Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks #10

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Tue Oct 3 01:54:42 PDT 2006

Michael King and Mary Jones: crime scene
investigators.  Mark Johnston and Tom Jackson: police
officers.  Jack Greenspan and Edward Bailey: medical
examiners.  Alan Russell and Cliff Murdock:
prosecutors.  These are the men and women who are
truly our last line of defense.  But what about the
capes whose cases they have to investigate?  Should
they be considered a help or a hindrance?

                        PART I

9:30 am

  "Okay.  Explain this case to me."
  Alan Russell had been the District Attorney in
Pepperton for over ten years.  He counted on the
police in his city to bring him all the evidence he
needed to make a conviction.  Sometimes, however, he
was presented with so much evidence that he didn't
know where to begin.
  Detective John Phelps was the first person to speak
up.  "It all began three weeks ago.  Kevin Plumber was
found shot in an alley near where he lived.  He was on
his way to work.  The killer presumably pulled a gun
on him and ordered him into an alleyway where he was
shot.  Nobody witnessed the actual shooting but two
local kids, Wil Smits and Jimmy Smith, got a look at
the perpetrator as he fled the scene.  Frank here
spoke to the two kids and got a description that he
turned into a sketch, but the two kids guessed wrong
about the perpetrator's age so the guy who Frank drew
looks a bit older than our suspect."
  Detective Mary Jones then spoke up.  "When I
examined Kevin Plumber's body at the scene I noticed
that he had been shot two times.  One bullet had
passed straight through and was recovered at the scene
by Officer Tom Jackson.  The other bullet was
recovered during Mr. Plumber's autopsy.  Incredibly,
Edward was able to pull a partial print off of the
through and through bullet but there was no match with
any of the fingerprints stored in the national
database.  I did go speak to Mrs. Plumber and tell her
that her husband had been murdered and asked her if
she knew anything that could help us in our
investigation but she wasn't considered a suspect at
that point so I didn't bring her in for questioning,
let alone take her fingerprints."
  Officer Mark Johnston was next.  "Then a week ago we
recovered a gun in an alley.  Some kids had found it
and they called 911 rather than touch it, which was a
good thing because the gun still had bullets in it. 
The gun turned out to be the gun that was used to kill
Kevin Plumber.  Apparently the shooter had either been
wearing gloves or had wiped his fingerprints off the
gun so he assumed that there was no way the gun could
be traced back to him if he disposed of it."
  Edward Bailey added his two cents.  "That belief was
based on the fact that the gun's registration number
had been filed off.  But I was able to etch off the
filings that had obscured the registration number and
was thus still able to find out who owned the gun.  It
was Janice Plumber, Mr. Plumber's wife."
  Detective Michael King also had a few words to say. 
"That was when I went to Judge Matthews and got a
warrant to search the Plumber house.  Tom then found a
file which Edward identified as the file that had been
used to scrape off the gun's registration number.  We
arrested Mrs. Plumber and took her fingerprints and
were then able to identify her as the person who not
only own the gun that had killed her husband but that
she had, in fact, loaded it herself.  We supeonaed her
bank records and found that she had taken out over ten
thousand dollars the week before her husband had been
killed.  We assumed that she must have paid someone to
kill her husband.
  "Mary then suggested that we look for suspects
amongst the students at the college where she worked
part time teaching French.  Mark and Tom brought the
two witnesses down to the college to look through the
school records.  They identified Alex Enright.  We
even had the witnesses pick out Alex Enright from a
line up.  He's definitely the man they saw."
  Thomas Jackson brought everybody up to date.  "We
were able to get another warrant, this time to search
Enright's apartment.  We were able to find hair
belonging to Mrs. Plumber.  Both suspects insist that
Mrs. Plumber was only there to provide French lessons,
however.  We did notice that the TV and stereo looked
new.  We were able to determine that they had, in
fact, been purchased only a few weeks ago, immediately
after Mr. Plumber was killed."
  "My God," Alan Jackson said.  "Great work everybody.
 You will, of course, all be asked to testify when
this goes to trial."  He got up and shook everybody's
hands.  He paused when he shook Mary's hand.  "Could I
have a word with you in private, Mary?"

9:56 am

  "You wanted to speak to me?"
  "Yes, Mary."  Alan chose his words very carefully. 
"I just want to let you know that no jury is going to
care about your private life."
  "No but.  If anything, juries appreciate real people
over automatons.  They expect real people to have
feelings.  They expect them to have relationships."
  "With all due respect, Mr. Russell, I don't think my
personal life is any of your business."
  Alan Russell smiled.  "I know it isn't.  It isn't
anybody's business but your own.  That's what I'm
trying to tell you."

6:32 pm

  "The pizza should be here soon," Edward said.
  "I can wait," Mary said.
  "It doesn't normally take this long."
  Mary laughed.  "You had them put the ring in the
pizza, didn't you?"
  Edward didn't answer.
  "I knew it!"
  "Look, you said you'd think about it.  Then you
agreed to come here with me.  I figured I'd propose to
you in arestaurant like a normal person."
  "A normal person isn't going to serve an engagement
ring as a pizza topping."
  "Did it occur to you that this is exactly the sort
of thing that the napkins are used for?"
  Mary laughed.
  "Seriously though, what if they delivered the pizza
to the wrong table?  Somebody could have just
swallowed your engagement ring."
  "So how did you arrange to have them cook the ring
into the pizza anyway?"
  "Oh I come here a lot.  We only went to Guido's
because Pizza Hut is like a fast food place and it
isn't a place to bring a date.  But if you've never
been here then, hey, maybe you wouldn't think that
  Mary looked around.  "Well, I don't see any pictures
of Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders on the walls. 
Nor do I hear any kids crying.  So it is almost like a
real restaurant."
  Edward laughed.  "Oh good I think this is our
  "Enjoy!" said the waiter.
  "So where is it?" Mary asked.
  "You know, this was supposed to be a surprise,"
Edward complained.
  "Edward, I'm a detective.  You can't surprise me."
  "Here it is."  He fished it out and wiped it with a
napkin.  "Okay.  Mary.  I don't know if you want kids.
 But if you do, then you can tell them that I proposed
to you by pulling your ring out of a pizza in a Pizza
Hut.  That's much better than me asking you one
afternoon during work."
  Mary laughed.
  "Anyway, here goes.  Mary, you know I love you. 
What I want to know from you is whether or not you
will marry me.  Will you?"
  Mary sighed.  "Yes."
  Edward looked relieved.  "Good."
  "So how did you get them to cook the ring inside the
  "Oh it was no trouble.  I come here a lot.  They
know me here."
  "Really?  You should try eating something besides
pizza and spaghetti."
  "Such as?"
  "Sometimes I go out for Chinese food.  Or Mexican."
  "Ah.  So you like spicy food.  How about Indian?"
  "Occasionally.  Anything but Japanese.  I can't
stand raw fish."
  "It's a wonder I've been able to keep my figure."
  "I was going to say but I thought better of it."

                         PART II

9:20 am

  "Let me see."
  "Here it is."
  Naomi Chen wrinkled her nose.  "It's kinda small."
  "But it's a real diamond," Mary insisted.  "I
checked: I used it to cut glass."
  Naomi laughed.  "You would."  She sighed.  "Well,
you know what they say about guys with small
  "Actually, I thought it was the other way around:
they give you big gifts to make up for other things."
  "Well, sure, sometimes.  But if the guy's got a big
enough diamond to give you then it can make up for a
hell of a lot."
  "Excuse me, you're Mary Jones, aren't you?"
  Mary turned to see who it was.  "Oh.  Wendy Wang."
  "That's right."
  "What are you doing here?"
  "I thought I'd come down to the precinct and ask you
some questions."
  "About what?"
  "About the Plumber case.  I'm afraid Peter Whitman,
my editor at the Daily World, he wants more
information about the case.  It's the kind of story
that sells newspapers, you see: a French teacher gets
one of her students to kill her husband.  Everybody
wants to know if they were having an affair."
  "I really don't think it would be appropriate to
talk about an on going investigation."
  "Alright.  Then tell me about yourself."
  "An attractive young female detective is
investigating the case.  You could be the angle that
satisfies my editor."
  "How so?"
  "I could write a human interest piece about you.  At
least give me something so I don't go back to my
editor empty handed."
  "You're just trying to interview me so I'll leak
something about the case."
  Wendy sighed.  "Please.  Just a few minutes?"
  Mary nodded.  "Alright.  Just let me get some coffee

9:35 am

  "Alright.  What do you want to know?"
  "Are you seeing anyone?"
  "I don't know if I want to talk about that."
  "So you are."
  "Okay.  Yes, I am."
  "Anyone in the department?"
  Mary didn't answer.
  "So that's another yes."
  "Has someone been talking to you?"
  "No, dear, I'm an investigative reporter.  I can
spot things."  She pointed to Mary's ring.  "That's
new, isn't it?  I saw you showing it to the
receptionist when I walked in."
  Mary smiled.  "Okay.  I'm engaged."
  "To one of the cops?"
  "Heavens no."
  Wendy thought for a moment.  "Then it must be
somebody in the crime lab."
  Mary closed her eyes and smiled.  "You're good."
  "So how did he propose?"
  "Last night.  At the local Pizza Hut.  He had them
cook the ring inside the pizza."
  "No.  Really?"
  "Yeah.  He was trying to be romantic."
  "But you said yes."
  "Obviously," she said as she showed her the ring.
  "So have you set the date?"
  "Actually, no.  I suppose we could wait until June."
  Wendy nodded.  "That's when Extreme and Amazing
Woman are getting married."
  "What?  Are you serious?"
  Wendy smiled.  "I'm an investigative reporter.  I
can find out these things."
  "Still," Mary said, "it's amazing how you're always
able to get these exclusive Extreme scoops.  You must
be some kind of insider."
  "Oh," Wendy said nervously, "I've just known the man
for sometime."
  "I see.  And Amzing Woman doesn't get jealous."
  Wendy laughed.  "If she got jealous then she could
just roll me up in a ball and throw me out the window.
 I'm not going to try taking Extreme away from her."
  "I see.  So is that it?"
  "Just some more information.  Your age, your
hometown, something about your family, how you got
started as a CSI.  Stuff like that."
  Mary sighed.  "Okay, but this can't take too long. 
I have to get back to work soon."

11:03 am

  "Hey, Edward."
  "Do you want to go out for Chinese tonight?"
  "What are you working on?"
  "It's a new case.  A stabbing.  I'm trying to figure
out what kind of knife was used based on the crime
scene photographs."
  "Something on your mind?"
  "Did you know that Extreme and Amazing Woman were
getting married?"
  "No.  Where did you hear that?"
  "From Wendy Wang."
  "The reporter for the Daily World?"
  "That's her."
  "How does she know?"
  "She didn't say."
  "Well then Extreme must have told her."
  "When?  Do you suppose they get together after
  "Hell no.  Amazing Woman wouldn't put up with that."
  "So he must talk to her during work."
  "You mean Extreme shows up at the Daily World and
gives her an interview?"
  "I'm thinking that maybe Extreme has a secret
identity and he's working at the Daily World."
  "That's crazy.  He's Extreme.  Why would he have a
day job?"
  "Okay.  But if he's so far above humanity then why
was he always giving interviews to Wendy Wang?"
  "Maybe he wanted to get in her pants," Edward
  "Maybe.  But he obviously didn't.  Or else Wendy
Wang would be as dead as Diane Brenton."
  "So they must be friends.  Perhaps even collegues."
  "Maybe you're on to something."
  "I'm going to go to the Daily World first thing
tomorrow morning."
  "Hold on.  Is that a good idea?"
  "Why not?  If Wendy Wang can come here to
investigate me then I sure as hell can go there to
investigate her!"

                        PART III

8:59 am

  "Wendy Wang?"
  Wendy turned around to see who had called her name. 
"Why, Mary Jones.  What are you doing here?"
  "I thought I'd do some investigating of my own."
  "Oh.  And what are you investigating?"
  "Tit for tat.  You investigate me.  I invstigate
  "Have I done something wrong?"
  "Oh no no no.  It's just a hunch."
  "A hunch?"
  "I'm actually not investigating you so much as a
friend of yours."
  "Good morning, Wendy!"
  Mary turned around and saw Kenneth Clark.  "There he
  Kenneth Clark was taken aback.  "There who is?"
  "Have we met?" Kenneth asked, genuinely confused.
  "Indeed we have," Mary said, "but you weren't
wearing your glasses."
  Kenneth looked at Wendy.  "What's going on?"
  "I don't know," Wendy said.
  "Oh I think you both know what's going on," Mary
  Kenneth leaned forward and whispered to Mary using
his Extreme voice.  "And who... are you?"
  "I'm Mary Jones.  I work for the Pepperton Police."
  "What do you want?"
  It was a good question.  "I don't know.  Who says I
want anything?"
  "Then why are you here?"
  "It was just a hunch.  Anyway, nice to see you both.
 Again.  I'll go now."  She left.
  Extreme was not happy.

2:00 pm

  The entire precinct fell silent when he passed
through reception save for a few whispers of "My God! 
It's the Super Soldier!"  Even amongst the police, he
was accustomed to commanding respect.  "I want to
speak to Detective Michael King," he said.
  People just pointed.  They apparently didn't
consider themselves worthy to speak to the Super
Soldier.  And not having been spoken to, the Super
Soldier did not bother to espress thanks either. 
Perhaps he too considered them unworthy.
  "Detective King."
  "I'm a bit busy."
  "I always made time when you came to see me."
  "So you did.  What's on your mind?"
  "Mary Jones.  She works for you?"
  "Yes.  What about her?"
  "Mary Jones went to the Daily World yesterday and
all but came out and said who Extreme really is."
  "I don't follow."
  "Extreme has a secret identity which she almost
  "I see."
  "This is the second time one of our identities has
been discovered by people from your precinct.  The
first was the Human Spider's."
  "Ah yes but that was different: Kenneth Kendal's
wife was killed by a former lover of his.  He had
assumed that the killer was one of the Human Spider's
enemies.  He voluntarally revealed his identity to our
officers.  To do otherwise would have been to obstruct
  The Super Soldier sighed.  "We need to keep our
identities secret."
  "I know that.  Really I do.  That's why those secret
identities won't leave this precinct."
  "That just isn't good enough.  I want this Mary
Jones to face disciplinary actions."
  "Excuse me?"
  "You heard me."
  "I heard you," Michael said, getting visibly angry,
"now you listen to me.  I used to be in the military. 
I used to take orders from people like you.  But now
I'm a civilian.  And unless the government has
declared martial law and nobody informed me, I don't
take orders from you.  You and your people are
operating out of Pepperton and that's OUR
jurisdiction.  We don't do what you say: you're
supposed to do what we say.
  "Now take this incident with the Brotherhood of
Masters a couple of months ago.  You didn't inform us,
the local authorities that you had captured the
Brotherhood, a known threat to civilian lives.  You
should have.  And then there's Harry Roy: he was a
futigive awaiting trial for the murder of Edward
Goodhead.  You didn't tell us you had him under your
'custody'."  Michael made explicit quotation marks
with his fingers.  "You should have.  I made the
decision to allow you to keep him under your custody
as long as you delivered him for trial.  We would have
both been in trouble if he didn't show up for his
trial.  I trusted you.  So now you trust me.  And, no,
you don't get to have him join your group.  He killed
a man." 
  The Super Soldier waited a moment.  "Are you
  "For now."
  "Nobody ever speaks to me like that.  Not even my
  "Well then it's about time somebody did.  You need
to understand who's in charge here.  It's not you."
  The Super Soldier put up his hands in surrender. 
"Okay.  I'll let you deal with Detective Mary Jones
your own way."
  "You do that," Michael said and then added, "and
don't worry.  The Human Spider, Extreme, they're
secrets are safe with us."
  "Alright.  Fine.  We appreciate that."
  "You're welcome."

2:35 pm

  "I hear you found out Extreme's identity."
  "Yeah," she said sheepishly.
  "Good work," Michael said with a smile.
  "Yes, really.  The Super Soldier was here to give me
a dressing down."
  "I heard about that."
  "But this isn't Extreme Force Headquarters.  And I
don't take orders from him.  If he comes here then
he's on our turf and he does what _we_ tell _him_."
  "Sounds like you had a good time."
  Michael smiled.  "Actually I did.  It felt good
putting that tin plated bastard in his place."
  "Michael!  I actually thought you and the Super
Soldier got along well."
  "Oh we do.  Now.  Now that he knows who's boss." 
Michael was grinning from ear to ear.

                         THE END


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