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Lock, Fist and Purr (IC)


Thevshi

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September 3, 2013

8:23 AM

 

This morning found the sky over Freedom City overcast, with showers expected throughout the day and possibly thunder storms in the afternoon.  Despite the cloud cover, the otherwise warm morning air was already very muggy due to the humidity. 

 

Nestled along the southeastern end of downtown Freedom City, the Fens were just as muggy as anywhere else.  In the rather battered building that housed the Bloodhound Detective Agency, there was no reprieve from the humidity, as the building's air conditioning had once again decided to break down for the umpteenth time this summer.

 

Harry was seated at his desk near the window, which was open in the hopes of getting a breeze.  Freddy was seated on the sofa, watching the news, a fan blowing on him at the highest setting.

 

Lucy was in the office she had recently moved into the humidity not bothering her in the slightest.

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"Curse this damn heat! It's like Beelzebub has made it his personal mission to break wind in my face!"

Harry was not a happy man.

In a flash he was gone, replaced by the mongrol dog. Panting to let loose some heat, his eyes were still full of irritation.

"Hot like this too..." he complained, his voice changed and gruff from canine vocal cords but still understandable.

"When are we actually going to get paid for a job and get the air con back on line?" He asked the universe.

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Lucy was oblivious to the heat all she could do was appreciate the feeling of the sun on her face, something that most people with her powers couldn't normally do. She had at least taken off her jacket to appear that she felt the heat, she'd dress more casually but being aroung these two normally meant trouble was about to start.

 

 

She was currently working her way through the labyrinthine mystery that was the Bloodhound Agencies expenses.  

 

 

 

"Harry what exactly are all these miscellaneous expenses? It better not be whiskey again, you can]t buy alcohol with business funds." her voice was raised to travel between the office's but ir contained no anger, she was use to the boy's way's by now.

 

 

They might be great detectives but they were lousy with money and doing they're expensive was a case of how much money she'd have to prop the business up before the next case came along. And right now they really needed a case.

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Before Harry could answer Lucy's question, the agency’s phone rang.  Shifting back to his human form, the rumpled private investigator picked up the receiver.  On the other end he heard the measured, refined voice of Mr. Chen.

"Good morning Mr. Hound, I hope you and Mr. Furlong have been well.  I find myself in need of retaining your services.  If you are able to begin immediately, I am currently down at the Waterfront, pier 11.  It should not be difficult to find me, there are still currently a number of police at the scene.  And while I have the deepest respect for our law enforcement officers, I am not confident that they will be able to investigate the matter as quickly as you and Mr. Furlong might be able too."

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"Gazooks!" said Harry, zipping back to human form and slapping his forehead. 

 

"I didn't expect to hear from you again" he said "but I'm sure glad you called. We could sure use a well paid...I mean an interesting job" he spluttered, words tumbling out of his mouth like a waterfall. 

 

"Heck, even if I do get shot at again. We are your people, Mr. Chen, no doubt about it! The Waterfront, Pier 11" he repeated and wrote on a notepad. 

 

"Consider us their already!" he said. 

 

He pulled on his Mac, despite the muggy heat. "Come on gang! We got ourselves a job!"

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Lucy was up and had her coat back on before a little common sense came back to her. The boy’s did tend to go off on the smallest of excuses. Especially when it came to answer some of her sensible questions. Standing in the doorway she crossed her arms and gave her sternest look.


“Before we go chasin off on another of your adventures do you mind telling me exactly who we're going to meet and what this all about?â€

 

Best to get the basic questions out of the way now before they got lost in the excitement of the case.

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GM

 

"Oh yeah, sure honey" gruffed the Hound as he stuffed his keys in his pocket. 

 

"Mr. Chen. Chinese guy. Or maybe Korean or something. Me and the lump helped him out a few months back. Nearly got shot to pieces helping him, but he's a straight up guy. And most importantly...he pays up!" he said with a big grin. 

 

"Which in my book, and our account books, makes him Jesus Christ, Ghandi and the President of the United States all rolled into one!"

 

Freddy snorted but gave Lucy a look emphasising that in his book Mr. Chen was o.k. He gave a thumbs up and a wink to her. 

 

"So lets hear his story. Apparently he needs a case cracking fast. So let's show him just how good we are!" he said with a swinging thumbs up in return. 

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Lucy raised a perfectly turned out eyebrow.


“Honey really? And especially as I’ve seen your account’s, well I think they're mean to be account's either that or you have a literate ant problem.†she broke into one of her easy smiles and stepped out of the door so the three of them could leave.


“You can at least tell me the whole story whilst we go to where he want’s to meet up. I’ve have enough of staggering around in the dark trying to figure out what was going on.â€

 

She hadn’t told them everything but she told them some about her search for her origins and how everything turned out.

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The trio made their way outside and piled into the battered Caddy to make their way to the docks.  On the way, Harry recounted to Lucy how he and Freddy had first been put into contact with Mr. Chen to assist them in That investigation quickly took an unexpected turn when a Singapore based Triad sent a hitman to try and kill Chen for asking questions about the girl.  After Freddy and Harry saved Mr. Chen from the hitman, he assisted them in at the Chinese New Year celebration in Freedom City's Chinatown, just as agents from another Triad located her as well.

 

Harry had just finished the story when they had reached Pier 11.  As Mr. Chen had stated, it was easy to spot, as there were a number of police cars parked near the entrance to the pier.  But, whatever they had been doing there, the FCPD seemed to be in the process of wrapping things up.

 

After parking the Caddy, the trio made their way out onto the pier, at which two large cargo ships were moored.  Harry and Freddy spotted Mr. Chen down the pier next to the gangplank leading up to one of the cargo ships.  With him was a man whom looked to be a plain clothes policeman.  As usual, Mr. Chen was impeccably dressed, in a fine dark grey suit, red dress shirt and black tie. 

 

As the three drew near, the plain clothes detective turned to regard them and Harry recognized the face of Stan Mutnick, who had been far from one of his favorite fellow officers on the force.  "Well, Harry Hound."  Mutnick stated in a somewhat surprised tone.  "What is a washout like you doing down here?"

Edited by Thevshi
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"Mutnick!" said Harry in a false expression of joy. 

 

"I came here to do some crime solving. You know? Solving crime? Ring any bells? Never mind, you wouldn't understand..." he said dismissively. 

 

"Mr. Chen, good to see you sir!" he said cheerfully, chewing a cigar in his mouth and lighting it. 

 

"How is business? Its good we got here. I wouldn't trust the Police to get anything done this year. We are your guys! And...ah...girls..." he said indicating Revenant. 

 

"This is our lawyer, Ms. Lucy Harker" he explained, hoping he couldn't smell her differently-living status. She looked pretty normal bar her pale black and white colour - but he was inclined to think of Mr. Chen as a perceptive sort. 

 

"So, what can we do for you, Sir?" he asked him. 

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Mutnick smirked slightly at Harry's response.  "Yeah, sure Harry, sure."  He then turned back to Mr. Chen as he added, "well Mr. Chen, I think we have everything now.  We will be in touch as soon as we get anything.  There is no need for you to waste your money on the likes of Harry here."

 

With that, the detective started back up the pier, signaling for the couple of uniformed officers that were nearby to follow.

 

Mr. Chen had given Mutnick a courteous, but somewhat dismissive nod before he turned his attention back to Harry and the others.

 

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance Ms. Harker, unfortuante that it is under less than ideal circumstances."  He stated to Lucy with a bow.  "And a good morning to you Mr. Furlong."  He then added, looking over to Freddy with a polite nod before he focused back on Harry.

 

"I can certainly say that things have been better Mr. Hound.  Last night someone stole aboard the Jin Tian," Mr. Chen gestured towards the cargo ship the four were standing next to the gangplank of, "and broke into one of the cargo containers aboard.  The only thing stole was an antique I was importing for a client."

 

"Naturally the police had to be notified, but as you say, it may take some time for them to make any headway.  So I wish to retain your services to help locate and recover the stolen statue."

Edited by Thevshi
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"The Jin Tian, huh?" asked Harry, scribbling in his notebook. 

 

He had never heard of it. 

 

"Real nice ship that. Shame someone got into her. And stole and Antique, you say? Well, I guess we had better start with the scene of the crime, huh?" he said, wandering over the gangplank. 

 

"If someone could show us to the cargo container in question, I would be mighty obliged. And whilst we go there, it would sure help if you gave us the lowdown on the antique of yours, what it is, what it looks like, that kind of thing..." he said. 

 

"And why someone would want to steal it..." he added. 

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Lucy returned Mr Chen greeting with a little bow and a broad smile.


“I rarely meet people during the best of circumstances it seems to be a consequence my career I follow. And please call me Lucy I’m not really one with formalities, it help’s with those two around.†her smile suggested that she wasn’t bothered by this fact.

 

“As well as seeing the scene of the crime it would help if you could tell us what you know about the antique that was stolen. Especially if it was more than just a decorative items, a lot a thing’s in this city hold rather dangerous surprises.â€

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Mr. Chen gave a small smile of his own as she requested he call her Lucy.  "Then you must call me Gordon."

 

His business like demeanor then returned as he turned towards the gangplank.  "Naturally Mr. Hound."  He replied as Harry requested to see the crime scene and the group started up the gangplank.  "The cargo container is just up on the main deck.  As for the stolen statue, I have a picture right here."

 

Mr. Chen handed Harry a large envelope.  Inside were a number of large pictures of a lion guardian statue made of stone and what appeared to be jade.  "The statue is about four feet in height, and weights over three hundred pounds.  To my knowledge, there is nothing out of the ordinary about the statue.  However, there are those who believe lion guardian statues have mystical powers.  As for why someone would want to steal it, my client was purchasing the statue for twelve million dollars."

 

The small group reached the top of the gang plank.  The main deck of ship was crowded with stacks of cargo containers.  A few crew members were busy going about daily tasks.  Mr. Chen led the other three around some of the outer stacks of cargo containers to the stacks in the middle.

 

It was immediately apparent where the break in had taken place.  Several containers were lying down in the path between the stacks, apparently having been tipped down or fallen over.  One of the containers towards the center of the stack had been ripped open, the metal bent and twisted aside.  Several damaged wooden crates with Chinese writing on them were scattered about the area in what appeared a random pattern. 

 

"The crate the statue was in is still up in what is left of the cargo container."  Mr. Chen stated as he pointed up to the mangled container. 

 

The climb up to the damaged cargo container was a bit precarious, at least for Harry, but with Freddy's assistance, the rumpled private investigator managed to get up to the container.  As the two looked about, it became quickly apparent that the scattered wooden crates had been inside the cargo container, and tossed aside to get to the crate that held the statue, which was sitting in the middle of the damaged cargo container.

 

The wooden crate the statue had been in looked like it had been close to four feet in height, but was now torn nearly in half.  Packing straw was scattered about the area, a large amount still sitting in what was left of the wooden crate.

 

As Harry and Freddy searched the area a bit more, the pair found lots of strands of long, brown hair which clung to several of the wooden crates as well as the parts of the cargo container that had been ripped open and bent aside.  Taking a bit of time to sniff around, Harry quickly found a perfumed scent around the cargo container and smashed wooden crate.

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"Three hundred pounds?" wheezed the Hound, rolling on his feet. 

 

"Well either they brought in a fork lift truck or they had some super muscle behind them" he said, pointing to the twisted metal and shattered crates. 

 

"And from this perfume here, it wasn't some steroid guy high on Max" he said, kneeling down to sniff the area. 

 

"And this hair, we could certainly take a look at that" he noted, carefully using his tweezers to put it in a plastic sachet. 

 

"So, an interesting start. But the next question is, who knew about this delivery?" he asked Mr. Chen directly. 

 

"Was it common knowledge? or secret? and what security measures did you have in place?"

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Mr. Chen smiled slightly as Harry began noting some of the things he had already uncovered and began asking additional questions.  "You have already discovered more than the police did here Mr. Hound."  He began.

 

"As for who knew about the delivery, well, I do not believe I would term it common knowledge, but it certainly was no secret either."  He then added.  "My client certainly knew the statue was being shipped, though he did not know any of the particulars."

 

"Back in China, those involved in preparing the statue for shipping certainly had some information about it, particularly those involved in loading the cargo container.  I have a number of employees here who knew information regarding the containers contents, and even which container had which items.  Likewise, I am sure some of the crew had information on the manifest regarding which containers were mine and what each held.  Such information is important for insurance purposes of course."

 

"Which also further expands the list of those who might have known about the statue's location.  I naturally had to provide information regarding all the items in each of the cargo containers to my insurance carrier in order to have this shipment insured.  All the rest of these items." Mr. Chen gestured around at the smashed crates scattered about, "are easily replaceable with the insurance I put on them.  And even if we are unable to recover the statue, I will only suffer minimal losses, even though I cannot replace it.  But more important to me, is the damage that my reputation will suffer as a result."

 

He was quite a brief moment, and then continued.  "In addition, information regarding the contents of each of these containers has been provided to customs."

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Looking around the scene of the crime something possibly important occured to Lucy, she gave it some thought as Harry did his thing.


“This statute was a Shi or Guardian Lion right? Often called Foo Dog’s in the West there guardian spirits protecting entrances to buildings. I asked Lin over at that Szechuan restaurant about them last time I was there.â€


She gave a shrug at her explanation and carried on.

 

“Well the thing is that they’re always found in pairs. Do we know where the other Foo Dog is found? It might be a clue to what happened here.â€

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Mr. Chen gave Lucy a small smile.  "Yes, you are quite correct.  Shi are always found in pairs."  He then looked back down at the picture of the particular statue that was missing.  "As you can see, the one that has been stolen is the male of the pair," he pointed at the front paw of the statue that was resting on an embroidered ball.  He then looked back up to regard Lucy, Harry and Freddy.

 

"Unfortunately, the whereabouts of the female of the pair is unknown.  The temple in which this pair resided was destroyed during the Japanese occupation.  The contents that were not destroyed were scattered to the winds.  It was by happenstance that I learned the location of this statue a few years ago, but the opportunity acquire it only came up a few months ago.  It could well be that the female statue was destroyed, or has been since.  Or, it could reside in some private collection somewhere."

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"Or it could be..." said Harry, pausing slightly for effect. 

 

"Somebody wants to add to their collection"

 

"That would be right, huh? I can only imagine that both of the pair, together, would be far more valuable than one on its own? Nothing for certain, of course, its worth a huge amount of cash anyway. But we might start looking at people who collect extremely expensives relics of this kind. And, of course, people who fence them..." he considered, a few names and rumours flying into his head as he spoke. 

 

He tugged at his shirt slightly. 

 

"And of course we could see if our..ahh...ummm...specialist canine companion could pick up any scent to follow" he said, wiggling his eyebrows at Lucy and Freddy and wondering how he could slip of to change without arousing any undue suspicion. 

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"To be certain, a matched pair is generally more valuable than a single Shin."  Mr. Chen said in agreement.  "However, as I indicated, there is no definitive evidence that the matching Shin even still exists."

 

He then paused a moment before adding, "But I trust that you will know best how to conduct the investigation.  Unless you can think of any other information I might be able to provide at this time, I have other matters I should be attending."

 

Glancing around, Harry did not see any members of the crew in the area.

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Harry shrugged slightly. It was, he figured, a neat theory, but it had plenty of holes in it. 

 

"Well, Mr. Chen, don't you worry. The Bloodhound Detective Agency can crack anything!" he said, full of sales pitch rather than confidence. The stakes were high, but, he reflected, this wasn't the toughest case in the book. 

 

"Right then..." he said, cracking his knuckles once Mr. Chen was out of sight. 

 

Without fireworks, Harry was gone. 

 

"Woof woof" said the Hound, a mongrel breed of everything that was in his place. Although he was quite capable of barking in dog form, he still enunciated his speech as "woof". 

 

"Right, lets see what the old nose can pick up..."

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As Hound began sniffing around the deck near the cargo containers, he quickly discovered that the only traces of the perfumed scent he could find were around the upturned cargo containers or the smashed shipping crates which had been dropped down from the torn open container above.  The transformed private detective then widened his search pattern to cover the rest of the main deck, his canine form easily weaving in and out of the stacks of cargo containers.

 

But after searching all of the main deck, he was unable to find any further trace of the scent.  Whomever the woman was, she apparently had not been down on the main deck.

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Damn it. Trust a broad to give me the slip...

 

In a flash he grew back to the crumpled human detective, who stuffed his hands in his pockets in irritation. Stamping his feet slightly he marched back to Lucy and Freddy. 

 

"No deal with the perfume" he explained. "Although i wont forget that brand in a hurry. Just one isolated snatch, a mere whiff, by the scene of the crime. Beats me how that happened. Maybe some teleportation thing. That would certainly be a handy trick for stealing" he mused. 

 

"But its a dead end deal here. I suggest we see what strings we can pull, see if anybody might know anything about fencing this. Cant be easy to lug around something as valuable and heavy as an antique statue"

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Lucy gave little sigh and narrowed her eyes at Harry. She wasn’t particularly upset but the two of them tended to think in purely mundane terms, even though the two of them had powers themselves.


“You personally know someone who can lift trolley car with some effort a crate like this would be no problem. Would it be worth trying to pick up the scene outside of the hold?â€


She leaned in with what she thought was dramatic flare and spoke in Harry ear’s with a theatrical whisper.

 

“And even in my day it wasn’t only women who wore perfume, I think you should read up on your Arthur Conan Doyle.â€

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Freddy smirked and Lucy's comment. 

 

"She gotta a point, Harry. I could lift something like that..." he repeated without much use, and with a somewhat self congratulatory flex of his admittedly impressive musculature. 

 

"Yeah yeah. Point taken, point taken..." muttered Harry, tapping his chin and running his hand through his hair. 

 

"So, so, some superheavyweight super-guy then. That, or a fork lift truck. And I don't see any track marks. Well, hell, if we are going the super duper route, some guy could have just levitated it out, or some hocus pocus trick. Damn..." he scratched his jaw. 

 

"Back to task then. Focus on what we got. A scent. A perfume. What we need is a motive, and a method. I think its time to do our homework, Mr. Chen..." he said, politely bowing. 

 

"Back to the Agency..."

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