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The chronological order of my stories is as follows:

Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, Case of the Black Widow series, Teresa’s Christmas Story.

The Case of the Black Badge, Ch. 1-3

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, extreme language, and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial or racist language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 17 – At The Federal Level

Cindy and I had been watching Muscone and Sandra Speer interrogate the suspects. When we arrived in the City, Lindy Linares had escorted us to the anteroom of the FBI’s interrogation room, where Jack Muscone was just beginning to work on Sergeant Brody.

When the lawyer had objected to the FBI’s jurisdiction of the case, I heard Jack say as I listened in, “Here’s the deal: the man Carroll who was found dead in your County was reported missing in Arizona. That means crossing State lines, it means Federal jurisdiction. Your Town & County Police shared with the FBI information from your patrol car’s GPS that you’d visited that meat plant the night before the bodies were found-“

“Purely coincidental and circumstantial, Agent Muscone.” said the lawyer. “Do you really think this is going to hold up in a hearing, much less a trial?”

“In addition,” Muscone continued, unfazed, “Black Badges were found on your clothing at the time of your arrests; matching a Black Badge once found on the other man found dead on Carroll. Circumstantial? Maybe, but there are just too many coincidences. Juries aren’t stupid, Sergeant Brody.” Muscone noticed, as I did, that Brody’s face was showing turmoil.

“Brody,” said Muscone, “I would suggest you cut a deal and talk.”

“Agent Muscone, this is harassment.” the lawyer said. “My client has invoked, and this continued inquisition is a violation of his rights.”

“Brody, it’s not your legal beagle’s call, it’s yours.” Muscone said. “Think hard about this; you know what’s waiting for you on the outside if and when you’re bailed out of our custody.”

“Look…” said Brody, “can I get… I want immunity.”

“I can’t authorize that, but I’ll get the U.S. Attorney in here right now to talk to you about that.” Muscone said, rising from his chair.

“Say nothing more, Sergeant Brody!” the lawyer practically screamed. “Agent Muscone, I want to speak to my client, alone. Now!”

“Okay.” Muscone said, “but Brody, once I walk out of this room, you have no prayer of a deal.” Muscone turned to the door.

“Wait!” said Brody. The lawyer tried to hush him up, but Brody turned on the lawyer and shouted “Shut the fuck up!”

“Well, I can hardly continue to represent you if you don’t do what I say.” said the lawyer, his words sounding much more like a threat than any attempt to help his client. “You need my representation to have any chance against these Government agents.”

“Then you don’t represent me anymore. Go.” said Brody. When the lawyer didn’t move, Brody said, “You heard me, get out!”

“Do you realize what you’re saying here?” the lawyer said, his voice menacing. “Do you fully understand what you are doing, Mr. Brody?”

“Get. Out. Go talk to Gunn.” Brody said. The lawyer finally got out, a viciously angry look on his face. Muscone called for the U.S. Attorney, and soon a youngish, handsome black man entered the room. However, the negotiations soon broke down: Brody wanted immunity in exchange for full disclosure, the U.S. Attorney and Muscone said Brody was looking at a plea deal at best if he cooperated. Even with that, the U.S. Attorney said, they had to have something first from Brody, but he said he had to have immunity and wouldn’t say anything without it…

“We can hold them for 72 hours before we have to arraign them.” Jack Muscone said as he entered the anteroom of the interrogation room at the Federal Building in the City. It was 1:30am, the early morning of March 3d. “Our judge might be more amenable to no bail, but it’s iffy; he just might turn around and defer to your local court’s jurisdiction.”

I’d just watched the black U.S. Attorney enter Gunn’s interrogation room, where Brody’s wily attorney had gone after Brody kicked him out, and then watched Gunn say “I’m not talking to this nigger.” and literally turn his back to the U.S. Attorney and FBI Agent. The U.S. Attorney simply said “No deal for him at any time.” and walked out.

I said “Gunn is a hopeless case; we couldn’t waterboard the truth out of that prick. Keep working on Brody. samsun escort That lawyer belongs to the organization these guys were working for; I suspect his organization will abandon Brody to his fate once the lawyer reports on what happened today. When Brody realizes that, he might come to his senses and work with you.”

Part 18 – Internal Affairs of Internal Affairs

March 3d. A bright, sunny Wednesday. The weather picked me up despite having had less than two hours sleep after returning from the City the night before. I’d sent Cindy into the unused Commander’s office next to Paulina’s to get some extra sleep. For once, she had not argued with me, and she went to take her nap.

Once again, there had been absolutely nothing from Bettina Wurtzburg; in fact she was not on this morning, and her fill-in said she was taking a well-deserved vacation day. Yeah right, I thought to myself.

At 8:00am, there was a knock on the door to my little Lieutenant’s office, and upon my “Come in!” the door opened to reveal a very large man with long gray hair and a full beard and mustache of dark and light gray. I suspected he was in much better shape than his girth would seem to indicate.

“Lieutenant, may I have a few moments of your time in the main Conference room?” the man asked.

“Do I know you?” I asked.

“Oh, no sir, we’ve never met. My name is Sergeant Bill Hanson. I’m with Internal Affairs.”

“Oh, okay, sure, let’s go to the conference room.” I said. It was not unusual that I had not met this Internal Affairs officer; one could go a decade and not ever meet some of the I.A. people. I also knew this wasn’t about me: a Sergeant cannot investigate a Lieutenant. Once inside the conference room, Sgt. Hanson sat down at the end of the table, with me to his right at the first chair to the side.

“First,” said Sgt. Hanson, “I’m glad to finally meet you, so I can congratulate you on the Medal of Valor. That was a mighty brave thing you did.”

“Thank you.” I said. “How long have you been in I.A.?”

“I’ve been here three years.” said Hanson, his voice deep and resonant. “I did Vice and Stakeouts for years with the City Police. Busted a dirty cop drug ring, and so got migrated over here, but I’m not complaining; I love it in this Police Department. And speaking of dirty cop rings, that’s what I wanted to discuss with you.”

“How can I help you, Sergeant?” I asked.

“It’s about this Brody/Gunn business.” said Sgt. Hanson. “We were not aware until recently of their possible involvement with this Badge gang, but we’ve known all along that they’re racists, and that there are racists all over the Department. The thing is, it’s not illegal to be a racist as long as one doesn’t violate someone else’s civil rights by discriminating against them. And some of the racism goes very high in the Force, so we have to be careful about what we do.”

“I see.” I said, starting to get the pattern, but waiting for Hanson to finish.

“Lt. Allgood is going to be meeting the Chief at 10:00am.” Sgt. Hanson said. “They’re going to be discussing it, and plotting a course of action. So what I wanted to ask beforehand is what you know about any race-related issues and how you might proceed going forward.”

“Before I answer,” I said, “let me ask a question: How aware of Brody and Gunn’s dirty dealings as Internal Affairs been? And don’t tell me you can’t answer; you’re here to gauge my reaction to Lt. Allgood and Internal Affairs holding back information for some considerable time, and you want to see where I stand. I’ll tell you, but first you tell me what I need to know.”

Sgt. Hanson laughed. “No wonder you made Lieutenant so fast. I’ve heard you were really good. Okay, you’re right: Allgood wanted me to feel you out. He’s concerned his reputation will take a hit, though it shouldn’t; he hasn’t withheld anything except some racial feelings of some people.”

“Fair enough.” I said. So Brody/Gunn?”

“We had inklings about Gunn. Lt. Allgood said you gave him the leads on the guy. But we never could find anything serious. We’d do spot-check tails, follow them both around on occasion, but we couldn’t do that full-time. They may have been onto us as it was. Until they attacked your nephew and his wife, which was a damned stupid thing to do, there was little we could do.”

“Any idea who was protecting them, giving them info to keep them safe from you?”

“That’s the higher-up guy we’re aware of, but that’ll have to be between Lt. Allgood and the Chief, if not the Inspector General.”

“Well,” I said, “my answer to you is that at ten o’clock I’m expecting to be called into that meeting with the Chief and Allgood. I like Allgood, I think he’s an honest man, but he needs to come correct on what he knows.”


The Chief had been talking to Daniel Allgood already when the door to his conference room opened and he told me and Cindy Ross to come inside. The Chief escort samsun was sitting at the head of the table, and to his right was Allgood. To Allgood’s right was Detective James “Curly” Goodwin, 2nd-in-command of I.A. But it was the man to the Chief’s left whose presence shocked me. It was Inspector General Horace S. Wellman.

Yes, Wellman. Horace was the younger brother of University President Sidney P. Wellman, and where the elder man had frosted his gray hair even more silver-white, Horace’s hair was dyed solid black. He had that same almost-sinister grin as his elder brother, and their faces might be mistaken for identical twins if one didn’t know better. But I also knew that while the brothers were cordial, there was a distance between them. Horace Wellman was a man of unimpeachable integrity, while Dr. Sidney Wellman was… well, let’s just say he does what he has to do to serve his University.

IG Wellman was wearing a Sheriff’s Department uniform with a ‘bird colonel’ insignia on the shoulders, though it was gold while Chief Griswold’s was silver. They were technically of identical rank in the Public Safety Department, but everyone knew that this was the Chief’s Police Force but IG Wellman was the independent overseer of Internal Affairs.

IG Wellman was surprised to see Cindy, who had taken a seat beside him, while I sat beside Goodwin. “I mean no offense, Chief, but did you want Detective Ross here, also?”

“Lieutenant?” the Chief replied simply.

“Yes, Inspector.” I said, calling him by his spoken title per protocol. “Detective Ross is my partner, and she has impeccable integrity, certainly more than me.”

“Well, with that endorsement, welcome, Detective Ross.” said IG Wellman. Cindy nodded but said nothing as IG Wellman continued “By the way, Lieutenant, that was a brilliant move on your part to have the FBI arrest those twerps just as soon as Judge Stone gave them bail. The Chief has not stopped laughing all morning long.” I looked at the Chief; his mustaches were still quivering with barely restrained merriment.

“That was you?” Curly Goodwin asked, his face a mirror of shock. I gave him a sarcastic look.

“Of course.” I said. “The Black Badge gang is going to have to work harder than that to get by me. It was obvious they’d try a trick like that to get these guys out of our hands… and I daresay the FBI saved their lives, but that’s for another time.”

“Okay, Don, Cindy, to get you two up to speed.” Chief Griswold said, “I have told Daniel that while he and I have a good relationship and have worked well together, and while I’ve given him plenty of leeway to run I.A. as he sees fit, the time has now come that he needs to share some information that he otherwise might have been sitting on. Mind you, his sitting on the info is not a problem, he has not been withholding anything he shouldn’t have, but since I need to know now, we’re now here. Inspector Wellman is also here because some of this information involves someone of a higher rank than Lt. Allgood. You get one guess who that is, Crowbar, don’t blow it.”

“If it’s not Captain Malone, I’ll turn in my crowbar.” I said.

“As usual, you’re on the ball.” said the Chief. “Daniel?”

Lt. Allgood began his staggering report: “We’ve known for some time that Captain Malone is racist. This has shown up on a few occasions, such as refusing to hire or promote black candidates to Vice; and also some remarks made to and about ADA Paulina Patterson, for which she filed formal complaints with us. Fortunately for him, Captain Malone made no explicit use of racial words, just made his disdain of ADA Patterson clear. I will admit that my way of handling Patterson’s complaints were to tell Captain Malone to be more circumspect in his dealings with her, and let it go at that.

“However, more recently we have learned from the FBI that Captain Malone and his wife Madelyn are members of several nationally-known white supremacy groups, and his wife is especially active and much more extremely racist than he is. The Malones go on vacation to Alabama or Tennessee once every year, and that vacation coincides with meetings and rallies of some of these white supremacist groups.

“None of this is illegal, as far as we in I.A. can tell. However, we’ve been researching some leads along parallel lines to the MCD Department about this so-called ‘Black Badge’ gang. While there was no overt connection between Captain Malone and Sergeants Carroll and Brody and Patrolmen Delmar and Gunn, we are about to begin an operation to investigate Captain Malone, and see if we can’t find some links. We’ve heard some reports and complaints from time to time about Captain Malone ordering drug stings and raids based on some information, but then ignoring completely other developed drug intelligence and simply not acting on it-“

“Allow me to interrupt you here one second, Daniel” said Inspector General Wellman. “Don, I believe you have some information samsun escort bayan on this?”

“Sir,” I said, “a good analogy would be that I have a few pieces of the puzzle, and while I can see the picture on the box, that doesn’t count: we have to put the actual puzzle together. What I have is basically a theory based upon some thin and very circumstantial evidence.”

“Noted, but let’s hear it.” Wellman said.

“I think Malone is careful to the extreme, so careful that he has yet to even be thought about in terms of criminal activity. I think he doesn’t deal in drugs himself, never gets near nor touches the stuff, never talks directly to the gangs. But I think he’s the spider in the center of the web that controls the flow of drugs into this County. One gang pays him, and pays him well, to have exclusive distribution rights, so to speak. Other gangs that move in without his blessing find themselves on the business end of police raids and interdictions. The Vice Department is being used as a tool by Harold Malone to enforce his will upon the drug gangs.”

“I am also not sure that this Black Badge business is Malone, or if it’s drug or racial things.” I said. “But I have noted that Carroll and Delmar wouldn’t speak when we caught them- while Malone was present during questioning. And Brody was about to talk, we had him about to spill it all… but he clammed up when Malone simply went into the room and stared at him. I think this shows Malone works with just a few people at a time, his intermediaries, and it may be that one set of his intermediaries doesn’t even know about the other set or sets. Getting proof of this is going to require some serious, serious data analysis as well as developing leads, and on top of that we’re going to have to get someone to talk.”

“Last, but not least,” I said, “as soon as he finds out the Inspector General is investigating him… and that will happen pretty quickly, gentlemen, no offense intended… then Malone will announce his candidacy for Sheriff and take a leave of absence from the Force. Anything that comes out about him after that will draw accusations of being politically motivated, and of using the Police for political purposes.”

“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.” said Chief Griswold. “Meanwhile, Daniel, Curly, I want you I.A. guys to work more closely with Don and Cindy than you normally would, keep them in the loop. They can help you tremendously.

“Don, have any leads for us? Any place to start looking?” Daniel Allgood asked.

“Sure do.” I said. “Officer Billy Smith and Senior Patrolman Wesson. They brought Brody and Gunn to the Courthouse. May be nothing, or they may be the next two ‘Sith Lords’ for Malone.”

Part 19 – Pursuing Leads

The Country Breakfast Diner, run by Jack Colby, also served a delicious buffet lunch. As the six of us returned from lunch there, I was met in MCD by Myron Milton and Goth Girl Mary. I had Cindy come with me as we headed to Classroom ‘E’, which was much smaller than Classroom J. The main conference room was being used, and there was a secure ethernet hookup for Myron’s laptop in Classroom E.

“I got footage from all the cameras in the area, the traffic cameras, the Courthouse security cameras, and the restaurants on the South side of the Square.” said Myron. “Special Agent Muscone also had his people send me the footage from the Federal Building. Here’s what I have of that motorcyclist.”

I watched several minutes of footage as Myron spoke: “It’s not a very big motorcycle, maybe a Honda. We got some views of the license plate, but it’s been coated with something that causes glare and the cameras can’t read the number. Any actual person could read the plate if standing behind it, but the cameras don’t do well with it. That’s a pretty sophisticated trick. I sent a couple of the best frames to the FBI and asked them to see if they could make something of it.”

“Good.” I said. “So, this person on the bike… not a big person. Slender man or maybe a woman.”

“Possibly.” said Myron. “Here’s something interesting, though. This shot was taken by the camera on the traffic light at the northeast corner of the square. It was activated when the FBI ran the red light to get to the perps. Look at that bulge under the jacket, center of the chest.”

“Oooh, yes…” I said. “Cindy, check this out: if I don’t miss my guess, that’s a concealed gun. Proves nothing, but it’s good enough for my mind that this very likely was an assassin who was going to shoot Brody and Gunn right there on the Courthouse steps. Okay, great work, guys!” I said, beginning to get up.

“Oh, we have more, Lieutenant.” said Mary. “Patrolman Tommy Gunn? ‘Tommy Gunn’ is not his real name!”

“What? Really?” I asked, sitting back down.

“We ran the fingerprints through the FBI database. Two other names came up with these prints, in addition to ‘Tommy Gunn’ when his prints were taken at the Police Academy. These prints match arrest records.” I looked at the information, the pictures from the arrests were indeed our race-hater Tommy Gunn.

“They didn’t catch it at the Academy?” I asked, befuddled.

“Don, it’s an open secret that they don’t run the prints.” said Cindy. “They take ’em and file ’em, and send a copy to the FBI database, but that’s all.”

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