Nick quietly sits at his desk. Papers stacked up as he did paperwork on a number of cases including the hostage-taking not too long ago. His chair squeaks and moans as he proceeds through it without much hesitation. While the chair complained for oil, footsteps were heard all around him. It was a particularly busy day for the precinct. Suddenly, all the movement stopped, and all that could be heard was the squeaky chair Nick sat in. As he looked up from his paperwork, and stood up to see what was happening beyond the mounds of papers. He could see someone walking in and why the whole precinct had stopped. The person who had founded the station he worked in had arrived for a surprise visit, from what it looked like. Houdini Jr., most simply knew him as HJ, had arrived unannounced. The soldiers just stared on in awe. It wasn't often the founder arrived.
- Nick (thinking): Should I go to him? Or is that the purpose for his visit?
HJ noticed the people looking at him, trying to make things return to their productive state, he speaks
- HJ: Back to work, guys…!
At his command, the police station begins to move like normal again, still a bit hesitant at his arrival. HJ rolls his neck, thinking to himself as he heads towards Nick’s desk.
- HJ: (thinking) I hope what I found out can be of any use to him. As much as he’s up to his arms in deskwork I can’t waste my time...
Nick simply watches as HJ approaches his desk. Before sitting back down in the squeaky chair that no longer stood out with the hustle and bustle of the police station. Nick decides to throw out a casual joke to lighten the mood.
- Nick: Please tell me you’re here to save me from all this paperwork.
HJ rolls his neck before meeting Nick’s joke with a small smirk, before returning to a scowl of sorts.
- HJ: I think I might have made a breakthrough Nick.
Nick becomes serious.
- Nick: On the case?
- HJ: Yeah, possibly. Come with me, we should talk about this further somewhere no one can eavesdrop.
Nick nods, and the two head to a nearby vacant office. HJ enters first, before Nick closes the door behind him.
- Nick: So what did you find out, HJ?
- HJ: I think I may have found out who the real culprit might be behind the murder at Mitch’s bar.
Nick’s eyes widen.
- Nick: This is serious.
- HJ: Yep, and considering that I had to inform you ASAP. As well as the fact it might be dangerous going at it alone. You know that anything like this could end up bad if done improperly.
- Nick: What are you suggesting?
- HJ: As much as I think you’d hate me for this. I’m going with you on this investigation. It’s likely too dangerous to go alone if whoever the culprit was plans an ambush for people trying to snoop around. I’m not stupid enough to go at it alone either. That's why I came for you, we’d both at least stand a chance if we work together.
Nick thinks for a second.
- Nick: This must be serious if you want to be involved like this.
- HJ: You don’t say.
- Nick: Most of the small stuff, you’ve just left in our hands to sort out, something like this has to mean a lot. Just the fact that you understand my own feelings on this, its appreciated. You could’ve pulled me off the case and just done it yourself. I appreciate the thought.
- HJ: Trust me, I had a feeling you’d keep at it even if I tried to stop you. I’m not like that, why I haven’t really considered it is the fact Mitch was a good friend of yours. Just think back, I remember back in the final days of my big fight Bullet and I were the ones to fight Relius. We both had undertakings for this sort of thing. Both for a personal cause, not to say we’re the same in every way. Just the dedication to those close to us, even in death was kind of why I kept you on the case.
- Nick: Before you get into the debriefing, I think there should be one more involved.
- HJ: One more? Whom?
At Kei's home, the phone rings. Kei quickly picks it up having been nearby.
- Kei: Hello?
- Nick: Hey Kei, its Nick.
- Kei: What's up?
- Nick: Need you to come out to the police station.
- Kei: For what.
- Nick: Its important, can you just come?
- Kei: Yeah, be there in a bit.
Moments later, Kei arrived in the precinct. Nick was there to meet him.
- Kei: So what’s the big deal? Why’d you call me out like this?
- Nick: Follow me.
Nick led Kei into the vacant office, HJ just stood there. Kei stared at the man, not entirely sure who it was.
- Nick: Kei, this is Houdini jr.
Kei is surprised to hear the name.
- HJ: I go by HJ nowadays or my real name Mason
- Kei: This is an honor. Someone of your stature coming out here.
- HJ: Heh, sentiment is appreciated.
- Kei: So what brings someone like you out here?
- HJ: I came here actually to talk with Nick on something, seeing you’re here he seemed to be dead set on you knowing what I have found out.
- Nick: Kei, I wanted you out here because HJ discovered Mitch’s true murderer.
Kei, shocked, becomes serious.
- Kei: You have my full attention.
Nick nods then turns to HJ.
- Nick: HJ, Kei was also a friend of Mitch’s. I’m sure you’ve heard of the remnants of the NOL that have been making his life a little miserable lately.
- HJ: The Branch, correct?
- Nick: You are.
- HJ: I’m surprised after the KAL broke down that some of them decided to show up. What I’ve known so far is if the murderer is with the branch all we have to worry about is who in their group it is. I came here to tell Nick that I was going to assist him with a personal investigation, but with you here Kei… We might be able to finish this. Especially considering personal ties between you two and Mitch.
HJ rolls his neck before standing up, he adjusts his glasses as he looked to the two beastkin
- HJ: We should probably plan out when exactly we’re going, and we also need to be ready if any ambush squadrons decide to hinder our progress. I may be getting a bit old, but don’t leave me out of the battle...
- Kei: Hold up, you’re jumping a bit ahead of us there. First we need to know who this person that we’re going after is.
- HJ: We’re going against a wanted criminal Kei, not as high but probably on equal terms with my good pal Ragna, actually he’s one rank below him. S-Class criminal, Kon. Wanted for a lot of things, among them being robbery, armed assault, kidnapping, and blackmail among his entire rapsheet. I don’t know if he’s alone or if he’s with a group, if the latter it’s unknown who he’d work with. Mitch and him had a common thread too.
- Kei: And that would be?
- Nick: Nicole.
- HJ: Nail on the head.
- Nick: I knew it had something to do with her. She went missing the day after Mitch’s murder.
- HJ: I’ve come to believe that the murder scene was set up to look like someone else did it. Nick, you have photos of the scene, correct? Because if it’s staged to look like someone else’s doing, I’ve no clue who Kon staged it towards.
- Kei: I know who. I’m sure Nick does too. It made it look like Rin’s doing. She’s one of the people involved in that group.
- Nick: However, from the evidence gathered at the crime scene, its too unlikely that she’d have done it. It was too messy for a professional hit, let alone for a simple assassination. There had to be another reason to it.
- HJ: considering Assassins are usually quick and clean about this, you are onto something. But with this I also managed to find whereabouts on Nicole. But we still should be careful, it might be a trap considering we’ve no clue how many people are involved in this.
- Kei: Then its probably for the best that we wait until tomorrow before we seek this place out then?
- Nick: Its probably the best course of action. You’re probably tired from your trip, HJ.
- HJ: Kind of...the monorail ride had me half-asleep. I’m surprised how much Yabiko has changed, feels like yesterday I settled down at a house near the Lakeside port… Sorry if I sound like I’m reminiscing, I get like that easily sometimes.
- Kei: As long as you don’t mind the hoopla, you’re welcome to stay at our place for the night, on one condition.
- HJ: ….If it’s what I think it is, permission to punch you in the face for the snide insinuation?
- Nick: You’ve got Kei all wrong sir.
- HJ: Sorry, it’s just I’m still very touchy on ‘that’ part of me being mentioned… but go right ahead.
- Nick: I doubt Kei knows about ‘that’ sir.
- Kei: (clearing his throat) Anyway, I ask you not bring this conversation into my home. Mitch’s sister currently lives with me. I don’t want her hearing about this.
- HJ: Very well. That is manageable. To be honest I’d likely keep my mouth shut on all this for the sake of keeping my mind clear for tomorrow… I travel light so I only brought my essentials. I think I’ll be good then.
- Kei: Understood, HJ will stay with me tonight. In the morning, the three of us will depart towards this so-called place this woman is being kept.
Nick nods. He walks over to Kei and begins to whisper to him.
- Nick: (Whispering) Kei, I’m completely serious, take good care of HJ, a promotion could rely on this.
- Kei: (Whispering) Like I give a damn about your promotion!
HJ sighs as he looks at the window, he knew that everything was on the line at this point, he grabbed a small handgun out of his pocket, before eyeing it, he sighs to himself
- HJ: (To Himself) Heh...a shade of our former glory… Hayato, if you can hear me, just help me out a little while longer. My fight isn’t over… I just hope they aren’t worried about me.