I like the three-way interaction here, with Kid BH and the police (or, 4-way if you count Tigershorts).

    Typo(s):

    “Not exactly, but the they sounded unhappy about” – extra ‘the’.

    “If you want a partnership, what you to is tell us that you’re in town” – ‘to’ should be ‘do’.

    Not a typo, but… Thinking about the story, is it clear at this point whether KBH still has his Internet feed turned-off? The van was blocking him (“Hackjob: Part 7”), is the HQ also doing that? I don’t think Rocket obviously wrecked his transmitter, or KBH obviously turned it off. And, if there is interrogation going on you wouldn’t want it public. And, I think KBH would want his entry to the HQ on the Internet. It would give him perceived legitimacy. But, what KBH says might imply he isn’t currently online. Making this explicit (a mental comment from Nick that the HQ is also blocking the feed?) might help the reader.

  5. Hmm… A few thoughts:
    1) Due to tropes, I was expecting that KBH was responsible for the robbers as part of a set-up. The fact that he bribed organized crime points away from that, but doesn’t say good things about him.

    2) Just because Nick’s van blocks wireless signals doesn’t necessarily mean that KBH isn’t recording. It just means that he hasn’t been able to upload, yet.

    3) The police seem a little quick to whine about wanting custody of Tigershorts. Yes, they are in the right. But even without anything else, this implies that someone in the department is irritated with the League.

    4) If a recording of this chapter’s dealings got out, it would be a major scandal. Threatening mind-control? Lying to the police? Buying information from Syndicate L?

  6. Slight edit, wrong word:
    Where there really photographers out there?

    Should be:
    Were there really photographers out there?

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