Beta Read by: Danae and Raven Moonwind
Written for Petfly by: Peter Lance
internal thought in italics
Jeff Caine, the evening DJ, watched as scantily clad dancers made their
winding circuit on the front portion of the raised stage of the Kobe Club. The club was a
popular gathering place for the up and coming thirty-something group (at least for the
The club inhabited a high traffic area right on the edge of Cascade's China town. Jeff grinned as one of the more 'aggressive' ladies approached a group of businessmen and offered to do a table dance. The early lunchtime rush was just starting, a good time to make money for the girls. He glanced in the direction of the pool tables. Three of the four had heated games going.
On the other side of the room, three Oriental gentlemen in business suits were mangling Splish Splash. Jeff was in the DJ booth on the balcony above the stage, getting ready for his evening shift, and had a good view of the antics of all. Grinning at Gina, the afternoon DJ, he gestured to the karaoke singers. "When will they get a clue? Are they tone deaf or something?"
Gina just shook her head and pointed to the earplugs she had inserted when the three 'singers' had started. Finishing up his set of music that he planned to play, Jeff lounged back in his chair and grabbed his usual giant size mocha latte, determined to relax for a few minutes as he watched Gina move through her routine. He loved the way she joked and laughed while working, but he had to admit, at least to himself, his style was a little more manic. Fast hard rock with an attitude to match. He was a push over for "his" girls though and he’d play softer music when they asked him to; however few did. “Gina, I know you have exams coming up, if you want to leave early…” Jeff grinned as Gina grabbed her purse and headed for the door.
* * * CRASH! * * *
“What the f…?” Jeff jerked to his feet looking to see what had caused that sound, spilling his half-full cup. It certainly wasn’t a tray of glasses. Gina, halfway out of the booth’s door, turned to look. It was some fool, dressed entirely in black, on a motorcycle.
Jeff watched in amazement as the motorcyclist drove partially up one of the stage ramps, the black mirrored helmet reflecting the club lighting in strange patterns. Club patrons scrambled to move out of the ‘cycle’s path. What is that idiot thinking? If he thinks this will impress any of the girls, he’s out of his mind! Half expecting the fool to yell one of the dancers' names, Jeff’s stunned amazement turned to horror in an instant as the motorcyclist pulled a gun from the small of his back under his jacket. Not even waiting for the shooting to start, Jeff dropped flat, pulling Gina to the floor with him. Listening to the sounds of automatic fire and the screams, along with more shattering glass, Jeff started to pray, as he and Gina huddled together; Jeff shielding his shaking coworker with his own body.
Ninety seconds later, the sounds changed again; the shooting stopped and the motorcycle was leaving. Jeff, feeling extremely foolhardy, carefully looked through the sound booth’s window to check on the chaos below. Seeing the taillights of the motorcycle as it exited through the hole it had created entering the club, Jeff grabbed the telephone off his console as his knees gave out, and he sank back to the floor by his fellow co-worker. “This is the last time I get noble and come in to work early,” he muttered while shakily dialing 911.
Lamont ate the last mouthful of his sandwich with relish. He'd been
parking his patrol car here on this corner every Tuesday for the last 15 years, and eating
the same sandwich from the same deli. It was a classic. He'd introduced at least ten new
partners to the wonders of the pastrami on rye, double mustard, hold the mayo. The newest,
Kerry Miles, was looking at him as he finished with a grin on her face.
"What?" he mumbled, his mouth still full.
She carried on grinning. "Nothing," she said, "Nothing at all! Well, where shall we head next, Lamont? Arizona Street or Pine Street?”
“Beep ... Beep ... Beep … One David 15, see the man, report of multiple shots fired at the Kobe Club at 1515 Pacific Street, cross street 9th Avenue, injuries reported, ambulances have been dispatched, assailant reportedly fled the scene."
Hurriedly stuffing everything back into the deli takeout bag, Lamont James handed it to Kerry to take care of and started the car to respond to the call. "Well," he complained, "I'd say we're going to Pacific Street. Damn it, Kerry, when will you learn NOT to ask where we should go next?"
When they arrived at the scene, the two officers saw the once elegant
glass fish motif doors of the Kobe Club shattered into millions of small shards. Several
possible witnesses and by-standers were gathered on the sidewalk in front of the club.
Lamont and Kerry climbed out of their squad car and cautiously approached the club
entrance. Even though the assailant had reportedly fled, it paid to be cautious. When the
two uniformed officers entered the club... they saw several bodies on the floor, but
thankfully most of the club's inhabitants were sitting up, moving, yelling or crying.
Lamont noticed one lady sitting on the floor wearing one ridiculously high-heeled shoe,
while holding the swollen ankle of her other bare foot. Lamont grimaced; the shoes won
"Hey, Lamont, do you recognize this guy?" Kerry asked from the floor by one of the DBs.
"Yeah, now that you mention it, he does look familiar," Lamont habitually rubbed his chin while thinking. "Got it. He's part of Kadama's gang, isn't he? We'd better call it in."
"Yeah, that's him. We don't call homicide on this one. According to the watch commander, we have to call the gang squad and Major Crimes," Miles reminded Lamont as she reached for her radio
Simon Banks stood outside the Kobe Club in the bright afternoon sunlight,
wishing he could be inside investigating, but his job as captain dictated that he
coordinate everyone else’s efforts. His 'odd couple,' Detective Jim Ellison and
Observer/Anthropologist Blair Sandburg, were over by a squad car speaking to one the
uniformed officers who had been first on the scene. When a grey haired, uniformed officer
arrived, he started walking over to Simon, who gestured to Jim and both men went to join
the detective and the observer.
Jim looked up as his captain and the other officer came closer, absently noting that Simon’s limp, a result of his misadventure at his high school reunion, was now barely noticeable.
"Hey, Jimbo." The older man extended his hand towards Jim. "What’s this about you having a partner? I thought you worked solo."
"The captain here is trying to keep me on a short leash." Jim gestured to Simon, then turned to Blair. "This is Officer Mike Hurley of the Gang Unit. Probably the main reason why the Bloods and Crips have been kept out of Cascade," he continued with a touch of pride and respect.
"That's funny," Blair joked, feeling slightly uncomfortable around the older man, as though his character was judged and found wanting. "I thought it was 'cause they couldn't get the LA Lakers on cable."
"This is Blair Sandburg." Simon ignored the failed attempt at humor. "He’s working with the department. Mike here is old school. Only one in the Gang Unit who still wears his blues." Simon smirked at what was obviously an old joke.
"I got to set an example; keep the young ones in line," replied Mike, not taking the bait.
"Mike, what are you still doing on the force? I figured you'd be up in your mountain retreat fishing for bass," put in Jim. He remembered a time a younger Mike Hurley had invited a rookie to share a group weekend with the more seasoned officers as the four men began walking towards the club doors.
"Yeah," added Simon. "Come on, Mike, 30 years. It's time to go."
"I'm going to die with my boots on," replied Mike, somewhat more seriously than the situation called for and changed the subject. "They think maybe a biker gang shot this place up. That’s why I’m here."
Once inside the club, Jim bent to examine the skid marks on the floor,
while forensic photographers and morgue attendants worked smoothly around them.
"Pirelli Super Sports," Jim identified the tire tracks, causing Blair to stare
at him, puzzled by his apparent knowledge. "Hey, Jerry," he called out to one of
the men taking pictures of the victims. "Did you get a shot of these tracks?"
The tech nodded.
"We had multiple rounds fired," Simon repeated the information he had been given. "But only three fatalities."
"So the shooter either knew his target." Jim frowned at the implications he was making.
"Or we were lucky that no one else was killed," Sandburg piped in, finishing Jim's thought.
"Do we have any eyewitnesses that can provide a reliable description of the shooter?" asked Hurley.
Officer Lamont James approached at that moment. "No, sir. Our descriptions so far have varied considerably, but the guy who called it in said there was a security tape running all the time. He's getting that for us now." Lamont indicated a thin, dark-haired man, wearing an army surplus jacket and holding a black VCR tape in his hands, who had just joined the officers. "Captain, this is Jeff Caine. He is the DJ here and the one who called 911."
"Is that the surveillance tape?" Simon asked. Jeff nodded.
"Which camera is it from?" Jim looked around and spotted several cameras placed in positions all around the club.
"This one is from over the door." Jeff handed the tape to Simon. "Your officer wanted the one that would have the best view of the stage. The other cameras are positioned so that they can watch the other doors."
Turning to look at that camera, Jim calculated the angles. "Could we look at this here before forensics gets it?" Jim asked, indicating to the tape in Simon's hand.
"Yeah, there's a VCR behind the bar," replied Jeff. He took the tape back and went behind the bar to pop it into the player. The tape began to run immediately.
Jeff watched the peaceful club scene change abruptly as the biker burst through the doors. He shivered slightly as he watched the scene he had only heard earlier. "That's a Harley Electra glide," Jeff heard the tall detective quietly identify the motorcycle.
"Original shovelhead. It's a '79 or '80," Jim continued, paying close attention to the bike and the biker. Blair was again looking at Jim with surprise.
"That’s Race Peters’ bike," said Mike Hurley.
"Who?" asked Simon.
"Race Peters. He's a bottom feeder," commented Mike with disgust. "He rides with the Void."
"And the Void would be?" Blair looked at Jim.
"The jackasses on bikes in black leather. They run meth labs and worship the ghost of Sid Vicious," Jim replied.
"So what was Peters doing here?" Simon looked around the club. It was obviously not a place most biker gangs would choose.
"Probably rousting the competition." Jim looked around with an expression of grim understanding. I hope I'm wrong, but with the link to Kadama, it's more than possible. The morgue attendants were starting to take the bodies out when he stopped them. "Let me see this body for a second." Jim opened the body bag and lifted the left arm. "Missing digit on the left hand." His expression became even more grim as his search confirmed his suspicions. Jim's examination continued as he opened the bloody shirt to inspect the chest of the corpse. "Now, isn't that nice?" He opened the shirt wider, showing the others the tattoos on the body. "See the tattoos? Cancel your lunch plans, gentlemen. It's going to be a long day," he commented sarcastically, glanced at Mike, then turned to head out of the club.
"What is it?" asked Blair, confused.
"He’s Yakuza." answered Mike, then he turned and followed Jim.
Reading his notes from earlier that day, while Sandburg worked at his
computer on an older case report, Jim worried about the possible consequences of the
shooting at the Kobe Club. Hearing someone walk up behind him, Jim turned to see who it
"Hey Jim, I've just gotten some information," Hurley told him before heading over to knock on the door to the captain's office. Grabbing Blair, Jim quickly followed.
"Here is the briefing package from Customs. The Yaks moved into Hawaii about ten years ago, running grind-joints and extortion rackets on Oahu. Now, they own half of Waikiki and the feds say they're moving east like a bullet train. The tattoos are a Yakuza trademark," concluded Mike.
"Huh... what's a grind-joint?" Blair looked at the older men, confused and somewhat embarrassed.
"Come on, Chief, surely a world traveler such as yourself has visited a grind-joint before," teased Jim.
"Yeah, Sandburg, I thought you college guys knew all about them and where to find them," Simon continued the teasing.
"If I knew what they were, I wouldn't have asked."
"They're also known as strip clubs or topless bars, kid." Mike answered, taking pity on the younger man. "Grind-joint is an old term for it. It comes from the phrase, bump and grind, which was the name for the type of dancing that was done in the clubs."
"Thanks, Mike. Ooh," Blair winced as he looked down at one of the pictures, "What's with the missing pinky?"
"It's called yubitsume," supplied Jim. "When a Yak soldier
disgraces his boss or oyabun, as they call him, he has to offer a piece of himself in
return as tribute."
"I like that." Simon grinned maliciously. "Take a note of that, Sandburg."
Blair smirked back at him, "Duly noted."
"So, how are they making their money here?" asked Simon, getting back to the matter at hand.
"Gambling, white slavery. And they make a fortune importing methamphetamine to Japan. The Japanese call it 'the awakening drug,'" answered Mike.
"There’s the connection," said Jim. "Biker gangs have moved speed here since the '50s."
"Are you saying the Yakuza are trying a Japanese takeover of the crank business?" asked Simon skeptically.
"If they are and they start a gang war, this whole city's going to go explode," said Jim just as Detective Brown burst into the room.
"Captain, there's been a report of shots fired at First and Water," said Brown quickly to forestall the 'knock first, then open the door' lecture.
"First and Water." Mike snapped his fingers. "There's a place there where the Void fix their rides," said Mike.
"Let’s move," replied Jim as he headed for the door.
At First and Water, Blair waited with the support personnel as Jim, Simon,
Mike and several uniformed officers broke into the curiously darkened building that had
heavy metal music pounding from within. Light from outside spilled over the gruesome
remains of three bodies suspended by the arms from the ceiling and one body on the floor.
"Three Yaks dead at the club and four bikers here," commented Jim grimly. "It looks like they've upped the ante."
"Mike... any of these guys Race Peters?" Simon cautiously checked the body in front of him.
"No, but it doesn't matter anymore. Now the Void will have to strike back. There's going to be blood in the streets," replied Hurly.
"How do we handle it?" asked Jim.
"Like they do in the Mid-East," replied Simon. "We call a summit before this thing breaks out into open war."
"How do you want to handle the invitations to our summit, Simon?" asked Jim, a little ironically knowing Simon as he did.
Simon simply replied, "We don't give 'em a choice."
Captain Banks was extremely frustrated. It was almost midnight and he was still in his office; a detailed map of Cascade spread out on his desk. Trying to choose a location for his 'gang summit' was turning out to be harder than he thought. Using information provided by Mike Hurley, and the unsolicited advice Sandburg had given him, Simon had drawn lines on the map to indicate territory claimed by the Yakusa and the Void. Simon wanted a location out of either area. That left mainly the areas on the outside of the city of Cascade, most of which was outside of the Cascade PD jurisdiction. Only one area in the city limits was not claimed and it was in the downtown historic area. Simon reached for his address book. Dammit, I'm going to have to wait till morning to get permission.
The next morning, after talking to Chief Warren and the Mayor, Simon called in a few favors to get the site he wanted for the meeting. Then, he called Mike to let him know the location, so they both could personally issue invitations. Invitations containing thinly veiled threats about an increase in police surveillance, among other things if they didn't show up. Mike's went to the leadership of the Void and Simon's to representatives of the Yakusa, calling for a meeting at a neutral place at 10:00 A.M. in two days time.