"The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun." ~P.G. Wodehouse
Jack ran his fingers through his hair for the millionth time that day— if he kept it up, he was probably going to go bald before week's end.
Stop it. Stop it, Jack.
Back in her makeshift laboratory, Dr. Coldwater had examined the bullets in depth.
But, in true Coldwater-fashion, there had been a catch. She wanted to compare the bullets from the Praxton crime scene to the same one pulled out of the widow's husband.
The only problem was that Emblem's case had been reassigned to Cold Cases and taken to the FBI.
That's where Jack came in, she wanted him to use his Commander status to request the file.
So there Jack was, in the parking lot of a strip mall, waiting for an agent to show up and make him regret his decisions.
Jack released his seat-belt, just in time to see an SUV, donned with government plates, pull next to his sedan.
It seemed that his informant had finally arrived. As the car rolled to a halt, Jack strode forward to meet the agent.
The door swung open and a tall dark-haired man exited. He was clothed in a black suit and wore dark sunglasses, casting an official 'Men in Black' fashion statement.
A grizzled beard adorned his face in a close embrace.
A gun and badge took residence at his hip, hidden partially by the sway of his jacket.
When he saw Jack, he cracked a smile.
"Will!" Jack greeted, with a similar smile stretching across his face.
Both of the men met in the middle to pull the other into an embrace. Jack clapped Will on the back firmly and took a step back.
Jack shook his head, grinning. "Wow, man, is it good to see you! You can't even imagine the day I've had so far. When I heard Cold Cases was sending an agent, I didn't think that it would be you! "
"Well, I saw who was requesting, so I pulled some strings and here I am. Are you gonna tell me what's going on?"
Jack shook his head and pointed to a coffee cart. "I'll fill you in, I just need a cup first."
Half an hour and four cups of joe later, Will sat back in his seat and blew out a puff of air. "Wow, you're joking. Are you really working with that doctor? I mean, she's smokin' but I wouldn't even risk it. You know, I heard she punched a guy so hard, he peed blood for a month."
I know. I was the guy.
Jack laughed, revealing his dazzling whites and nodded. "She certainly is a character. Never listens and always does what she wants. But to tell the truth, she's not dangerous; more like an annoying cat that keeps on coming back."
Will shook his head in disbelief but winked at Jack. "Be careful with whom you get into bed, Jack; for work and for play."
"But on a more serious note, you've gotta be careful with this case, Jack. I heard that something fishy was going on. Everyone at HQ was real hush-hush about it. I don't know specifics but chatter is that Emblem was into some real hard stuff. " Will handed him a stack of files and told him that the physical evidence would be delivered later.
"I'm serious, Jack. Watch your back."
Wishing his fellow agent good luck one more time, Will got back into his vehicle and pulled away.
Tossing his empty cup into a nearby trashcan, Jack headed back to his car.
This case just got more complicated.
"Commander! You're back!" Thomas hustled over like he had been given a swift kick to the caboose. "You won't believe what we found out. It's awesome."
Jack had arrived back at the warehouse with case files in hand. He opted for the stairs this time, not the death trap he had used the first run. The third floor now had the addition of three more people.
The 'bad boy' impersonator from before was now seated at a table, V.C. leaning over his shoulder, placing one hand on the table and the other on the back of his chair.
A fiery-haired lithe woman spoke rapidly into a headset while sifting through a textbook catalog.
Behind her, straddling a seat backward was a lean but muscular man who fiddled with a remote control.
At Thomas' outburst, everyone turned around. V.C. saw the folder under Jack's arm and rushed forward. "Commander, you're just in time for the preliminary findings. But first, let me introduce you."
She motioned to the muscular man who had risen at Jack's entrance and was eyeing him warily. "This is Flynn. He's the chief engineer and mainly deals with crime scene recreation." Flynn reached forward with a large hand to clasp Jack's in a firm grip but remained mum.
Guess he's not as much of a talker as his doctor counterpart.
"Over there is Mara; she's more of a transport coordinator. " After a moment of no reaction, V.C. shook her head and went on. "I guess you can meet her later. . .You've already met Pager and Killian." She shot a finger gun over to the lax antsy teenager from before. "He's interning. . .sort of. We're still ironing out the kinks."
At the mention of his name, Killian spun around in his chair to mock salute Jack in a way he had only seen once before.
Great. She's training another her.
Once the introductions had faded into silence, Jack handed the folder over and told V.C. the physical evidence would be arriving later.
His eyes flicked to the mounted flat screen with interest.
"What do you have so far?"
V.C. pointed to Pager. "Page, go ahead." She settled on the corner of a table and thumbed through the folder Jack had given her.
Pager stepped forward and picked up a handheld remote. He clicked a button and an animation of crime scene played out the shooting in detail.
"The striations of the bullets from the Praxton crime scene match those from a Glock 19. They were 9mm, 115 grain jacketed hollow point shot approximately 8.3 meters from the target at 21:00 on Thursday the 12th. But here's the kicker. . ."
The screen zoomed in on the animated house and window the bullets had destroyed. "Based on where Silvia Praxton was standing, even if she didn't fall, she wouldn't have been hit. The shooter was at least half a meter off: not accurate at all."
As Pager finished his report, V.C. lifted her nose from the file with a furrowed brow. "Then this is gonna blow your mind: Mateo Emblem was shot 25 -27 meters away with a single bullet." She held up one finger to note the significance. "9mm 115 grain jacketed hollow point, matched to a 357 Magnum. The bullet ripped through his aorta and shattered on impact. He bled out within 20 seconds."
She shook her head and handed the file to Jack. "The possibility of two separate shooters using the same type of expensive bullets is about 6.8%. The odds of two murderers are not in our favor."
Jack drew a palm across his face and rubbed his chin. "The first murder was a kill shot - no hesitation. To take a shot like that in a crowded room full of witnesses, the guy must have been ballsy. But then with this one—" He pointed to the picture of Silvia. "It was sloppy. Done in the dark. The shooter couldn't even hit the woman from 20ft away."
"So what—Are we looking for two shooters? Or one?"
Hey guys, this is a shorter chapter but it's going to be worth it in the end. The story is starting to pick up!
Let me know what you think!
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Eridanus Flooding (WATTY 2018 WINNER)Mystery / Thriller
Commander Jack Rhodes is a retired Navy Seal. Well. Retired isn't what he would call it. More like fired. Yes. Fired would be the correct choice of word. No one retires at the age of 32. When a mission went wrong, leaving Jack as the only survivor...