AC: Bush43 Week Five

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Fri Jul 7 06:21:50 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -



BUSH43 #44
By Jason S. Kenney


There was a knock on my door that broke my stare from my desk,
interrupted my thinking, and brought me back to the here and now, made
me realize that I had been sitting there, doing absolutely nothing for
over an hour.

"Come in," I said, standing up as the door opened.

Eldritch gave me a weak smile, as she stepped into my office and closed
the door behind her.

"Hi," she said, as she stood there, hands behind her back, and waited.

"Hi, yourself," I said.  "Come on in."

"I'm not staying long," she said, as she walked towards me across my
office.  "I just wanted to stop by, though, and apologize for Sunday

"Don't," I said, walking around my desk and leaning against the front
of it.  "I was out of line with Weisz.  You had every right to be upset
with me."

"Not about Weisz," Eldritch said, stopping a few feet from me, hands
still behind her back, eyes locked with mine.  "About coming at you
like I did earlier, when you were trying to get to Ferguson."

I looked away from her briefly, took a deep breath, and looked back to

"What you did," I said, holding up my hands a bit, "you thought was in
my best interest."

"But, you're right when you say you're a big boy, Jeffery, and that you
can take care of yourself.  You don't need me or Anna or anyone else
telling you what to do in those situations."

"I appreciate that," I said with a small nod.

"I just... I wanted you to know that I'm on your side here, Jeffery,"
Eldritch said.  "You're not alone.  You do have friends, and I'd like
to be counted among them."

"I really appreciate that, Eldritch," I said.  "Where is this coming

"I've just been thinking," she said with a shrug. "About where I stand
in this city, in this place.  I don't have very many people to turn to,
Jeffery.  I can do alone, I can do solitary, I did it for years before
Churchill, but here, in Pacific City, with you..."  She paused, seemed
to think about what she was saying.  "With all of the New Mages," she
continued. "I'm part of something."

"What is that something, though?" I asked, and she looked at me
confused.  "What are the New Mages, Eldritch?  What have we done, as a
group or individually?"

"The group's still relatively new," Eldritch said.

"But, it's the lynchpin of Erlend's plan and policies," I said.  "So,
what are we?  What do we really do; what are we really a part of here?"

I pushed off of my desk and turned from Eldritch, walking around my
desk and looking out the window.

"Erlend and Anna have their schemes, their plans that they don't want
to share.  Toss on top of that the Ghostface Legion they lead around,
killing anyone they find.  Michael's just...  Who the hell knows what's
up with Millennium Man?  Victoria's not balanced, hasn't been for as
long as I've known her.  I don't trust Weisz one bit." I looked at
Eldritch over my shoulder. "And not just for personal reasons.  What
has he done for this city or the team?"

I turned around to face Eldritch, walked towards her.

"Lin's a child.  I don't like that she's part of this, she's too young,
she's too vulnerable.  And, she has very little concern about taking
someone's life."

I stopped close to Eldritch.

"So, that leaves us, Eldritch.  And, where do we stand?

"I need to be able to trust you.  I need to be able to turn to you and
rely on you.  And, when the chips are down, I need to know that you're
in my corner, Eldritch."

"What are you talking about, Jeffery?"

"I'm talking about this city and this team and where both are heading.
I don't like the path we're on now, Eldritch, and I'm going to try and
fix that, but I need help.  I want to count you among my friends, among
the people I can turn to, but I have to know that if it comes to that,
if I do need to turn to you, that you will be there for me."

"Are you making a move against Erlend?"

"No," I said, shaking my head. "Not at all.  But, I am making moves he
won't like.  That he may try to stop and that I firmly believe need to
happen if this city is to survive."

"Survive what?"

The Imperial Magistrate returning.

But, I wasn't about to say that.

Not yet.

"Survive life, Eldritch.  Day to day.  Ferguson shows how ineffective
things are currently, that we cannot take care of everything on our
own, that something different needs to be done if we're going to avoid
a repeat.

"Eldritch, I need to know whether or not you're in my corner.  I need
to know who I can trust."

"You can trust me, Jeffery," she said quickly.

"You're sure?"

"I'm on your side here."

I stared at her for a few seconds, her staring back, the look on her
face dead serious but also curious.

"Okay," I said with a nod.

"What are you doing?" she asked.  "What moves are you making that
Erlend won't approve of?"

"I'm going for Dean Williams tonight," I said.

"You know where he is?"

"I know where he will be."

"And, what's wrong with that?"

"He doesn't approve of my means for getting this information," I said,
looking away. "Nor would he approve of how I'm going to take him in."

"How's that?"

"Alive," I said, looking her back in the eye and giving her a small

"How are you getting the information?" she asked, and my smirk faded
real quick.

"I can't say," I said, turning from Eldritch and going around my desk.

"So, you're asking for me to trust you, but you're going to hold out on

"This is something I can't discuss, Eldritch," I said, looking to her.
"Or, I lose it.  And, I can't afford to lose this information, not now,
not when I'm so close to getting this sonofabitch."

"Will you tell me afterwards?"

"If I can, yes," I said with a nod.  "The moment I can tell you, I

She stared at me for a bit, seeming to decide whether or not that would
suffice, but then she nodded, accepted it for what it was worth, and
that was that.

"So, when are we going after him?"


"Jeffery," said Eldritch, planting her hands on my desk and leaning
toward me. "You ask if I'm in your corner, if I've got your back, if
you can trust me.  So, trust me when I say yes on all counts.  I'll
help you."

"Not on this," I said, shaking my head.

"Damn it, Jeffery," she said, pushing off of my desk.  "Make up your
goddamn mind."

"I want your help, Eldritch," I said. "In the long run.  With the big
things.  Yes.  But, on this, right now, I just need your trust and for
you to back me up if the shit hits the fan."

"But, I can't help you keep the shit from hitting the fan?"

"You can help me best by not being involved," I said.  "Not yet."

"This trust thing, Jeffery, it's got to work both ways."

"It does..."

"Then, why are you cutting me out?"

"Because I have to," I said.  "For now.  But just right now."


"I could have not said a word to you about it, Eldritch.  Just by
saying what I have, I'm trusting you, all right?  I can't do much more
than that right now.  Not yet.  Just, please, let me take care of

She threw up her hands and shook her head, as she turned away.

"Fine, Jeffery," she said.

"Eldritch, please..."

"Just don't get yourself killed," she said, as she opened my office

And, she slammed it behind her.

That could have gone better.


"You're taking him down in a nursing home?"

"Outside of it ideally," I said.  "And, hopefully that'll cut back on
his wanting to go nova if we don't time this right."

"Go nova?" asked Isiah Rowe, as he looked up from his burger and fries.

"Blow up."

Isiah shook his head, as he picked up his burger and tore in.

"The only thing I'm worried about," I said, leaning back, tapping my
plate with a fry I'd been meaning to eat for the last five minutes.
"Well, the biggest thing I'm worried about is how he's going to do
this.  I mean, ideally the police thought of this, found his relatives,
and put a watch out, or told the people working the place to keep an
eye open for him."

"So, maybe they police are already casing the place and will pick him
up for us," said Isiah with his mouth full, reaching for his soda to
wash it down.

"After you do your thing," I said, pointing to him with my fry.

Isiah nodded, as he swallowed.

"Of course," he said.

"So, how close do you need to be to him to do this?" I asked, finally
popping the fry in my mouth.

"Depends on how many people there are," Isiah said, as he lifted the
top bun off his burger and started picking out the onions he had asked
to be left off.  "I mean, if it's just him on the street, within
eyesight and a block or two should do.  The more people, the closer I
need to get."

"Will he know what you've done to him when you do it?"

"I'm knocking him out, Jeffery," said Isiah, looking to me. "So, yeah,
he'll know."

"Right," I said, nodding, grabbing another fry and eating it.

"So, are we going to wait for him to come out?"

"That's what I figure," I said.

"How do we know he's going to come out the front door?"

"It's the only way out," I said.  "Anything else is a fire exit; alarms
would go off.  He probably wouldn't want to draw that kind of

"Yeah, but, if we see him going for the front door, why don't we just
hit him up then."

"The guy's going to visit his mother, man," I said.  "I can't just
interrupt that."

"The guy killed a hundred and twenty people..."

"And, his mother deserves one last visit from her son, before we put
him away for good."

"All right," said Isiah, shaking his head, picking his burger up again.
"It's your call."

I finally grabbed my burger and took a bite, as Isiah stared at me.

"What?" I asked with a full mouth.

"You're showing an awful lot of compassion for a man you want to beat
the shit out to get a message across."

"It's not for him," I said, then swallowing.  "It's for his mom.  It's
not her fault her son's a mass murderer."

"Maybe it is."

"Just the same, Isiah, I'm not about to keep the guy from his mother
when it really makes no difference if we get him before he goes in or
once he comes out."

"If everything goes according to plan."

"It will, Isiah, all right?"  I looked at my watch.

Two hours to go.


The Carriage Hill Assisted Living facility looked like any ol'
apartment building in downtown Pacific City.  Probably was one at some
point, refurbished to become a warehouse of elderly and invalids that
families either couldn't handle or didn't want to handle.  A place
where many were put to die.

I don't like these places.

The block was relatively empty, as Isiah and I walked past on the other
side of the street, eyeing the building the whole time.

"How close do you think you need to be for this kinda crowd?" I asked.

"If it doesn't get any busier, a block and a half maybe, though a block
would be more preferable."

"How about up there?" I asked, pointing up above us.

"Right across the street?"

"And twenty floors up."

"Yeah, I could pull that off.  But, I'd have a hard time identifying
him from up there.  I could just tuck in there," Isiah said, nodding
beside us to the alley we were walking past.  "We both could be there,
you could point him out, I knock him out, you go make sure he's down
and wait for the police."

"I don't want us in the same place on this one."

"Why's that?"

"If I'm spotted ahead of time, this could go south very quick, and I
don't want you to get hurt.  Here."  I fished a GI Joe walkie talkie
out of my inside coat pocket and handed it to Isiah.

"Are you serious?" he asked, as he marveled at the camouflage paint

"It's the best I could do on short notice," I said, pulling another one
out of another coat pocket.  "They supposedly get a hundred feet outta
them, so let's try it out."

Isiah sighed and shook his head, turned around and walked toward the
alley we'd gone past, as I made my way across the street and into an
alley right next to Carriage Hill.

"All right, you hear me?" I asked into my walkie talkie.

I heard beeping in response.

Morse Code.

And, I was flashing back to being ten and out in Isiah's aunt's yard,
walkie talkie beeping directions, as I tried to find my fellow soldier
who was pinned down behind enemy lines.

I read the corresponding chart.


"Love you too," I said.  "Am I coming in clear?"

"Yeah" was a staticy but still audible response.


I crossed the street back to Isiah.

"Okay, I'm going to wait in an alley just down the block on this side
of the street to watch for him.  When I see him going in, I'll point
him out and you let me know if you know who I'm talking about.  Once
we're confirmed on that, I'll cross the street and wait."

"Why not just stay where you are?"

"I want to be closer when he collapses. Don't let others get an
opportunity to get to him and all of that.  Having to wait for traffic
would get in the way."

"Okay," said Isiah.

"But, if you don't know who I'm talking about when he goes in, I'll
stay where I am, so I can tell you when he's leaving.  Just to make
sure of it, okay?"

"Got it."

"Sweet.  Now, we wait."

And, we waited.

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