No Asylum – Chapter 3

August 26, 2010


Detention Centre 14 was a converted warehouse near the freightyards, away from the centre of San Paro and its incessant traffic jams. It wasn’t the largest of the CSA’s processing centres, sporting only 2 interview rooms, 30 cells and a small garage, but its out-of-the-way location meant most Enforcement Agents went elsewhere, and that suited Chris just fine.

There was still enough of the cop left in Chris to see the people he arrested as “suspects,” not plain-and-simple “crims” who deserved everything they got. He preferred to interview, not interrogate and conducted his debriefings with words, not blows. It still made him wince every time he walked past an occupied interrogation booth and heard the thumps and whimpers from within.

It kept him isolated from the other enforcers, this unvoiced but visible disdain, but there were some kinds of friends he didn’t need to make. Especially not with Derek around.

Chris had first been partnered with Derek Fitzpatrick about 3 months after losing his job on the force. It hadn’t been his choice and if it had been, he wouldn’t have made it. But he was reluctantly forced to admit that, from the CSA’s point of view, at least, the boy had been a good choice.

Derek was a good 15 years younger than Chris, still in his mid-twenties. Younger, stronger, faster and the absolute epitome of this new, brutal, ruthless breed of law enforcement. He was also, Chris ruefully admitted to himself, better looking, if you happen to like arrogant twats. Poster boy for the new San Paro with a successful arrest record proportionate to his ego.

The criminal records of CSA Enforcers prior to joining the service were purged and sealed by court order, but Chris still had enough friends in the justice department to get him a peak into things that should have been none of his concern. Derek Fitzpatrick had done time for assault and battery, ABH and GBH in bar brawls and street fights, a couple of DUIs. Two cases of sexual assault had been dropped with the charges withdrawn by the alleged victims and his wife had a long and colourful medical history with a plethora of hospital visits and two miscarriages. Since joining the CSA, Derek had racked up a number of kills in self-defence and two suspects had vanished entirely while in his custody, never to be seen again. On the other hand, a number of more minor miscreants pretty much walked away from Fitzpatrick’s custody with barely a bruise. Wealthy minor miscreants… or pretty ones. Derek hadn’t managed a successful bust on a hooker even once in his career, unless you counted the 6’4″ transvestite, LaFitte, that the boys still ribbed him about at the bar on a Friday night… if Derek was feeling mellow and they were feeling brave.

All this knowledge basically gave Chris two problems.

The first was that Derek was as bent as a six-dollar bill.

The second was that Chris wasn’t.

Yet, in spite of it all, the partnership somehow worked. Derek had saved Chris’ life more times than he could count, while the ex-cop flattered himself that he managed to curb the enforcer’s worse excesses. And paradoxically, Derek was far from the worst human being on earth. Chris had more than once seen the powerfully-built young man step into the path of fire sprayed at passers-by and onlookers and he had a kind and gentle way with victims, no matter their background or sex.

In one regard at least, he and Chris were more alike than different. They both believed in the job. Where they differed was which part of it mattered – the end or the means.

Chris was a means man, down to the bone.

He stared at himself in the bathroom mirror for a moment, the tiredness in his eyes pushed aside by alarm.

Derek lived for the end result. How he got there was no more relevant to his view of the job than the colour of the underpants he put on in the morning.

And he was alone in Interrogation Room 2 with someone whom Chris still couldn’t decide was a suspect or a victim.

Shirt-tails still untucked, tie flying, Chris ran down the corridor.

Derek was leaning on the table with both hands, looking across it at the seated Phorbes as she fidgeted awkwardly with her cuffs. He favoured Chris with a mocking smirk as he barrelled into the room.

“Morning, partner. Just been chatting with young Miss Phorbes here… She doesn’t seem to have a lot to say for herself.”

Chris looked at her. Her eyes were wide and frightened, breath coming in short pants through her nose.

He was pretty sure she didn’t have a black eye when he brought her in, or that red welt on her left cheek.

He looked Derek right in the face, then lowered his eyes to the wedding band on the man’s left hand.

Derek shrugged dismissively, giving him another grin. “Why don’t we let Miss Phorbes relax a little? We can go into the other room and you can fill me in on the case.”

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