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Felix Epitaph

Drama Crime Thriller


4  

Felix Epitaph

Drama Crime Thriller


Prologue

Prologue

9 mins 218 9 mins 218

“Is she in yet Commander?” The man’s brusque manner meant business, but more out of contempt than anything. The Governor’s cold manner with outsiders was well documented, much less one without a sense of supernatural punctuality. After all, it was cutting into time he’d rather spend indulging men and women in higher positions than he. 

“O-o-o-f course Governor Raymond, she’ll be here any time-”

“Don’t bother, Commander. Mitchell here respects the milliseconds a tad bit too much. Don’t you, Mitchell?” The Commander grit his teeth bracingly, expecting an explosion from the Governor, but it wasn’t to come. So it was true, Mr. X really had as much pull the Commander had begun to suspect. 


A few months ago, he’d been contacted by an anonymous source. It was suggested that in his own interest, he should start up a line of communication between himself and the governor, giving regular mission reports. And of course, like any self-respecting man, he put down the telephone like it was melting in his hands. Thirty-five years of not bowing down to bureaucratic ultimatums gave him the benefit of walking down the street, his shoes squeaky clean, and fiery close cropped hair without so much as lowering his head. Of course, someone with his track record ought not to be freezing his tail off so far from home, but he didn’t mind. It put his leather jackets to great use. In either case, the little chat didn’t make much headway at all, except for making the telephone a disagreeable object.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Within a week, they found a way to insert their insignia in his life, in steps. By the time he recognised the pattern, it was in his car. A miniature of a horse with a man’s face, holding a rifle. Why had he recognised it? Well, because he found it in the lobby of the hotel he was staying in, larger than life, and somebody had been body painted as such, showing him out, like a door guard.

For weeks, he used shortcuts, circled around town, and even switched cars in between to weed out any tails, but his attempts were futile. Regardless, his neck became sore from watching his back, and sleep became a novelty. Because even the heaters were not able to abate the cold, and fear of the unknown. 


It was two weeks after he got the first phone call, that a horse man pointed a gun at him, and forced him to take the call, and he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. How could he? He had too much left back at home, and the deal was more light work than he expected, or at least not of much consequence. Not that he was proud of it, but a few whispered words for a few wads of cash didn’t exactly feature in his moral blacklist. He could do much worse.

“Commander, I believe you’re expecting me? I apologise for the delay, I was caught up.” Hazel tresses perched upon a shapely face brought him back to his office. The glass door closed behind her. He noticed that Seaborne’s presence brightened up the dull, monotone, octagonal battle room considerably. From here, he could watch the rest of the stables, busy at work on their computers, either hesitant, or too wired in to pay attention to what was happening in the rest of the barn. A few long faces cast a look in their direction though, trying to catch a glance of Seaborne. Far too pretty to be a shrink, he mused, as he took in the warm brown coat that hugged her form, and the rhythm of her strides on the mosaic floor. Get it together.

“Y-y-yes. Take it up with the boss, Seaborne. Anyways, for future reference, 17:00 means 17:00 for the man in the chair.” She nodded courteously, and glided over to the system, not fazed a bit. “She’s here gentlemen.”


“Ahh, charming. You won’t mind turning on the video on your end ehh?” Sensing that it wasn’t a request from Mr. X, the Commander pressed the button. “Yes, thank you”, Mr. X acknowledged. A hint of curiosity in his voice, as if he were addressing a rather interesting specimen. “So, I assume that you have been kept in the loop, Ms. Seaborne?”

“Yes, I have”, she answered firmly. “But I was told this was a matter of wider interest somehow. Involving the system, I presume?”

“Very astute observation Doctor. As it so happens, the main man is on the call.” This didn’t have the desired effect. “Umm.. the main man is on the call, right?” A cough later, another voice piped in.

“Thanks Da-, I mean Mr. X. Let me make this quick Ms. Seaborne. You’re about to be assigned a patient, one whom, you can say, is a person of interest for us.”

“‘Us’ being?” She adjusted the sleeves of her shirtsleeves.


“Us being the powers that be Mr. Seaborne, the ones that keep the country running.”

“Ahh, it’s not nearly as dramatic as that. Let me intervene, if it isn’t too big of a deal, main man.” That’s the second time Mr. X superseded the Governor like it’s a street chat. “Your patient is a war veteran who’s run himself into the ground serving the nation. His latest sacrifice…Nearly being murdered by a turncoat in his unit, who he failed to identify, a severe mishap, from burnout. ” He paused, to consider his words. “We’re asking for an intervention. The man’s as numb as a frostbite these days, almost asking for a bullet in his mouth. As such, the Commander will classify him as a liability, but we need a glowing doctor’s report to seal the deal. A little icing on the cake, to gift-wrap him back to the States. What do ya say?” 

If Seaborne was ill at ease with the arrangement, she didn’t show it. “Of course, we will throw in a little sugar, a little sweetener if you-”

“Not necessary Mr. X. I’m not averse to sending a hardened and beaten man home if that’s what this is about.” Tousling her hair about, she looked away distantly.

“Glad to hear of your cooperation Miss. And remember, this is strictly confidential-” the Governor began.

“Yes, mum’s the word, we get it G. There is some-”


“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t interrupt me when I speak Mr. X”, the Governor stated sternly. 

“Yes, I would GG, but it pains me to listen to all this formal talk. You ought to loosen up, maybe conjure up a smile, if your face muscles remember how to make one.” Seaborne concealed her laughter in the depths of her suit, as the Commander was appalled at this display of flippancy from Mr. X, maintaining his military face all the while. 

When she was ready again, Seaborne turned to face the camera.

“Anything else I should know about this patient, gentlemen? Anything of note?” At this, Mr. X unmuted his microphone.

“Yes Miss. As it turns out, I might know a thing or two about the man. Firstly, he’s not exactly going to be doing jumping jacks at the prospect of getting dropped from the geese flock. Stubborn like an ox, that one is, but he’s at his tipping point. That much is clear from his case files. A small push ought to do it.” He paused for a second. “Everything suggests that he’s forgotten about home, but I think it’s all about locks and keys. Anyways, his father died last month. That ought to kill the fire, after which you can psycho-analyse him all you want.” 


The Commander was repulsed by this suggestion. Sedation, by introducing the idea of his father’s death? What kind of vile trick is that? He glanced at Seaborne, whose delicate features seemed even softer, as even she felt for the man.

“I thought you had everything figured out.” She started. “My report and the commander’s, combining swiftly to pack him up. Why the further prodding?” 

This time, the Governor answered.

“Miss, he’s a revered soldier, who’s served in countless units, and collected enough medals to deck a museum. If he wants to revisit his physical and psychological status, he has more than enough weight to make such a suggestion. What we need, is something that might convince him otherwise.” Taking a deep breath, he continued. “We’ve looked at your portfolio, and it appears that if there’s anyone that can-”

“Knock some sense into his dense head, it’s you.” 

“Mr X, I told you!!!-”

“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” Mr. X blurted out, chuckling to himself, enjoying the Governor’s ire. Seaborne averted her gaze, almost smiling, at the friends bickering amongst each other.

“Well, I think I understand my role here gentlemen. Will that be all?”


“Yes, that will be all, Miss Seaborne”, both the Governor and Mr. X chorused together, Mr. X mimicking the Governor almost perfectly. 

Flashing a polite smile at the commander, she made herself sparse, leaving the Commander to his thoughts. 

Huh. Never saw this side of either of those two. Didn’t realise they were that close.

“Commander, I expect that from your end, you’ll be able to dig up enough water-tight evidence to suggest that our subject is not up to scratch any longer. Of course, you shall be rewarded in kind for your efforts, if, and when our plan succeeds.”

“Understood Governor.” For a few seconds, there was a lull, in which the Commander sensed apprehension.

“Commander, there’s something wrong with this la-”

“Was there Mitchie? I thought she was lovely, quippy, and to the point. God knows I love a woman like that.”

“Daisy!!!!!” Daisy??


“What, I’m only appreciating a classy woman!” Mr. X said, indignantly.

 “Never mind him Commander. What I was saying was that she didn’t need much paper in the way of convincing. And in my line of work, philanthropists aren’t to be trusted. There’s always a motive for everything. I hope you understand?” The commander leant back in his chair, scratching his moustache. The man did make a telling argument.

“Of course Governor. I’ll keep a weather eye on the situation.”


“Aye, now there’s a lad ehh.” Mr. X guffawed. “Well, I think I’ve had enough of all this weary-eyed talk. God knows I need a drink to kick-start my day.” He let out a hearty yawn, and the Commander could almost imagine a sleepy middle age man, with beer stains on his shirt, while the Governor coughed. “Just tell us when the eagle’s in the air alright, we’ll take it from there. Maybe we’ll find a way to keep his feet on the ground then, won’t we? Maybe he’ll even hunt a few fish down for us.” The governor groaned, even his guard broken by the sheer unabashedness of his colleague.


“Alright Mr. X, that’s quite enough from you! Now let’s remember our company then, shall we. We will be speaking again, commander.” And with that, he cut the call, but the Commander had heard enough. Enough to know that whatever this was, it was much more than a warm, soppy tale of a soldier returning home after the war. As far as he knew, the war never ended.


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