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Death in the Shell

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It had been two years since she rejoined what was formerly known as Section 9, it was another year before when she and her partners were to break away from their old Government to become an independent spy network sanctioned by the U.N. Motoko Kusanagi could remember that timeline very well before that fateful encounter. She could never guess that a simple capture of a cyber-terrorist would lead to one of the most fulfilling moments in her life.

She wasn't a stranger to being alone on a stakeout, wires plugged to the back of her neck listening to voices in her head and sorting through said voices to find one particular voice and what it was planning. The sting that night had been almost too simple you could make a Hello Kitty game out of it. There had been overwhelming evidence against this terrorist that capturing him alive was completely optional, after all the death penalty would've been inevitable had he been captured alive.

"Major," Motoko heard the voice of her sniper Saito inside her head. "I got a clear head-shot of the target, awaiting your confirmation to take the shot."

Motoko slid off her sunglasses, "Make it so, Saito."

You could hear a pin drop when Saito gave out two bullets, one for the terrorist and one for the potential partner in crime. Those two bullets would be the only things found at the murder scene and that assassination would be marked as a kill sanctioned by the U.N. and it would all be swept under the rug.

Satisfied with the accomplishment, Motoko proceeded to disconnect the wires from her neck and was ready to pack up and go, but not before she heard the noise. The noise belonged to an old soda can that fell off an old dumpster, it was followed by a squeak that almost felt like it belonged to a mouse, but the whimpers were 100% human. Normally she wouldn't have given the noise much thought, but after the events of rescuing 20,000 kidnapped children including the daughter of her former comrade, Togusa, she figured to investigate the source of this noise by checking out the alley that the dumpster was at.

***

Frightened would not have been the word to describe what went through this little girl, she escaped a room that she could barely remember now, except for the flash of red lights from a building across the way. She escaped shouts of people, car horns, a bad drug deal that left her looking at a bloody man, she remember crawling into the alleyway that was littered with trash alongside a broken recycler. She preferred to hide in the dark because she didn't want that monster to find her. The monster who called her Little Girl and she called him Daddy.

Already crying from fright at the fallen soda can, she hid herself deeper in the cardboard box big enough to hide in. So deep in her sobs, she didn't notice the female stranger gently falling down on the ground, feet first. It wasn't until she saw a big black shadow, covering the faint moonlight, that she finally took notice of the female figure kneeling a few feet away from her.

Motoko took a very intense look at this little girl who wore nothing but a tattered night dress, she didn't need the X-Ray features in her eyeballs to know that her arm was broken and that there was blood on her hands and her face. It angered her inside when she figured out that this girl ran away from something very violent. But her face didn't show it because she had a feeling that anger would have frightened this girl even more

"It's okay, little one, I'm not here to hurt you," Motoko said to her in a voice as gentle as silk.

It triggered something in that little girl's brain, she realized that she never received any kindness from anybody. Not from the man who'd hurt her, not even from the woman who locked her in the various closets. This woman, who wore nothing but a black jumpsuit and armed to the teeth with guns and grenades, was talking to her as if she was an angel.

"Come on out, little one, I just want to help you," Motoko called out in that same gentle tone.

Slowly, this little girl used whatever energy was left of her, to walk to Motoko like an injured puppy. She fell into the angel's arms and Motoko began to cradle her 8 year old body as if she were a one year old. The little girl looked at this woman and finally noticed her violet eyes, her purple hair. She noticed how Motoko didn't smile at her, instead her face was full of focus, determination and a drive to do what's right.

"My name is Motoko," she said to the girl. "Do you have a name, little one?"

"Little Girl," was all she could say before she had passed out.

What the little girl didn't know was that Motoko had already dispatched her husband Batou to bring an ambulance to her location. There was something about this girl that struck Motoko and she was willing to find out what it was by outright going with her to said hospital.

 

***

 

The little girl had been in a mini-coma for three full days so it gave the doctors time to do their work in repairing her injured arm, they were able to reattach the bones on her arm without much fuss that she more than likely would've displayed if she were awake. After successfully reattaching the arm, they replaced the blood stained gown and let her sleep in some white fuzzy pajamas that fit her size. All throughout those three days, Motoko never left this girl's side, going as far as watching the doctors work on her through the observation glass, her U.N. rank giving her clearance to actually watch her.

Motoko knew that the bloodstained gown she wore technically fell under Dallas P.S.D.'s jurisdiction, but she since she had found the little girl first, the jurisdiction fell in her hands and she gladly claimed it. Besides, one scan of the blood stains told her that the blood belonged to somebody that was on Homeland's watch list.

But what Motoko eventually found out from those bloodstains, had flat out pissed her off. She'd been through her share of corruption before, but this had definitely taken the cake. To have Homeland Security sit back and listen to a little girl suffer while a monster raped her, in Motoko's mind, that was the corruption of all corruption. She wasn't sure if she would be able to take action without suffering through whatever ramifications might come, but one thing was for certain, she would be damned if Homeland or the local cops were to take this little girl away and put her in some shit hole so horrible that it would make her prior experience look like an amusement park ride.

By day three of Motoko keeping watch on the little girl, it gave her some form of comfort to see that she was sleeping soundly and not having any nightmares. The coma gave this girl some chance for a dreamless rest, which Motoko felt she rightly deserved. The cyborg felt the rays of the early morning sun hit the back of her neck, but it was nothing compared to when that sunlight began to hit the little girl's face. To Motoko the little girl looked like an angel that was recovering from a horrible crying fit. The sun felt bright enough for the little girl to finally wake up after three days.

She saw Motoko leaning against the hospital window and noticed that instead of the black jumpsuit she saw her wear, she saw her wear white jeans, a pink tube top that laid over a black leather jacket. But to her mind, Motoko still looked like an angel, she looked so beautiful in her eyes that she gave this woman a soft smirk.

"I see you're awake now, little one," Motoko said while preparing to sit down on her bedside.

The little girl nodded slowly and her face became curious when she began to look at her surroundings. The white walls, white ceiling and her feeling her back lean against a mattress alongside her arm being wrapped up in white bandages.

"Where am I?" she asked Motoko.

"Well sweetie," Motoko felt using word didn't seem so awkward. "I took you to a place where some good people helped you fix that arm and I made sure they fixed it just right."

The little girl thought that her angel would caress her arm, but instead relaxed herself when she felt Motoko's soft hand caress her face. The tenderness behind that touch made her shed some tears almost immediately.

Motoko felt sympathetic to this girl's silent sobs, she had a feeling this girl never received any real comfort from anybody, was more than likely prone to more abuse if she did cry. She didn't need to say anything when the little girl began to pull on her jacket to allow herself to sob against her cleavage. For the next few minutes Motoko allowed the little girl to cry and let out every piece of grief that was held inside.

"Do you remember anything that happened before you got here?" Motoko asked when the girl calmed down.

"Are you a police officer?"

"No, why would you think I'm a police officer?"

"My daddy says the police will snatch me up and put me in a dark hole if I go to a police officer."

"Police aren't bad, little one," Motoko said after the girl began looking at her own eyes. "Police are good people that can help you."

"What are you then?" The girl asked, "And how come your eyes don't blink?"

Motoko gave a light chuckle, "You got a good eye little one."

She explained to the girl that her full name was Motoko Kusanagi and that she was a member of a team that hunted bad guys to bring to justice whether dead or alive. She was initially hesitant to divulge her job in extreme detail, but what saved her from that was the next question that came from the girl.

"Would I be punished for killing my daddy?"

Motoko literally didn't know how this girl figured that out; she figured that the trauma the girl felt would have left her with amnesia. But since Motoko already knew the full story from scanning the girl's brain with just her right hand, she'd be better off giving the girl a straight answer.

"He gave you the broken arm, he kept torturing you and hurting you, you had no choice but to kill him." Motoko gave gentle strokes of her hand behind the little girl's head. "There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded lion and that lion will do anything to protect itself from death."

Those words were enough to convince the girl that she wasn't in trouble, nor would she be punished for protecting herself. But she was very curious about something and was tempted enough to ask the question.

"What will happen to me now, Motoko?"

That question gave some Motoko some serious time to think on it. She never did anything involved with the raising of a child, due to her having never been able to give birth on account of her having a full robot body. Even when she eventually married her longtime partner, Batou, it was mutually agreed by both parties that they wouldn't take part in adopting children, instead taking some orphans and training each and every child to be members of Motoko's agency.

But her mind still trailed back to when she first looked at the girl during the long trip in the ambulance, those thoughts briefly interrupted when the girl nudged Motoko for an answer.

"When I first looked at you, when you passed out in my arms," Motoko began to answer. "I saw something in you, something that's made me take an extreme interest in you."

"What something was that?"

"Potential," Motoko replied. "Potential to prove yourself, to not let anyone suffer the way you suffered and a drive to punish the people who cause the suffering."

The little girl looked at Motoko's face and how it wore a serious look, it wasn't threatening per se, but to her it displayed a sense of duty.

"Little one, what I'm part of is a group that finds and punishes people who cause some very complex crimes. Some criminals we've killed but many we have taken in alive, sometimes our actions have caused resignations of various people who used to be important. If I were to take you with me, I'd be willing to train you in how to be as good as me, if not better. I can train you to have one of the best minds that you'll ever have. And when it comes to crime solving and criminals, you will be the face of fear against those criminals."

And for the first time since she could remember, the little girl gave out a smile, it was a small smile because she didn't want to her face to hurt.

"What do I need to do, Motoko?"

"The training I will give you will be very tough and demanding, you will have some strict teachers along the way. But along with strictness, we also celebrate a positive outcome in training new people. There will be times where you will fall along the way, but as long as you place your trust in me and your trainers, I know you will make it to be one of the best students we've ever taken in."

It took the little girl a few minutes to ponder Motoko's offer and since she really didn't have any place to go or want to go if forced, there were only two questions bubbling in her mind and she proceeded to ask the first one.

"If I accept, what's the first rule I need to know?"

Motoko then gave the girl a much happier smile, "You will never call me Motoko when we're training or out on the field, or mother for that matter. Instead you will call me Major."

The girl nodded in understanding, "And what will you call me?"

Motoko gave a chuckle, "I thought you'd never ask, little one...the whole time I looked at your face, I knew your eyes told me who you were even though you didn't know it yourself. From this point on you will be named Eve Dallas and next week you will come with me to start your training."

Just then two of the hospital doctors and nurses came in with breakfast in preparation for a checkup.

"These nice people are going to take care of you for a few minutes," Motoko said as she began to get up and walk out the door. "I need to make some phone calls, Eve, but I need to let you know one more thing...if you ever need me for anything, I'll be there, little one."

 

Chapter Text

If you ever need me, I'll be there, little one.

Those were the final words Eve heard in her head as she began to wake up from her grief induced nap. It had not been twelve hours since Whitney and Tibble asked for her badge due to her being suspected in the murder of Officer Ellen Bowers. It had left her very traumatized to the point where she let out a good cry on her husband Roarke due to the realization that her job was in danger, no thanks in part to a corrupt cop who kept fucking up her investigation all because that cop had some sort of ax to grind with Eve over some false conspiracies.

They knew Eve's firing of that officer was procedure but they also knew that the way she fired her was a little out of hand due to her threatening physical harm against Bowers before her death. So they had to suspend her to avoid scandal by showing favoritism. Nobody in Eve's circle agreed with that suspension, not even her husband Roarke, who was up half the night deciphering Officer Bowers' doings right up until her death.

"Roarke," Eve whispered to herself. A year of being married to one of the most powerful man, on or off planet, was spending time trying to help clear her name of any wrongdoing. She imagined that he was talking to his attorneys about what options were available to get her job back.

But the flashback of what really happened after killing her father, of how she was raised and trained by Motoko Kusanagi of the Ghost Organization, actually made her contemplate if getting back her badge was even worth it. Throughout the investigation into the murder of sidewalk sleepers in New York, her mind began to wonder if the conspiracy was a lot more global than she thought.

If you ever need me, I'll be there, little one. Eve heard those words in her head again, always sounding the same as if she were back to the days when after a day of training with the Ghost Organization, Motoko would tuck little Eve Dallas to bed and whispered those words before she went to sleep.

"Well Motoko," Eve whispered to herself again. "Perhaps your little one might really need you this time."

"You've slept long enough, Eve. You can't go on hiding in here."

Eve didn't notice that her husband Roarke was in the sitting area, sipping coffee and watching her. Briefly her mind flashed back to last night and how Roarke told her that Mavis Freestone was in the mansion and didn't want to leave until Eve was ready to talk to her.

"Is Mavis still here?" Eve asked

"As a matter of fact, she is," Roarke replied with some surprise that Eve remembered last night.

But that surprise was nothing compared to Eve suddenly shooting up out of their bed as if she were late for school.

"I need her out of here, Roarke. Now."

That stopped him just short of filling up her coffee while topping off his own.

"What?"

"There's something that I need to tell you, Roarke." Eve said not noticing that her cop eyes were starting to return. "What I'm about to tell you is something that only you need to hear, we can't let Mavis know, nor can we let Feeney, Mira, Peabody or McNab know. Not one single friend of ours is to be allowed in on this secret."

It gave Roarke such a huge jolt to hear his own wife plead with him to actually send one of her best friends away from the mansion. But for Eve to give him reasons why she needed Mavis gone, told him that it was definitely a serious secret.

"I'll just let Mavis know that you're going to have a meeting with one of my lawyers and that you can't be disturbed. We'll meet in my office."

"No Roarke, not your office and not my office either. What I'm about to tell you requires no electronics whatsoever, I don't want some hacker finding a way to hack your systems while I tell you my secret."

This shocked Roarke again, Eve knew that he had improved security on his mansion ever since the recent incidents with Liam Calhoun and Jaime Lingstrom had happened in the past year. 'So why does this conversation need no electronics?' Roarke asked himself, but maybe he'll get an answer from Eve in the one room he knows where there were no electronics whatsoever.

"We'll meet in the library then."

Eve nodded and nothing more was needed to be said as she picked up her bathrobe to take a shower.

***

It didn't take Eve long to finish her shower and dry off in the drying tube. She also was quick in dressing up in a fresh pair of clothes, the clothes may not have been what Roarke would've preferred seeing her in, but that wasn't important to her. What was important was her letting him know that there may be a way for her to get back into the case that she was so rudely dragged out of.

So when she walked into the wide expanse of the mansion library, Roarke had already ordered the shades closed, lights off and cameras disconnected and found him sitting on the couch with nothing but two lamps already lit on the table. Just those two lamps already gave the room the illusion that Eve and Roarke were about to sit down around a campfire.

"I lied to you about something, Roarke."

"About what?"

Eve knew that the next words out of her mouth were going to be like a dam about to burst, "About my foster care history."

"Excuse me?"

"I wasn't raised in foster care, Roarke, I was raised by a cyborg who was the leader of a secret agency sanctioned by the United Nations."

"A cyborg?"

Eve nodded "Does the name Motoko Kusanagi ring a bell for you, Roarke?"

Then realization hit him, "The Puppet Master, The Laughing Man, The Individual Eleven...that Motoko Kusanagi?"

Eve nodded again. "She was the one who found me in the alleyway in Dallas, Roarke, she was the one who saved me."

It was a good thing Roarke was sitting down on the couch in the library, he did however need a drink so he reached for the coffee cup on the table. "How long were you under her care?"

"Ten years," Eve held up a finger to silence Roarke's next question. "She was kind to me, Roarke. All of them were kind."

"All of them?"

"Motoko, Batou, Saito and Ishikawa. They raised and trained me into the cop you see now."

She began to tell Roarke of how Motoko found her curled up in a box in the Dallas alleyway, how it was Motoko who took Eve to the hospital and stayed with her throughout the three day coma. Eve told him of how gentle Motoko was when she wept out her grief, as if she were being comforted by an angel. Eve shared with Roarke every single detail of what happened in the hospital, all the way to Motoko giving Eve her name and her offering of training.

Motoko didn't kid Eve about the training being tough, but the training was always done with positive encouragement and great rewards, money and chocolate being the main rewards. She had great teachers to accompany that training; her favorites being Batou, Ishikawa and Saito. The only downside to her training was they wanted her to have cybernetic enhancements to her brain so she could communicate with her teachers with just her brain. But after talking with Motoko, it was decided that cybernetics would not be required, the main argument being that Eve still wanted to be human and she wanted to be a cop with the NYPSD, it was a decision that Motoko fully supported.

"But the reason I never told anyone, Roarke, not even you," Eve said at the tail end of her story. "The foster care thing was just cover. It wasn't like anyone was going to believe me if I told them the truth, but I owed Motoko that much, I didn't want to compromise her safety or mine. You think I got enemies when it comes to being a cop, mine are nothing compared to Motoko's enemies, there's no telling what would happen if they knew that I was raised by her."

She gave Roarke some room to absorb on what she just poured to him. So far Roarke was thinking about how this revelation was possibly making him see Eve in a different light. It took ten long minutes of him looking at the woman who he called his wife, the woman who just opened up a serious secret to him, a secret she shared with no one.

"Why are you telling me this now, Eve?" he finally asked.

"Because there might be a way where I can get back into this case, Roarke, but I need her help."

Roarke nodded and slowly got up from the chair and to Eve's surprise offered his hand to hers.

"Do you have a way to contact her?"

Eve's eyes went bright as she accepted her husband's hand. "As a matter of fact I do."

 

 

Chapter Text

It was decided by Roarke, that they would make contact with Motoko Kusanagi via Roarke's private office with the Unregistered, to hide any record of the conversation. Because Eve had the exact code to Motoko's link, she was able to place the call directly to her teacher without much incident.

Motoko still looked the way she did when she rescued Eve in Texas, still wearing the purple hair and red eyes and this time wearing her officers uniform similar to her days from Section 9. She looked at Eve with a smile through that big screen.

"How have you been doing, little one?"

It gave Eve a sense of warmth to Motoko call her that after all these years, even as her mind was all serious.

"Major, I need your help with something."

Motoko raised her hand on screen, "Say no more, Dallas, I've been hearing about what's happened on screen."

"Then you know I've been suspended because I've been suspected of murdering a fellow officer?"

"That but I've also been hearing about you investigating the deaths of the sidewalk sleepers this past week," Motoko replied in between sips of her coffee and finally began to notice Roarke. "Is that your husband right beside you?"

Eve nodded, "He's the only one who knows about you, Major, I had to tell him because I was going to need your help."

"She didn't give you much of a shock, did she, Roarke?" Motoko asked referring to Eve blowing her cover story.

Roarke took a few minutes to look at Eve again then back at Motoko and the physical similarities they shared.  Similar hair and facial features but Motoko had a bigger chest size compared to Eve's.

"Yes at first," he nodded. "I almost felt a little sick to my stomach, but then I realized that she was still the woman I love, she's my heart and my soul."

Eve turned to look at Roarke to see him give her a smile, "My cop."

Motoko gave a smile that mirrored Roarke's "She really is something, isn't she?"

Before Roarke could answer, Eve said, "Alright, guys, this is no time to get mushy we need to get to work."

"Of course, Lieutenant." Motoko using Eve’s rank meant that it was time to get serious. "Give me the details of your case to the best of your knowledge."

Like Eve would give a verbal briefing to Whitney, she briefed The Major on everything from the murder of Samuel Petrinsky, Erin Spindler, Jilessa Brown and Ellen Bowers. She even gave details on her conversations with other officers in London, France and Chicago about similar incidences that happened on their watch.

Roarke listened to Eve give every detail of the case to Motoko and didn't make an effort to hide how mildly impressed his girl was at the memory she was able to retain. 'This was probably a product of Motoko's training.' Roarke thought.

"So we got someone out there killing sidewalk sleepers, licensed companions and a cop who caused your suspension?" Motoko asked.

"Yes, Major, and I may add that prior to my suspension, I was asked by East Washington to be removed from this case, it made me realize that this case might have a deeper hole in it than either me or my peers anticipated."

Motoko nodded in agreement, "When you got multiple murders happening in multiple parts of the globe, the world would start to worry about their safety."

 Just then a beep from Roarke's personal link came from his pants pocket, he proceeded to excuse himself from the office so he could answer it.

"That's why I'm calling for you, Major," Eve said after Roarke left the room. "There's cause for you and The Ghost Organization to claim jurisdiction on this case. I'm not exactly asking to be let back on this case, but if there's anyone that can solve it and solve it thoroughly, I know it's you."

Before Eve could say another word, Motoko raised a hand to silence her. "There's not a doubt in my mind that this individual is causing international chaos and we obviously don't know why, but we do have to find him and stop him before he rabbits out of New York. Therefore The Ghost Organization will talk with Chief Tibble and request for any and all relevant case-files."

Just then Roarke came back in the office, "Summerset has informed me that Baxter has come in and requested for your interview."

"Just give me a few minutes Roarke, I'm almost done." Eve replied before looking back at Motoko. "Is there anything I need to do, Major?"

Motoko nodded, "I need you to give your statement to your detective but not before you give him this."

Just then a piece of paper was printed from the Unregistered's U-shape console and Eve picked up the paper to give it a quick scan. The words she read made her stomach mildly uncomfortable, but she was able to put it aside when she looked back at the Major.

"You'll more than likely be cleared of suspected wrongdoing and they will likely let you back in," Motoko said as if she read the Lieutenant's mind. "But before you go back, I'm going to need your help with a case Batou and I have been working on."

"But are you going to let me back in this case?"

Motoko nodded "You will become an interim agent of The Ghost Organization and you will be under my command and Batou's. I request that you stay with us until you help us solve our own case."

Eve and Motoko knew that this conversation had a yes or no option. If Eve wanted to ride the suspension, she could tell Motoko to not let Ghost take over the case and let Feeney handle it. But if there was one thing she learned from Motoko and Batou, it was to never leave a case wide open, to always close it by any legal means necessary. And if it required an extraordinary sacrifice to help her solve this case, she'd be damned if anyone was going to do it but her.

"Very well, Major, I accept your terms."

Motoko gave Eve a small smile and said "Go ahead and take care of business, little one and I will expect you to report at the Ghost Building at 0900."

"Yes, Major," was the last thing Eve said before the call ended.

***

"Little one?" Roarke asked Eve as they exited the private office.

 "It's always been her nickname for me, Ace," Eve replied with her nickname for Roarke. "It's what she called me when I woke up in that alleyway in Dallas."

Roarke then told Summerset to send Baxter up to his office but he wasn't allowed to use the elevator.

"Why are you making him take the stairs?" Eve asked.

"I need to talk to you for a few minutes more, Eve," Roarke gazed at the paper in your hand.

"I know what you’re think, Roarke." Eve said noticing the glare on his. "Left me nearly sick to my stomach when I read it."

But without hesitation, Eve reached for one of Roarke's desk pens to sign the piece of paper. "I've worked cases with The Ghost Organization before I joined the NYPSD, those cases had potential to wipe out Countries, Governments, Financial Sectors and the Internet. Whatever case they may be working on, I have a strong feeling that it might involve the potential destruction of New York."

"You realized that you gave them a yes answer without consulting me," Roarke's face got serious. "There's a chance that whatever you need to help them on, might have you taken out of the country, or off planet."

Eve nodded in acknowledgment. "And I owe you an apology for it, Roarke. But that flashback dream I had with Motoko made me realize that I need to be away from the NYPSD and that I need to think about where I stand."

"I don't want to lose you, Eve, ever." Roarke skimmed a finger down the dent in her chin, "That's why I'm coming with you."

"Then put your trust in The Major and we'll make it out alive, Roarke." Eve placed a chaste kiss on his lips to seal the promise.

Chapter Text

Whitney's mind had been heavy these past twenty-four hours, him being a leader had advantages and disadvantages. One of the big disadvantages had been issuing the suspension of his best officer for a crime he knew she didn't commit. It wasn't like he had any other choice, the cards were on the table for a potential scandal had he done anything different. Had he not asked for Eve's badge, the showing of favoritism would've made the scandal worse.

But that didn't save him from the public outrage of her bullpen, Feeney or Jaime Lingstrom. Jaime especially, because he wanted to be a cop and was now seriously questioning whether or not it was worth it if they bit the head of their best officers to cover their own asses. It wasn't much better at home either, the way his Lieutenant looked when he issued that suspension had made him lose sleep, making him resort to not even coming home at night and drinking the most cups of coffee he ever consumed in his twenty five years as a cop.

So here he was fielding questions from reporters and sending them to the media liaison, keeping himself busy with any other kind of paperwork that involved anything but his best cop. He had been doing all he could to try and get her reinstated by doing all the strong-arming he was able to do. One of which involved sending Baxter to Roarke's mansion to get the formal interview done with, after all Roarke's attorneys blocked any chance of interviewing her at Central.

A call from his admin had notified him that Baxter was here and wanted to speak to him. Whitney ordered him in without incident.

"Commander," Baxter greeted as he walked through the door.

"Baxter," Whitney acknowledged. "Have you finished getting Lieutenant Dallas' statement?"

"Yes sir," Baxter nodded and began to give Whitney details of the interview.

Like Lieutenant Dallas, Baxter refused to sit down while giving his oral presentation, he relayed to Whitney the Lieutenant's details of what happened before Officer Bowers died, Eve Dallas' time in question of that murder and her response to allegations Bowers put against her. Crisp and formal, but Whitney noticed a manila folder in Baxter's right hand.

"May I ask what's in your hand, Detective?" Whitney asked after Baxter finished the oral.

Without hesitation, Baxter gave the folder to Whitney. "Before I exited the Lieutenant's residence, she gave me this for you to read, said it was for both you and Chief Tibble, sir."

It gave Whitney a feeling of dread when he hesitated to open that folder, he had seen too many other cops give his prior superiors these types of folders before. Most of those cops had been friends of his and they had either been resignation letters or retirement letters. In his time as Captain and Commander, he lost too many cops that were as good as Lieutenant Eve Dallas to this type of letter. But he knew he had to do this, so he slowly but steadily opened the folder and pulled out the paper to read it.

January 19th, 2059

 

Lt. Eve Dallas

222 Central Park West

New York City, NY

To Commander Jack Whitney and Chief Harrison Tibble:

In light of recent allegations against me involving the murder of Officer Ellen Bowers along with other allegations that were brought to the New York Police and Security Department, I have come to the realization that I do not wish to continue my career as Lieutenant. Therefore it is with great regret that I must resign my post from the New York Police and Security Department.

I do acknowledge that neither Commander Jack Whitney and Chief Henry Tibble think I have anything to do with the murder of a fellow officer. I also acknowledge that my suspension was issued to me in order to prevent any further scandal. But the past twenty-four hours have made me realize that it is in the best interest of both me and all related parties to the NYPSD that I should not return.

If I can make a request on behalf of my soon to be former aide Officer Delia Peabody, I want her to be trained by Detective David Baxter from now on until she’s deemed ready for the Detective’s Exam.

 I also humbly request at this time, no contact with neither Captain Ryan Feeney, Officer Delia Peabody, Charlotte Mira, Detective Ian McNab, Detective David Baxter or Lieutenant Donald Webster. This is something I need to do alone and I don't want them to get involved.

Sincerely,

Lt. Eve Dallas.

The grief came to Whitney in the form of light tremors from his body, he dropped the paper softly on the desk and turned his chair away from Baxter to look at the window showing him the dreadful winter New York was going through. He knew something like this would happen, but he didn't want it to happen to the best officer he ever worked with, he didn't want it to escalate this far.

Whitney failed to notice that Baxter took a peak at Eve's letter of absence and was able to read every word of it. Baxter felt his face go sheet white when he finished reading it, he didn't expect Eve to do this, this wasn't like her at all. He knew Eve was not one to give up with her tail between her legs.

"Commander?" was all Baxter could say.

Whitney turned his face from the window to look at his detective, "Have Feeney meet me at Chief Tibble's office, immediately."

Baxter nodded in acknowledgment and couldn't leave the office fast enough.

It left Whitney an opportunity to slump down in his chair, like he just took 500 blows from a Heavyweight Champion boxer.

"My God, Lieutenant," Whitney whispered to himself as he looked at Eve's letter. "What have we done?"

***

By the time Feeney got to Tibble's office in the plaza, he had already seen Whitney stand beside the Chief of Police in professional attention, he especially noticed the sober looks that both of them wore.

It didn't take long for Feeney to realize that this was definitely about Eve, his former student/partner, who was suspended for being a suspect in a crime he knew was bullshit. He'd seen Eve kill people on the job before, but he knew she was not one to kill anybody in cold blood, but they suspended her anyway because of how her staying on the job would potentially cause a much bigger scandal than it already was. Those were the same words that Whitney echoed to Feeney during one of their spats after shift.

So to see him in Tibble's office told him something was definitely wrong. God help him if he found out Eve self-terminated due to the overwhelming grief she carried when she broke the news to him. He hadn't lost his blood children to death yet, but if Eve self-terminated, it would definitely be the equivalent of that.

But without saying a word, Chief Tibble gave Feeney the resignation letter that Lieutenant Dallas gave Baxter earlier that day.

A thermometer wouldn't even measure the temperature of anger in Feeney's eyes when he finished reading the letter.

“What the hell is this shit!?!”

“We understand your anger, Captain,” It was Whitney who spoke first. “But I swear to you that we had no idea that she would escalate to this.”

“Oh just like the both of you didn't see her grief when you asked for her badge?” Feeney shot back.

“I told you before, Ryan, we didn't have any other choice,” Whitney replied his voice steadily rising in anger. “I've been hard at work trying to get all this fixed but I didn't want this to escalate to her resigning. I was doing everything I could to help her.”

“Yeah and because of you having a God Damn stick up your ass with procedures,if definitely certain that she telling you to take that help and shove it up our asses.  This is 100% YOUR FAULT!”

“ENOUGH! BOTH OF YOU!” Chief Tibble roared at the top of his lungs.

The power behind that scream, stifled any further argument from both parties.

“Captain Feeney, you have every reason to display your anger at the both of us.” Tibble kept his tone evenly and sat diplomatically at his office chair. “I also acknowledge that our following of procedure has caused not only the grief of our best officers, but the grief of her officers in her bullpen.”

Feeney was half-tempted to say 'but'. But instead chose to remain silent.

“But the bottom line is, we have a case that Eve would want us to finish, resignation or otherwise. Therefore we must work more diligently than ever to catch the man who murdered a fellow police officer along with four other people. We'll worry about Lt. Dallas' future with the NYPSD when we catch this killer and bring him to justice.”

“You guys can worry about Lt. Dallas all you want, but we're going to take charge of this case.” came a deep male voice from Tibble's doorway.

Feeney turned around to join Whitney and Tibble looking at a muscular man with neck-length white hair, a black leather overcoat with all black clothes underneath. Beside him stood a woman who almost looked like Eve Dallas except with purple hair, red eyes, and a bigger chest size.

“What my partner, Batou, is trying to say,” Motoko said after walking through Tibble's door. “Is that the case involving the sidewalk sleepers is now under the jurisdiction of The Ghost Organization.”

“The Ghost Organization?” Feeney asked with shock and disbelief. “Just who the hell are you two?”

“I'm Major Motoko Kusanagi, leader of the Ghost Organization formerly known as Section 9,” she pointed at Batou with her thumb. “This big burly man you see is my partner, Batou, and as I said we have been given authority by the United Nations to take over jurisdiction of this case due to it being a global matter.”

“How come we weren't notified of this beforehand?” Whitney asked in anger.

“You would've been notified had you not ignored your beeping office link,” Batou retorted. “What with both of you griping over procedure and all. So we figured we'd be nice and personally deliver the orders to you, Chief Tibble.”

Although it definitely did strike a nerve, both Whitney and Feeney were too shocked at the sudden developments that just happened a few seconds ago. But it was Chief Tibble who made the save when he began to read the pages the contained orders from the United Nations to transfer any and all files relating to Eve and Feeney's current case.

“Captain,” Tibble said after finishing his required reading. “I require you to gather every file you have on this case.”

But before Feeney could object, Tibble raised a finger, “We have no choice in this, Captain, the U.N., is overriding all authority we have on this investigation, we are ordered to cease all work on this case and leave it to The Ghost Organization.”

Finally realizing that there was no further room for argument, Feeney led Batou and Motoko to his office at the Electronic Detectives Division and gathered everything that he, Eve Dallas, and Baxter had worked on. If it didn't break his heart already after finding out that his former student had given her resignation letter to Whitney, it was now pretty much shattered to pieces when he found out that even if Dallas were to change her mind and come back, she would come back with a case she would never be able to finish.

But when he watched Batou pick up the heavy box from his desk and hold it like it was a jug of milk, he had to ask.

“Why are you guys paying attention to a case that you'd otherwise wouldn't give a thought about?”

Batou didn't answer as he began to make his exit, but Motoko waited a few seconds before leaving Feeney's office by turning her head around and saying, “A little girl is crying for help, it's the guardian angel's job to make sure the crying stops.”

Then as Motoko finally made her exit, Feeney sat down on his chair to ponder what Motoko meant by her answer...but then something hit his brain like a sack of potatoes. 'Little girl' he thought. And even though no one was there to hear him, he looked at his shut door and whispered “Take good care of her.”

***

“Probably should've kept your mouth shut about, Dallas, Major,” Batou said while beginning their drive to Ghost headquarters.

“True,” Motoko agreed. “But even you know that Feeney was displaying paternal feelings towards her. I figured it was the parental thing to do.”

“Yeah, he definitely displays a papa bear mentality when it comes to her. I'm surprised you didn't ask him to join us along with Dallas.”

Motoko shook her head, “It's not that I wouldn't trust them to work the case with us, but it would complicate matters if those two Commanding Officers found out that her friends went Rogue in order to help us. I want them out of the way in order to make sure Eve makes a clean entrance back to the NYPSD.”

“And how do you think Eve will react when she finds out about the case we asked her to help us with?”

“Well she and Roarke will definitely be happy when they find out they won't have to leave New York.”

“So you definitely think they're going to hit New York?”

“No doubt about it, Batou, but why they are targeting her specifically is a mystery to me.”

“You and me both,” Batou replied as the car made their way towards the parking garage near their headquarters. “Nothing for Eve to do now but either sleep or have sex with her husband, while we look at her case files.”

Chapter Text

Standard Disclaimers Apply

 

Chapter 4

 

Motoko and Batou didn't have to read minds to know that Roarke and Eve chose sex tonight. But not before they ate a dinner that consisted of chicken marsala with fettuccine alfredo and red wine. Two helpings of that meal to be exact due to Eve not eating anything these past twenty-four hours. It pleased Roarke to see Eve eat and drink like she'd been recently rescued from the desert.

But that didn't please him nearly enough compared to when they stripped naked with his back against the wall of their bedroom and his wife kneeling down giving him some deep cock sucking pleasure. And Eve was definitely getting into it, with her alternating between deep-throating him with no gag reflex, lightly biting his cock like it was one of her frequently stolen candy bars, to finally sucking both his testicles as if they were ripe strawberries. Eve, in turn, took pleasure in hearing her husband moan and groan with every passing breath. It was one of those moments where they wanted it to last forever. After all what better way to celebrate Eve becoming an officer again then having her suck her husbands dick and him letting out some creamy filling.

"So far that was a great desert, Roarke," Eve murmured in a husky voice before giving Roarke a hungry kiss. "But I think I want some extra servings."

One great thing about being married to the man who had the mind of a wolf that Eve could appreciate, it's his ability to keep his dick hard for as long he wants. It was six o'clock in the evening which definitely gave Eve and Roarke time to really enjoy Happy Hour.

It was a good thing Roarke had their bedroom door on double lockdown because not even the best safecracker could break through the passionate slaps of skin against skin and the enthusiastic cries of pleasure from Eve. Not since Roarke had begun having sex with his wife, then girlfriend, had there'd ever been a crazy night like this. His wife's pussy was hungry in the past, but tonight she was starving as she met his thrusts with hers like an engine piston on all fours.

Two hours have passed for the married couple as they continued to make love. Two hours with too many orgasms for Eve to count, Roarke had yet to reach his next orgasm after that blowjob. She kept feeling new sensations from his slaps on her ass, to the grope of her small but firm breasts. She could barely hear his repeated words of love and devotion, but felt the heat of his kiss on her neck as she felt him thrust into her willing body over and over.

"Yes, Aghra. Yes!" Roarke panted into Eve's ear already driving her to another climax. It swelled his heart with love to know that his cop was giving herself to him in such a frisky way. He knew that Eve could his stamina and strength and still keep going.

"Oh God, Roarke!" Eve gasped loudly as Roarke shifted the angle of his thrusting. She began to thrust even harder against him as another orgasm threatened to tear at her body.

"Let go, my love," he whispered softly. "Let the mansion hear you scream how much you love me."

That did it for Eve as the orgasm exploded all over her body, she couldn't hear herself scream but it was definitely loud enough for her to wake up a dead man. But even she wanted the dead to hear her scream out that love and devotion without any social restraint. It melted her heart when she felt him give his seed into her pussy as they collapsed on the lake sized mattress. There was no doubt that their lovemaking was always good and strong.

"That was one hell of a second serving, Roarke."

That made them laugh so hard that they made their kisses mix in with their laughs.

***

The morning after proved to be just as pleasant as the night before when Eve and Roarke enjoyed a breakfast full of waffles and bacon, with Eve even breaking off a piece to feed to their cat Galahad who enjoyed it like the fat cat didn't eat for three days.

"Think you and the gargoyle can keep guard of the house for a while, little guy?" Eve asked while scratching the cat's ears.

"I'm sure Summerset and Galahad will watch over this castle like a couple of loyal guard lions," Roarke replied while preparing to top off their coffee. "It's been a long time since you've seen her up close, Lieutenant, do you at least remember where she is located at?"

Eve nodded. "Been ten years since I've been there, but I know the location like the back of my hand. Which is why I'm driving."

Eve had taken her cup of coffee to her closet to walk to her department store sized closet, already having the intention to wear all black, from support tanks, to her sweaters, to her boots. While setting her changes of clothes on her bed, Roarke had come out of his own closet wearing all black himself.

When Roarke noticed the seven days worth of clothing on the bed, Eve said "We're going to need to stay at the Ghost Headquarters until this case is solved, Roarke."

Roarke didn't need to say anything, just followed suit and packed up his own pairs of clothing. Since reading that request for leave last night, he knew it was best to let Eve's partners think that the pair would be going on vacation, a cover story he would have to give to Summerset for the time being.

Since it had been snowing heavily the past 48 hours, Roarke and Eve decided to take one of the all-terrain vehicles from his garage. When Eve took the wheel of that All-Terrain, she remembered the directions to headquarters like a photogenic memory. Her drive took them to a regular looking parking garage near the heart of Times Square with a fingerprint reader to get her in. To any regular individual, the fingerprint reader would just let you in the garage and nothing more. But for Eve Dallas, her fingerprint activated a secret elevator wide enough to fit a vehicle. The elevator lifted them down a couple stories underground to another parking lot full of cars much rarer than Roarke's and actively used on the road. Motoko and Batou were waiting a few feet away from the empty space being occupied by Roarke's all-terrain vehicle.

Motoko made no effort to hide her smile when she watched Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke exit out of the car. Eve, in turn, mirrored her smile as if she was ready to see Mavis Freestone, and she'd given Motoko a hug that belonged to the love of little sister to big sister. Fifteen years have passed since she last came here, but keeping up with Motoko via link communications and birthday cards since leaving the headquarters made the return to this place seem like it was yesterday.

"Heard you got thrown out on your ass, Dallas," Batou remarked with Eve giving him a big hug.

"Though it didn't hurt as much when I threw you on your ass, Batou."

Batou let out a chuckle and briefly made the hug a little tighter before letting go to give Roarke a hug.

"Has she given you a hard time yet, Rich Boy?"

"She does," Roarke replied while returning the hug. "But I tend to give her a much harder time, just to keep her in line."

That left Eve flipping a middle finger at Roarke while Batou gave out a hearty laugh while patting her husband on the back.

Motoko while chuckling herself, decided to get down to business and exited the large parking lot with Eve, Roarke and Batou following behind.

"While the both of you were resting last night, we got down to the matter at hand and read your case files, I figure I'd let you give the briefing on what you were planning to do so far." Motoko said to Eve as they made their way to what was Eve's old childhood room.

"But you're the Major and you read the case files I think you should do it," Eve replied.

"True," Motoko nodded. "But the way I see it, Officer Ellen Bowers was getting in your way, if she had found out that her death would've inconvenienced you, she'd have taken pleasure in being chopped to little pieces just to see you gone."

Motoko stopped at a doorway that Eve was familiar with. It contained yellow walls with green plants, a silver round table with a vase of petunias at the center, a big red comfy couch with a big screen on front. The only change Eve noted was the inclusion of a bed that wasn't as big as the one they had at home, but it was definitely a big increase to the one they gave her as a child.

"Guess you figured out, Roarke was going to join us?" Eve asked with a smirk.

"I know what it's like to be married, Eve," Motoko replied gently skimming a hand over her back. "The feeling you get when you want to protect the one you love, he's definitely made you break out of your shell."

Eve smiled while watching Roarke set their suitcases next to the couch, she in turn doing the same. "I'm sorry I didn't invite you to the wedding."

Motoko shook her head, "You giving us a disc was enough for us, Eve. You've more than proven your loyalty to us by keeping your secret."

"You mean you didn't have a problem with me telling Roarke?" Eve asked the Major.

It was Batou who answered, "On the contrary, we were wondering if you were going to tell him at all."

"Although," Motoko said turning her attention to Roarke. "I'm curious to know how you accepted Eve's story so quickly. I'd have figured you'd have done something crazy like kicking Eve out of the mansion and filing for divorce."

That made Roarke laugh, "I'm too tough and stubborn to let go of who I love, especially if they lied to me about a piece of their childhood. But secondly, I wanted to see firsthand if the rumors were true."

"Rumors huh?" Batou replied as the group began their stroll to Motoko's office. "What kind of rumors?"

"Rumors of a group of spies that were allegedly sanctioned by the United Nations to hunt down and apprehend the most wanted terrorists around the globe. Terrorists who had the potential to wreck governments, screw up financials and disrupt regular citizen life. There's a legend to where if the terrorists are hunted by this organization, they disappear never to be seen again, or even get gunned down in public with the public never knowing where the shots came from."

"Well Major," Batou said after reaching Motoko's office. "I'd say this rich boy has earned himself a gold star sticker."

Motoko had to smile at her husband's quip. "Maybe, but I think this might more than make up for Roarke's smarts."

She proceeded to open the center drawer of her desk to get something out for Eve, she knew it wouldn't be much compared to her NYPSD badge, but she knew it would be a worthy substitute. What she handed Eve was a badge designed for The Ghost Organization, it was gold and shaped like a large triangle and had a capital G inscribed in the center, the 'G' of course standing for Ghost.

Without much complaint, Eve accepted the badge and the weapon which was similar to her police issue. Eve knew she wasn't a NYPSD badge for now, knew it would probably be a long time before she'd be one again. But with Motoko Kusanagi and The Ghost Organization, she could be a cop again with the people she grew up with.

As Eve began to clip the badge on pants and put on her new weapon holster, the rest of the Ghost Organization walked into The Major's office. Everyone from Ishikawa, Saito, Yuutaro and Burma all entered the office, which double as a conference room, reporting for duty. It was easy for Eve to forget that Motoko's office was much bigger than her office at Central.

Like clockwork, the entire Ghost Organization team took their places on the three big couches that sat in front of a big screen, Batou on the left, Roarke and Dallas on the right. Major Motoko Kusanagi stood in front of her team, displaying her confident leadership skills.

"As many of you know, Lt. Eve Dallas has been temporarily suspended from the NYPSD for a crime she didn't commit, she has contacted me 48 hours ago for our assistance in the case involving the murder of some sidewalk sleepers. I imagine everyone of you has been brought up to date with this case have you not?"

"Yes, Major!" came the unifying reply.

Motoko motioned Eve out of her seat, "As of today until further notice, Lt. Dallas will be in charge of this case and will be my temporary second-in-command. Whatever she says goes, you follow her orders without complaint, is that understood?"

"Yes, Major!"

"Lieutenant, I leave the floor to you," Motoko said after giving Dallas a remote for the TV.

"Thank you, Major," Eve replied and was able to program the TV to display video footage of what Peabody recorded during Feeney and Peabody's visit to the organ labs. "Prior to my suspension, I was originally scheduled to interview Waverly and visit this lab to conduct an interview with Dr. Wu and collect samples of the organs."

Ishikawa raised a hand and Eve acknowledged him to speak, "I did a cross-check of the organs and all the samples have been accounted down the line. Privately donated, brokered, and accessed through public channels."

"Were you able to get info on their data reports on how they use the samples?" Eve asked

"I haven't finished with reading the reports yet, Lieutenant," Ishikawa replied. "But from what I gathered it seems they were using these organs for research on disease and aging."

Eve nodded in acknowledgment, "I've been consulting with Dr. Louise Dimatto with the Canal Street Clinic, she's been helping me cut through the muck of it when I used her expertise."

"I'll be sure to keep her in contact, Lt." Ishikawa replied.

Eve then ordered pictures of the Drake building, "Can any of you tell me what series of droids, Drake uses for security? What manufacturers do self-destruct programs? Explosions, not shutdowns or circuit melts."

Batou raised his hand, "Allegedly the private manufacture of explosives for self-destruct's illegal. A straight deal with the U.S. government and military. Originally their purpose was used for espionage and anti-terrorism. It was supposed to be discontinued five years ago."

"But it hasn't." Roarke cut in while lighting a cigarette. "We manufacture that device for a number of governments, including the United States. As it's what you might call a one-shot deal, it's fairly profitable. Replacement units are in continual demand."

"No private concerns?" Motoko asked.

He acted shocked. "That, Major, would be illegal. No," he added, and blew out smoke. "None. And as far as I know, no other manufacturer sells under the counter privately."

"Well it definitely nudges East Washington in a little tighter." Eve wondered if Nadine Furst could do if the connection leaked. She decided to display crime scene photos of what had been left of Bowers.

"On the surface, this looks like overkill. A frenzy, crime of passion."

Motoko cut in this time, "Your Chief Examiner Morris had it written down as systematic. The killing blow came in first, outside the building. A blunt instrument, long, thick and heavy, struck once, precisely on the left side of the face and head. ME confirms that this caused death. Not instantaneous, but within five minutes, and the victim would not have regained consciousness."

"So why not leave her there and walk away?" Eve asked.

"Job should have been done." Motoko agreed. "But it's obvious the rest of her murder was staging. Drag her inside, take her ID. She was quickly identified through prints as every public cop is on file, then her uniform and ID are found a couple of blocks away in a broken recycle unit. Planted, by my guess. But it would appear, on the surface, that taking her uniform and identification was a ploy to slow or prevent her identification."

"Not that I'm implying anything, Dallas," Saito put in. "But even you're too smart to have done that if you'd whiffed her."

That earned him shakes of heads from both Motoko and Eve. Saito just shook it off "But then again any smart cop would've came to that conclusion quick enough."

"Right. Just more staging," Motoko went on. "Virtually every bone in her body was broken, her fingers crushed, her face battered beyond visual recognition. While it was structured to appear that it was a vicious, mindless attack, it was precise. Programmed," she said turning back.

"A droid." Eve nodded. "It definitely fits."

"There was no other human element. The sweepers and crime scene team didn't find any blood but hers, no skin cells, no hair, nothing. You can't use your fists like that and not split or bruise your own skin. Whoever ordered this missed that step-or knew they wouldn't need it to get you out on a technicality. They're not cops, but it's likely they own some."

Eve's eyelids lowered halfway in a glare. "Rosswell."

"It's too damn obvious." Motoko nodded in agreement. "He knew Bowers, worked out of the same house. He's connected to the other investigation, and he either bungled it or he's covering. Either way, he earned a closer look with us last night. He's got a gambling problem," she added. "We just began looking into how he stands financially tonight."

Eve then turned to the boys, "Batou, I want you and Ishikawa to dig into Detective Rosswell's financials, I don't care how you do it, just get it done. Saito, I want you to dig some connection between Washington and the Drake to explain that droid. Motoko, I want you to contact Louise, see if she can find anything off in the organ records."

"There are likely other records."

This time Eve and Motoko turned fully to Roarke. "What do you mean?" Eve asked.

"I mean that if, indeed, there are illegal activities of a medical nature going on at the Drake, it's highly likely there are careful records of it somewhere. They wouldn't be on the facility's mainframe but buried on another unit."

"How the hell do we find it?"

"I believe I can help you there. But, unless you have a specific target, it will take some time to go through this entire list of suspects."

Motoko and Batou definitely had to give a big hearty laugh at both Eve and Roarke. In turn they looked at the laughing pair as if they suddenly got drunk.

"Tell me honestly, Roarke." Motoko asked after calming down her laughter. "Did you really think I didn't know you and Eve contacted me through an unregistered computer?"

That definitely earned a shock through Eve and Roarke's faces, they knew his Unregistered was supposed to not have any record of their conversation with her saved in public.

"What the Major is trying to say, Roarke." Batou cut in while stealing one of Roarke's cigarettes, "Is that one of the advantages the U.N. gave us is the ability to use our own Unregistered Computers without being caught by Comp-U-Guard. We also have the ability to search any and all properties without the need of warrants. And to top it all off, we can assassinate anybody on our watchlist without being punished for it."

"A full blanket immunity from any and all crimes." Eve murmured and turned to Motoko. "I got one request to make, Major."

"Be my guest, Dallas."

"If we catch this guy, I want him taken alive and given a trial, I don't care if we give the collar to the N.Y.P.S.D so we can cover our own asses, but I want this piece of shit to be locked in a cage and suffering for the rest of his life."

"They were definitely wrong to suspend you, little one," Motoko said in the soft tone she used on Eve as a kid. "You've killed before, but never in cold blood. If anything your preference to see the monster alive in a cage makes me proud of how you use your humanity."

"Let's save the mushy stuff for another time, Major." Eve turned her face back to the boys. "Any word on if Feeney did interviews with Tia Wo or Hans Vanderhaven."

"From what I gathered in the recording," Ishikawa put in, "Wo was supposed to meet with Feeney with a gold pin. Vanderhaven's taken an unscheduled leave, it's possible that he left for Europe. Prior to us taking over the case, Feeney and Peabody were about to track both of them down."

"If the pin found on-scene belongs to either of them, they'll try to replace it."

"Got that covered," Ishikawa assured her. "I'm linked into all the sources in the city for that particular piece. Already doing a search on other sources in Europe if that's where the other doc flew. We'll have a record of every sale made."

"Good coverage."

"If I may ask a question, Lieutenant?" Batou said as everyone got up. "What were you and Roarke going to do?"

"Roarke and I were going to look at interviewing a Chicago cop, who abruptly retired while investigating similar murders there."

"You gonna be okay over there?" Batou asked.

"Don't tell me those karate lessons gave you amnesia after I kicked your ass." Eve replied in a snarky tone.

That earned another roar of laughter from the entire Ghost Organization, Batou would've objected to the laughing but he knew he walked right into it.

"Okay class," Motoko called out after the laughter died down. "Lieutenant Dallas gave you all your assignments, let's quit fooling around and get all this over and done with."

When the room began to disperse, Motoko told Eve and Roarke to wait a few minutes before they left for Chicago. Motoko proceeded to open a drawer on her desk again to give Eve and Roarke what looked like old school Bluetooth earpieces.

"What are these, Major?"

"Well, Dallas, seeing as how neither you nor Roarke have made Cybernetic enhancements to your brain, I had these made especially for you after you graduated the Police Academy." She turned her face to Roarke and gave him his headset. "And I made one for you after you married the Lieutenant. They're called Ghost-Links."

"Ghost-Links?" Roarke asked.

"The Ghost Organization is made of mostly cyborgs who have Ghosts in their brains," Eve put in. "They have this ability to communicate with each other from far away distances or short distances without using their mouths."

"With these Ghost-Links, Roarke, you can communicate with us without the need to give your brain cyber enhancements. You just put these on your right ear and you can hear us communicate with our brains."

Eve nodded while she and Roarke adjusted their earpieces to fit their ears.

"I imagine you'll keep us updated on your trip to Chicago, Dallas?" Motoko asked without moving her lips

"If anything pops, you'll be the first to know, Major." Eve replied.

"Just remember if you ever need anything, I'll be there, little one." Motoko said with a warm smile.

 

 

Chapter Text

A/N: The following chapter will contain thoughts of what Eve and Roarke's friends are thinking when they find out about their disappearances. It will also include Roarke's explanation on why he so readily accepted Eve's truth.

 

Also since there's going to be a lot of Ghost talking what you're reading means that the cast is talking via their ghosts.

 

Standard Disclaimers Apply

 

Chapter 5

 

While Eve and Roarke continued their investigation with The Ghost Organization, news broke about their supposed disappearances by Channel 75's Nadine Furst after she broadcast Eve's Leave of Absence letter to the city. The star reporter who had become Eve's personal friend, had been doing a series of interviews with people who were connected to Eve's past cases to give their reactions of her being suspended by Chief Tibble and Commander Whitney. Naturally the reactions to Chief Tibble and Commander Whitney suspending Eve Dallas were very negative on her superior officers, which led to some of residents of the city to display favorability for Eve Dallas to receive a clean return to the NYPSD.

But when word leaked out about Eve Dallas delivering a borderline resignation, reaction had been immediately heartbreaking to Eve and Roarke's friendship circle.

Mavis Freestone had been bawling her eyes out in between drinks of tea, she knew her boyfriend Leonardo had been by her side on the couch trying his best to comfort his singing angel.

All she wanted to do was cajole Eve into getting ice cream, to let her best friend know that she had her back and that she didn't want Eve to shut her out after losing her badge. When Roarke told her that Eve was ready to consult with a lawyer and didn't want to be disturbed, Mavis thought that they would follow through with her fantasy to sue the entire city.

But when news broke of Eve's 'resignation' and her disappearance with Roarke, she broke down in front of the screen displayed at their living room. When Leonardo caught her very vocal grieving, he helped her to the couch and fixed her tea laced with a soother.

"I wanted to help her, Leo." Mavis said in between sobs, "I didn't want her to shut me out. Not like this."

Leo could tell she was very depressed by the way she used his real name and not one of her many nicknames for him.

"It's probably nothing to worry about, Mavis," he replied while gently stroking her back. "She probably just needs time to figure out who and what she is."

"I know Leo," Mavis agreed in between sobbing hiccups. "But she could've called me to let me know she was okay, to not make me worry about her."

"I promise you, she'll be fine, baby." Leo replied when Mavis began a fresh wave of sobs, "You know Eve Dallas doesn't give up without a fight, she's probably out planning revenge on Whitney and Tibble, or maybe even her main suspect in that case."

But when that didn't cheer Mavis up, Leo decided it was best that he let her sleep early tonight and she didn't object to him offering a Tranq to her. It made her cry to an eventual sleep in his warm and muscular arms. If Leonardo knew his woman, if she ever found out that Eve was alive, she'd be ecstatic, but she'd also spring Trina on her just to piss her off out of spite. That would definitely teach Eve a lesson on what happens when you start shutting out a friend.

 ***

When Peabody received word of her trainers letter, Feeney recommended her taking the day off because both of them knew that she wouldn't have made it through the day after hearing her boss just up and leave like that. She became a cop to help people the way a Free-Ager would've done as opposed to just living the Neo-Hippie life style. Peabody especially wanted to model her career after Lieutenant Eve Dallas after hearing of her many cases being closed alongside her reputation as a clean, honest cop with a very mild temper if you ever crossed her.

But now that source of inspiration for Peabody just up and left the NYPSD without much explanation other than a letter requesting that she didn't contact Eve. It didn't stop her from trying to contact Summerset via his mansion link, but he wouldn't budge when he told her that Roarke and Eve went Off-Planet to tend to a matter at the still developing Olympus resort and that was all he was able to answer on that matter before ending the call. Instinct told her to try and call Roarke, but her heart told her that it was no use and that all direct communication sources to Eve and Roarke were blocked.

So that night Peabody decided to call Charles Munroe up to have a shoulder to cry on. The licensed companion ended canceling his nighttime appointments to attend to the woman he called a special friend. Naturally, Peabody had already done her share of sobbing on Charles' chest and just leaned on him via her own personal couch to listen to the deep quiet. As far as Charles was concerned, if talking wasn't required tonight he'd completely understand. After all, the story with Eve and Roarke had been playing on the news all day so practically everyone in the city knew it.

"I just can't believe it, Charles." Peabody finally said after two hours of silence. "I can't believe she'd abandon us like that."

"Why do you think she abandoned you, sugar?"

"Captain Feeney and I were willing to let her back in the case if she ever made the choice to go rogue," Peabody finally got off the couch having a strong need to talk out her feelings. "We all had this feeling that she would've picked herself back up and fought these accusations against her. I was more than ready to jump into the fight with her if she gave me the go-ahead. But now she's gone without giving us a word of good-bye and her case has been taken by some United Nations group that no one even remotely heard. And quite frankly, Charles, I'm real pissed off at her!"

Her scream at the tail end of her speech opened a new wave of sobs coming out of her. Charles just stroked her back and waited for her to calm down so he could say his piece.

"Do you hate her all of a sudden?"

"I should hate her," Peabody replied between sobs. "I should tell her that if she wants to abandon me like that, then maybe she could find another Aide and maybe a make a new friend out of her. I should tell her to just get fucked in the ass by a dead tree bark."

"But?" Charles asked unflinching.

"But what frustrates me is that I don't," Peabody sulked. "Maybe it isn't me, I know it isn't me, it's them. They took away what made her because of some bullshit scandal and maybe her leaving is just her way of telling Whitney and Tibble what happens when you lost the best cop you've ever had."

"She cares about you, sugar," Charles said after Peabody cuddled with him again. "There might be a good reason why she left the way she did, she cares about this city too much to leave it and you permanently."

"How would you know?"

"We don't know where she really came from, other than being found in Dallas, Texas. But if there's one thing certain about a born New Yorker, is that she may not be from here but she got here as fast as she could."

That broke Peabody in a more positive way as she felt the headache disappear and the tightness of her gut loosen by all that laughing coming out of her throat. If there was one thing that was certain, you could take the girl out of the city, but you could never take the city out of the girl. With that thought in mind, she and Charles decided to finally eat dinner at a nice casual place. Charles had no problem paying for dinner that night.

***

Like a sixth sense, Eve and Roarke felt their friends grieve for them being missing when they began to exit a seedy hotel room in Chicago that Eve was having dreams about. On their way to Chicago, Roarke had begun talking to his wife about traveling back to the streets of Dublin to look at the same exact spot where his birth father Patrick Roarke met his violent end which robbed Roarke his own chance to carry the kill himself. There had been a light disagreement from Eve, who thought it wasn't a thing to regret, but Roarke countered and told her that a piece of his violent self was still inside him. But after falling in love and marrying the love of his life, Roarke realized that in the end, he came out the real winner instead of his drunk abusive father.

Earlier in the evening, Eve and Roarke talked with a retired detective who was investigating murders that were similar to Eve's. It took some initial hesitation from the detective, who didn't know about the Ghost Organization badge, but knew a cop when he looked at Eve. Long story short, when a droid threatened his pregnant wife and five year old son, he couldn't take his retirement and quit that case fast enough. When the conversation was over, Eve knew that even if she were to close the case, the Chicago ex-cop would never return to the job, he rather stay retired than to have someone threaten his family again.

"You know I gotta ask, Roarke," he heard Eve say which broke him out of his thoughts. "Motoko was right, you had every right to be angry at me for lying to you about my past. You even had cause to throw me out on my ass when I wasn't being a truthful spouse to you, but you accepted my story so quickly. Why?"

Seeing as how they had a moment to slow down and have some proper alone time, not counting their sexcapades from the night before, Roarke decided to make their drive back to the private airport a little bit slower than usual. "It was because she brought back the cop in you, Darling Eve."

"The cop back in me?"

Roarke nodded, "Prior to you waking up from that dream, Dr. Mira had come to visit you when you were sleeping off your grief."

"She had a way for you to help me, didn't she?" Eve asked in the warmth of Roarke's car.

"She told me if you kept closing yourself off that there wouldn't have been a way to reach you and that it would've affected our marriage together."

Eve lifted a brow. "There's no way you would've allowed that to happen."

Roarke nodded in agreement. "If you had grieved a little longer, I was going to piss you off as way to get you back. But that morning after I saw you wake up, there was something different in your eyes, and it wasn't grief."

"And I'm very sorry for startling you like that," Eve began to say and raised a finger to cut off Roarke's objection. "When I remembered Motoko calling me 'little one', I guess the grief of losing my badge hit me so hard that her comforting me in my dream reawakened the cop in me, like you said."

"And that's why I accepted your story, Darling Eve. Your life after Dallas may be different than what was on record, but in the end, you're still my cop. My love. My life and I wouldn't trade anything for you." It was a good thing Roarke had the car on autopilot for the rest of the trip so that way they wouldn't get in a wreck from Roarke sharing a gentle kiss with his wife to reaffirm his feelings.

Eventually Roarke's car hit the private airport and was already ready for their return trip to New York, both Eve and Roarke couldn't escape the car fast enough to leave the freezing cold.

When they settled in his private jet, Roarke noticed a news channel on the screen displaying a story about Eve's 'letter of resignation' and their 'disappearance'.

"I didn't resign!" Eve screamed at the airplane screen. "I gave Whitney and Tibble a letter of absence."

"The press can spin anything, Darling Eve," Roarke reminded her. "I thought you'd let them run that story as cover for our joining The Ghost Organization."

"I know, Roarke," Eve agreed with a heavy sigh. "But don't tell me you're watching this and thinking of our friends watching this. I can't imagine what Mavis will let Trina do to me when she finds out that my disappearance was a lie."

"Well you did make her leave the mansion in a huff because you didn't want to share your secret with her after all."

"And I still don't want her to know, Roarke." Eve looked at Roarke with pleading eyes. "Our silence is for her protection, for Peabody's protection, for the protection of New York City as a whole."

"Why must you bring the entire city into it?"

"Because I know Motoko and Batou, Roarke. Whatever case they want me to help them with after closing this one, I'm having a strong feeling that whatever case they're working on might be a big enough threat to bring our city to it's knees. Who is it and why, I don't know yet and if we don't solve this current case Roarke, it may be the end."

"Then we better not waste anytime," Roarke agreed and ordered the pilot to fly them back to New York as fast as he could.

Roarke's jet began to take-off from Chicago after he and Dallas got settled in the plush seats and took some coffee from the personal flight attendant.

Hey Lieutenant, I got something for you. Eve heard Ishikawa's voice on the Ghost-Link.

What do you got?

Ishikawa: I pulled up some connections for you. Cagney and Friend have been in the same class at Harvard Medical along with Vanderhaven consulting at the center in London sixteen years ago along with the Paris center four years ago. Both Wo and Friend served on the same board and worked the same surgical floor at Nordick in 2055 and it turns out Wo continued to affiliated with that clinic to this day. Friend regularly consulted at the Drake where Waverly is attached, and has been attached for nearly ten years.

Roarke: You can definitely follow the pattern deeper and connect the dots. Every one of them meshes in some manner with another. Links to links. I imagine you can expand and find the same incestual type of relationship in the European centers.

Eve: Ishikawa, see if you can do a match and find other names.

Ishikawa: Already on it, Lieutenant. But I also found something interesting on Tia Wo, aside from consulting with Nordick, I pulled up a schedule from her computer, she makes her daily rounds until four and ends her office consult at four-thirty. Closes her office at five, and has a six o'clock dinner with Waverly and Cagney, we haven't confirmed if she kept that appointment just yet, but we did find that her next day had an empty schedule with only one meeting by Dr. Bradley Young.

Eve: What do you know about him?

Ishikawa: Well if you think Roarke is a genius at the comp stuff, I'd say Bradley Young is a close third, with me being in second place. He was a child genius who graduated Princeton at the age of fourteen.

Eve: Genius geek

Ishikawa: Precisely. He added the med-lab and found another niche. Happily laboring to develop those new mousetraps. I'm no profiler here but even I find him a socially stunted, massively intelligent introvert with sexual phobias, an acute arrogance level, and an inherent predilection for taking orders from authority figures even though he considers them inferior. But that's not exactly the cream of the crop, Dallas.

Eve: What is it, then?

Suddenly data began to show up on Eve's PPC and when she read the dates of Bradley Young's whereabouts at the time of the murders, she wanted to dance around the jet plane. The thirty-six year old teenaged genius was visiting every single city on every single date the murders happened.

Eve: Major, if you're getting this, is there anyway we can get him into interview?

Motoko: We can do more than that Dallas...we can get him to sing.

Eve's eyes widened: By we you mean...

Motoko: If you want in on the interview, just say the word.

Eve pondered how she wanted to handle this, almost everybody around the world heard of their alleged disappearances along with her practically resigning from the NYPSD.

Suddenly some gears started turning around in Eve's mind: What if we could make Bradley really believe in ghosts.

"Oh I think I can make that happen, Lieutenant." Motoko whispered audibly as she and Batou snuck through the organ labs of Dr. Wo via their thermoptic camouflage.

Batou: 36 year old genius, who still lives with his mother, and probably has enough balls to tell her that even she sucks.

Motoko: He's going to find out very quick what gender has the bigger balls.

Nothing more was needed to be said as Batou and Motoko moved through the office quiet as a mouse. It didn't surprise the two when they saw the thin and tall man with bleached wheat hair and pale grey eyes, doing what he needed to do and mumbling to himself about how he was better than Dr. Wo and Waverly and yet he was stuck being a chief research technician.

For Batou and Motoko, the element of surprise was so well baked, the Major couldn't resist the temptation to cut in the middle of Young's rant to say "Well if you think you're better than them, why not study to be a doctor yourself?"

That was the only thing Bradley heard before the sudden tranq pricked him in the arm, not a lethal dose, but it was enough to knock him out and take him back to Ghost Headquarters without any problems.

It was such a smooth operation for the husband and wife leaders of The Ghost Organization, that even carrying Young's body to the black unmarked cargo van made it look like Batou was carrying a basket of freshly baked bread. But when they loaded Bradley into back of the van, they didn't count on what happened next.

Ishikawa: Major, we got a problem.

Motoko: What is it, Ishikawa?

Ishikawa: I've been trying to contact Dr. Dimatto while the Lieutenant and Roarke were in Chicago, I just got word that she was attacked and has been transported to a medical center.

 

 

Chapter Text

A/N: This is actually a very short chapter that will lead into the final chapter of the Conspiracy saga.

Standard Disclaimers Apply

Roarke's plane was about to make it's descent on the private New York runway when they heard the news.

Eve: Do you know where they transported her too, Ishikawa?

Ishikawa: She's being transported to the Drake Center, no details have come up yet, but they're saying she's in a critical condition. Word also broke that Dr. Wo has been transported to the Drake as well, it's looking like self-termination and they don't think she's going to make it."

"Damn it." Eve cursed to herself. "And here we were trying to get her and Vanderhaven into interview along with Young."

Motoko: We have Young in our custody, Lieutenant. We got two of our European agents trying to search for Vanderhaven. We're not going to make him hide on our watch.

Eve: Major, do you still have any of those thermoptic cloaks?

Motoko: If you go to the Drake, Eve, you give me your word you'll stay hidden under those cloaks, do you understand? I don't even want your friends to see you in that hospital.

It frustrated Eve for her to know that since she and Roarke were technically still in hiding, the potential murder of a potential friend for Eve and she couldn't even allow Louise to see her. But the oath of secrecy was more important for Eve and even more important, she needed to find the person she now knew who was definitely responsible for everything.

Eve: You have my word, Major.

Motoko: The cloaks will be waiting outside The Ghost Headquarters, Dallas . If you ever need my help, I'll be there, little one.

***

The ride to the Drake had been the near equivalent of a rocket car traveling to Mexico at hyperspeed, Eve had dealt with that firsthand due to the occasional trips to Roarke's private villa in that region. They stopped at The Ghost Headquarters first, to not only pick up the thermoptic cloaks, but to also pick up a vehicle that also had thermoptic camouflage and ended up parking at the top of a parking garage where there were fewer cars parked so no one would bump into the invisible car.

It would be frustrating for Eve and Roarke to not use their social statuses to get around the hospital, let alone show their faces. But they waited patiently for each hospital door to open and pass through without much notice and they eventually made it past the Intensive Care Unit of the Drake.

They maintained total silence throughout the whole trip, because even with thermoptics, their voices could still be heard through the camouflage and Eve didn't want to risk being caught by talking.

So when Eve and Roarke caught Louise's uncle Colin Cagney ranting and blaming on Eve Dallas being the cause of his niece being in a coma, as much as she wanted to object, Eve kept her silence. His rants ranged from how Louise didn't want to share in the family fortune that was the Drake Center, instead she chose to go her own path and give healthcare to the homeless to how the homeless could potentially kill someone like Louise for the credits in her pocket or the drugs used to keep those pitiful lives going.

Eve silently let out a glare when Waverly exited the ICU doors to calm Cagney down in his suave way. She could never forget how jealous Roarke got of him when Waverly used some of that suave charm on Eve, even though he knew she knew better.

When Eve and Roarke finally passed through the ICU doors, it didn't take long to see some of the nurses comforting a crying woman, though it definitely didn't take long for them to find out that Dr. Tia Wo didn't make it when they saw her girlfriend weeping hysterically to the point where two orderlies had her sedated.

It pained Eve to see her aide Officer Peabody standing guard with a uniform and there was no doubt that Captain Feeney was also in the building, but she couldn't bear to see her mentor, not like this. They eventually snuck into Louise Dimatto's room to watch her sleep and saw that her head was heavily wrapped in some bandages, to the point where you couldn't see her short blonde hair.

Eve: There's a blow to the head and her right wrist is fractured.

Roarke: Defensive wounds, and from the looks of things the blow to the head looks like it belonged to a desk 'link.

Ishikawa: I got a copy of the police report, Dallas, Dr. Dimatto was at her office and was attacked between three or four pm.

Eve: Any status on her, Ishikawa?

Ishikawa: From what I gathered, it's looking to be a good center, doctors have been fleeting in and out. There's been NYPSD droids ordered to watch her 24/7 and from my gathering of hacking the droids, the nurses are saying that her heart and lungs are prime and brain scans aren't looking very troubling for the moment. They've been working hard to bring her out of the coma as quickly as possible.

Eve: What's the verdict on Dr. Wo?

Ishikawa: Turns out her private co-hab got home and found her drugged on barbs.

Motoko: We didn't see her at the organ lab and we were gonna pick her up at her residence, for interview after we picked up Bradley.

Roarke: They definitely want some people silenced.

Ishikawa: Well I may have a good idea on who, I just pulled up security footage from Dimatto's office.

Eve and Roarke hid in the bathroom at Louise's room, wide enough for them to fit in and Eve pulled out her 'link. The link showed Eve footage of Louise facing her attacker and not being able to stand a chance when the desk 'link bashed against her head. The footage was clear enough for Eve to recognize a certain woman who was supposed to be a loyal assistant.

Eve: I know who it is, Major, it's Louise's nurse Jan.

Motoko: She definitely knew something and Jan was a key in that. Batou and I are en route to her residence as we speak.

Eve began pace at the rather large restroom in Louise's quarters: It's highly probable that Jan will likely be silenced, Major. Just like the killer has silenced Dr. Wo.

Motoko: Pay someone off just to kill somebody later to cover something up, it's a method that has never worked.

Eve: It's definitely a good thing that I've called you, Motoko. It's becoming more and more clear that this is a bigger problem than any of us realized, NYPSD included.

Motoko: A blessing in disguise, little one, this has been the work of a team. A team of contacts, fillers, assistants, experts and that nurse was one of them. A team too big for the NYPSD to handle.

Eve: My best guess is she fed him data on patients, the kind that use the clinic or make use of the medi-van service. Sleepers, LCs, dealers, chemi-heads. Dregs...Vessels.

Roarke: She contacted someone with possible donors. Every business needs a good inside track. And this appears to be a business.

Motoko: We'll finish the rest of this discussion at the Ghost Headquarters, I need everyone to report at once.

Eve: I know who's doing all this, Major, he's right in my grasp and I can stop him.

Motoko: I concur, Lieutenant, but we need to plan a sting to take him and everyone else down.

***

Just then Eve and Roarke heard the door open for Louise's room and they had no choice but to keep quiet while they saw Michael Waverly take her hospital bed out of her room with her in it. Waverly briefly noticed the bathroom door wide open and thought that one of the cops must've left it open after using it. Not once was he able to see Eve and Roarke in their thermoptic camouflage cloaks.

Eve: Major, Dr. Waverly just walked into Louise's room.

Major: What's he doing, Lieutenant?

Eve: It looks like he's getting ready to transfer her somewhere, he's unplugging every machine that she's hooked up to.

Major: He's definitely not waiting around...alright change of plans, Lieutenant. Keep your thermoptics on and stay a few feet behind him. When it looks like he's making a stop, take him down, arrest him and wait for us. Batou and I should be there in thirty minutes.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

A/N: So here we are at the tail-end of the Conspiracy saga and will spin into the Loyalty saga of Death in the Shell. I just want to say that I do appreciate everyone taking time to read it even though I've been putting out content really quick. If there's anybody out there that can give me ideas to make improvements, I hope we can work together and fix it.

 

Standard Disclaimers Apply

 

Chapter 7

Eve and Roarke were already out the hospital room when they noticed Peabody and the other uniform sprawled outside, as if they were lazy on the job. But Eve knew that Peabody was better than that and began to have a quick check of her pulse and the officers.

Eve: Major, both Peabody and her partner have been heavily sedated.

Ishikawa: I'll hack into the hospital and get the medics to them, just follow Waverly.

Without saying anything more, they quickly followed Dr. Waverly to the elevator with just enough time to reach it before it closed. They were required to keep their silence under thermoptics and Eve would be thankful for the advantages it brought to her and Roarke when they heard Waverly speak to Louise so soft and gentle as if it was between the two of them.

"Just you and me, my fine friend," Waverly began to say. "Nobody here to save you from what I'm going to do to you."

For Eve and Roarke, it was a bit difficult to hold back their snickers at the irony of his statement.

"Think I didn't know you were planning to rat out our operation? That you were planning to talk to the associates of the former Lieutenant Eve Dallas?"

It actually didn't sting Eve as much as she thought, especially since re-joining The Ghost Organization allowed her to not only be an officer again, but they allowed her to keep the title of Lieutenant. They wouldn't allow her to quit a case and they were more than willing to help her solve it.

"All it took was just a simple murder of a short-tempered officer to get Eve Dallas out of my way. The puzzles for her downfall was just easy to put together when Bowers was assigned to 'help' with the murder of Shooks."

Eve: Man this guy is so fucking full of himself, he can't even get the name Snooks right.

Roarke: Just confirms who the better doctor is and he's not liking that the better doctor is a female.

"It's a shame that Detective Rosswell was supposed to be assigned to that matter but dispatch had to fuck it up."

Eve: If Rosswell had taken that case, I would've chewed some asses out.

Roarke: Quiet Eve, the elevator is getting ready to stop.

"A shame that the heart I took from him failed," Waverly said as he exited the elevator. "But failure must be reached for progress to be achieved. He was nothing more than just an obstacle and with Rosswell's cooperation, a ruffling of Bower's feathers, false data planted, I arranged for Bowers and your friend Dallas to meet at another murder scene. Bowers reacted as I predicted, though I must admit, Dallas was admirably controlled."

Eve: Oh stop with the compliments I'm so blushing.

Roarke: And yet you like it when I make you blush.

Eve: Just drinking your coffee alone, makes me blush.

As quiet as a mouse, they followed Waverly through the organ research facility hallway and they stayed close enough to be in earshot. "When Officer Bower's death caused Eve's suspension, I knew that we'd have extra time to finish and we've been so close to complete success. Though I didn't expect Eve to resign from the NYPSD, I was laughing so hard, I couldn't even breathe."

Waverly went on to explain to Louise how Dr. Westley Friend had been against Waverly's organ regeneration scheme when Friend introduced the concept of artificial implants. Dr. Friend's success knocked away any chance of success with Waverly. But Dr. Tia Wo was Waverly's only supporter and kept Waverly informed of Dr. Friends doings. Waverly ultimately killed Dr. Friend he found out about Waverly's schemes of regenerating animal organs and had intended to cancel all funding. Waverly ultimately killed Dr. Friend the same way Dr. Tia Wo self-terminated. He eventually had to go under, until it was safe enough for Michael to move to human organs. Waverly told all this to Louise while she was under heavy sedation, it wasn't like she was going to live to pass the tale around.

Eventually Eve, Roarke and Waverly reached a set of double doors fashioned with heavy opaque glass. Eve and Roarke watched Waverly touch the palm plate and had his cornea scanned while waiting for the timed locks to loosen and let the door open. Eve and Roarke had the element of surprise, but if there was one thing Eve learned from being a cop, it was to wait for the suspect to walk right into the sting op. So they chose to be silent as they watched Waverly remove his lab coat. He was dressed as if for an elegant evening engagement in a perfectly cut dark suit with a silk tie. His gold caduceus glinted in the bright lights. They watched him wear a wide grin as he began to prepare a pressure syringe.

"It's a shame that you've become a loose end, Dr. Dimatto," Waverly said in the middle of preparing the syringe. "But no one will know of that when you know how to dispose a body at a crematory. What happened to your body will remain a mystery. Your uncle will be broken and I'm sorry for it. But progress, great progress, requires heavy sacrifice."

"Sorry but that sacrifice has just been canceled," he heard a female voice speak behind him.

And out of nowhere, a fist landed directly at Waverly's face and Eve relished the sting of knuckles meeting flesh. The drive for her revenge ripped at her as she began to tackle Waverly and sent them crashing to the floor.

"Thought you gotten rid of me so easily?" Eve asked with her hand on his throat. "Or maybe it hadn't occurred to you that I had friends much powerful than yours."

She didn't use the pain, she didn't need it. She used her rage. Half blind with it, she straddled him, slamming her elbow into his windpipe. He gagged, strained for air. And she twisted the syringe he'd nearly pumped into her side out of his hand.

"They said that you disappeared, I had everything worked out." Waverly choked out.

"What the world doesn't know, is that I was trained by one of the most secret organizations sanctioned by the United Nations," Eve leaned close to Waverly's face. "and they're going to eat you and your partners for breakfast, when we're done with you."

But what Eve didn't expect to happen with Waverly, she caught too late when she loosened her grip on his throat. Waverly was foaming at the mouth and his body began to twitch as if he was having a heart attack.

"What the fuck did you take?" Eve asked as Motoko and Batou walked in.

"Cyanide," Waverly let out a rusty croak. "I'd rather die than have you bring me down."

Motoko let out a smirk, "Even if you were to die, your friend Young will be the only one talking and God forbid what will happen when we find Vanderhaven and make him talk."

"They can all go to hell," Waverly's breath was straining. "But how do you think your bosses will react when they find out you went rogue and defected?"

But as the corrupt doctor began to feel his life leave him, he heard Motoko, Batou, Eve and Roarke laughing their asses off and as he began to die the final words he heard were, "I don't know what you're talking about." He didn't know who if Motoko or Eve said it but he died knowing that all his work was crumbling like a rock tower and The Ghost Organization were the ones who found the pebble.

 ***

Three days later

The Ghost Organization operated in total secrecy when they worked, the only people who knew of their work were very select members of The U.N., the United States included. So when they conducted their interviews against Dr. Young and Dr. Vanderhaven, their transfers back to New York custody was just the icing on the cake when Motoko and Batou delivered both of them to Cop Central's doorstep where Captain Feeney and Commander Whitney waited. The full cake involved the media leaking details of every involvement from every member of the American Medical Association, Senator Brian Waylan of Illinois and other political members located around the world.

Eve and Roarke were back in the mansion and lounging at their theater room watching Channel 75 and Nadine Furst report multiple resignations and arrests of prominent members and backers of Dr. Waverly's organ cloning scheme. On the night of his death, The Ghost Organization were very tempted to throw Waverly at the Drake Center's incinerator to have him cremated, but Eve and Roarke opted to deliver his body to the New York City morgue to be autopsied by Morris. Upon examination of Waverly's office after he died, they found recordings of every single person he traced since this case began, ranging from Rosswell, Bowers, Snooks to finally Roarke and Dallas. The latter of the two decided to attach those recordings to Waverly's body for Morris to find and for the NYPSD to see.

News also broke of the NYPSD's decision to rule out Eve Dallas as the suspect in the murder of Officer Bowers and were willing to let her return to her post as Lieutenant if she chose to return in 90 days. But Eve didn't want to return yet because she still owed a favor to the Major about helping out with a case. Motoko did however allow Eve to call Captain Feeney to give an update on her whereabouts, after all Feeney was the only one who really knew the truth.

"So Waverly decided to take the cowards way out, huh?" Feeney asked Eve through Roarke's link.

"Bad enough he took his punches like a sissy, but I think he was more scared of being Bruno's date for the rest of his natural life."

"One of these days, kid, you and I are going to sit down over a brew and talk about your involvement with the Ghost Organization."

"I trust you didn't tell anyone about us did you?"

"Not a single soul, but I am curious as to why you won't come back to your post, you're in the clear kid."

"I caught the presser on screen, Feeney and I'm sorry but I can't return yet. But I will return eventually."

"I know you will, kid, you're a New York cop to the bone."

Eve let out a smile at that statement. "You bet your ass, but I'm also loyal to Motoko Kusanagi and right now I owe her a favor."

"Well if you ever need help, I'll be there for you kid." And the screen finally went off and that's when Eve saw Motoko's face in the link's reflective screen.

"Luckily you won't have to wait long to fulfill that favor," Motoko said as she entered Eve's office.

"What do you mean, Major?"

"What I'm about to show you, Dallas," Motoko pulled out a disc and handed it to Eve. "Involves a group that is very dangerous and they are willing to kill multiple people to get to you."

Dallas accepted the disc and what transmitted in text only, made her blood very chilly.

 

Dear Comrade,

We are Cassandra.

It has begun.

All we have worked for, all we have trained for, all we have sacrificed for is in place. A dawn after so long a twilight. The goals set over thirty years ago will be achieved. The promises made will be kept. And the martyr's blood that was shed, avenged at long last.

We know you are concerned. We know you are cautious. This is what makes you a wise general. Believe that we have taken your counsel and your warnings to heart. We do not break the moratorium on this righteous and bitter war with a battle we intend to lose. We are well-equipped, our cause well-financed, and all steps and options have been considered.

We send this transmission to you, dear friend and Comrade, as we joyfully prepare to continue our mission. Already, first blood has been spilled, and we rejoice. Circumstances have put an opponent in our path you would find worthy. We have attached to this transmission a dossier on Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the so-called New York City Police and Security Department so that you might familiarize yourself with this adversary.

Through the defeat of this enemy, our victory will be all the sweeter. She is, after all, another symbol of the corrupt and oppressive system we will destroy.

Your wise counsel directed us to this place. We have lived among these pitiful pawns of a weak-kneed society, wearing our smiling mask as we scorn their city and their system of repression and decay. We have, to their blind eyes, become one of them. No one questions us as we move about these immoral and filthy streets. We are invisible, a shadow among shadows as you, and the one we both loved, taught us the canniest soldier must be.

And when we have destroyed, one by one, the symbols of this overfed society, demonstrating our power and our clean-minded plan for the new realm, they will tremble. They will see us, and they will remember him. The first symbol of our glorious victory will be a monument to him. In his image.

We are loyal, and our memory is long.

You will hear the first rumble of battle tomorrow.

Speak of us to all the patriots, to all the loyal.

We are Cassandra.

 

 

Chapter Text

A/N: For anybody that's read Loyalty in Death, this is where I'm probably going to be making the most changes around this saga as we begin to get into the meat and potatoes of this story. There's going to be a lot of text lifted from the original book but it's mostly just to display the role reversals between Eve Dallas and David Baxter, just read and you'll get it.

Standard Disclaimers apply.

Even though a friend was gone from a job and moved on to a new one, murder still happened everywhere. A beggar died unnoticed, his throat slashed three feet from his front door for the twelve credits in his pocket. A woman choked out one last scream as she crumpled under her lover's pounding fists.

And for Detective David Baxter and his aide Officer Delia Peabody, death circled its bony finger, then jabbed it gleefully between the eyes of one J. Clarence Branson, the fifty-year-old co-owner of Branson Tools and Toys.

He'd been rich, single, and successful, a jolly man with reason to be as co-owner of a major interplanetary corporation. A second son and the third generation of Bransons to provide the world and its satellites with implements and amusements, he'd lived lavishly.

And had died the same way.

J. Clarence's heart had been skewered with one of his own multi-power porta drills by his steely-eyed mistress, who'd bolted him to the wall with it, reported the incident to the police, then had calmly sat sipping claret until the first officers arrived on the scene.

She continuously sipped her drink, while cozily sitting in a high-backed chair watching a computer generated fire while Detective Baxter examined the body.

"He's absolutely dead," she coolly informed Baxter. They did an ID check on her and she was identified as Lisbeth Cooke, an advertising executive. Age forty, sleekly attractive and very good at her job. "The Branson 8000 is an excellent product-designed to satisfy both the professional and the hobbyist. It's very powerful and accurate."

"Yeah." Baxter scanned the victim's face. Pampered and handsome, even though death had etched a look of stunned and sorrowful surprise on his face. Blood soaked through the breast of his blue velvet dressing gown and puddled glossily on the floor. "Sure as hell did the job here. Read Ms. Cooke her rights, Peabody."

Peabody obediently followed orders while Baxter verified time and cause of death for the record. Even with the voluntary confession, the business of murder would follow routine. The weapon would be taken into evidence, the body transported and autopsied, the scene secured.

Baxter gestured the crime scene team to take over and crossed the royal red carper to sit across from Lisbeth in front of the chirpy fire that blew out lush heat and light. Nothing was said for the moment as several beats passed by to see what reaction he might get from the fashionable brunette with fresh blood splattered somehow gaily on her yellow silk jumpsuit.

"He was cheating on me," Lisbeth said flatly. "I killed him."

"Did you argue?" Baxter studied the steady green eyes, saw anger but no shock or remorse.

"We had a few words." Lisbeth lifted her claret to full lips painted the same rich tone as the wine. "Most of them mine. J. C. was weak-minded." She shrugged her shoulders and silk rustled. "I accepted that, even found it endearing in many ways. But we had an arrangement. I gave him three years of my life."

Now she leaned forward, eyes snapping with the temper behind the chill. "Three years, during which time I could have pursued other interests, other arrangements, other relationships. But I was faithful. He was not."

She drew in a breath, leaned back again, very nearly smiled. "Now he's dead."

"Did you own the drill at the time you killed Branson?" Baxter asked in between hearing the team's ugly suck and scrape as the team struggled to remove the long steel spike from flesh and bone.

"No, it's J.C.'s. He putters occasionally, which is what he must've been doing when I picked it up." Lisbeth mused with a casual glance toward the body the crime scene team was now removing from the wall in a ghastly ballet of movements. "I saw it there, on the table, and thought, well, that's just perfect, isn't it? So I picked it up, flicked it on. And used it."

For a first day on the job with an aide, it didn't get much simpler than this, Baxter mused and rose. "Ms. Cooke, these officers will take you down to Cop Central. I'll have some more questions for you."

Obligingly, Lisbeth swallowed the last of the claret, then set the glass aside. "I'll just get my coat."

Peabody shook her head as Lisbeth tossed a full-length black mink over her bloody silks and swept out between two uniforms with all the panache of a woman heading out to the next heady social engagement.

"Man, it takes all kinds. She drills the guy, then hands us the case on a platter."

Baxter shrugged as he used some solvent to clean the blood and Seal-It from his hands, "She's not going to get murder one. That's just what it was, but I'll lay odds it's pleaded down to manslaughter within forty-eight hours."

"Manslaughter?" Peabody gaped at Baxter with genuine shock. "Even Lt. Dallas wouldn't have accepted that."

"You haven't been around the block like we have, kid." Baxter looked into Peabody's dark, earnest eyes, studied her square, no-nonsense face under its bowl-cut hair and police-issue hat. It was bad enough that Peabody was still reeling from the grief of Lieutenant Eve Dallas still being absent one month after being cleared of being a murder suspect. "If the drill proves to be the victim's, she didn't bring a weapon with her. That cuts down on premeditation. Pride's got her now, and a good dose of mad, but after a few hours in a cell, if not before, survival instinct will kick in, and she'll lawyer up. She's smart, so she'll lawyer smart."

"Yeah, but we've got intent. We've got malice. She just made a statement for the record."

"And she doesn't have to renege on it, just embellish it. They argued. She was devastated, upset. Maybe he threatened her. In a moment of passion-or possibly fear-she grabbed the drill."

Baxter and Peabody stepped off the elevator and crossed the wide lobby with its pink marble columns and glossy ornamental trees. "Temporary diminished capacity, possibly an argument for self-defense. Bullshit yes, but Branson was about six-two, two-twenty, and she's five-four, maybe one-fifteen. They could make that work. Then, in shock, she contacts the police immediately. She doesn't attempt to run or to deny what she did. She takes responsibility, which would earn points with a jury if it comes down to it. The PA knows that, so he'll plead it down."

"That really bites."

"Best case scenario," Baxter said as they stepped outside into a cold as bitter February. "She'll lose her job, spend a hefty chunk of credits on her lawyer. You take what you can get."

Peabody glanced over at the morgue wagon. "The Lieutenant wouldn't have settled for it."

Baxter may have had a preference for slick suits to fit his slick, smooth and flirty personality, but everyone who worked with him knew he had as much dedication to the job as Eve Dallas did. He didn't seek being named a commanding officer, but decided to volunteer as a temporary Sargent, because if anybody at Cop Central could trust someone to run the Homicide Bullpen in Dallas' place, it might as well be him. He even made a point to volunteer as Peabody's trainer in the process.

"Look kid," Baxter began to turn on the car. "I miss Lieutenant Dallas as much as you do and we do know that she and Roarke are back in town, but the bottom line is we don't know if she'll be back in the NYPSD or not."

Peabody shrugged and settled into the warming car. "Sorry, Baxter, I wasn't trying to give you grief, because you're right. It's just that I thought that she would be back when they cleared her out as a suspect."

"Well you gotta remember, Whitney and Tibble practically gave her a stab in the back when they took her badge. I'll admit that Webster and myself weren't much help in that department, but all me and him were doing was just our jobs. I only regret that we didn't act faster to save her job before she left."

"I'm not angry at you, Baxter," Peabody said while Baxter's car made the exit towards Cop Central. "If I were angry at you, I would've said no and censored any curse words I would've directed at you."

"I wouldn't blame you if you did curse at me, but I do appreciate you not throwing me under the bus. Like it or not, we're dealing with some very fragile times in our bullpen, a lot of bridges are on fire and loyalties are being questioned. And I don't know if Eve's return were to fix all of our problems, but in case she doesn't we need to carry on the fight to keep this city safe, like she wanted us to."

Nothing more was said between the two as they made their way to the parking lot at Cop Central. It was silently agreed that the quicker they got this case written and filed, the sooner Baxter and Peabody would start on their end of shift hobbies.

***

But somewhere at the New Jersey side of the Hudson, a body was being discovered and was currently in the process of all procedures required before putting it in a bodybag. The Ghost Organization had received a tip from a snitch, who was affiliated with Lieutenant Eve Dallas, that his friend Howard Bassi A.K.A. The Fixer had disappeared. Two weeks after Eve Dallas had received the Cassandra letter from Motoko, they had talked with Ratso, her snitch.

The Fixer told Ratso about a big job he was working on, putting together explosives for a couple of shady characters. But a couple of weeks later, Fixer told him that it was a really bad deal, he was afraid of another Arlington. Fixer was really scared and asked if he could stay with Ratso for awhile, but he never showed up. Right now, Lieutenant Dallas and her husband Roarke were hoisting Bassi's body onto the boat while Motoko and Batou emerged from the water.

"Well if there's one advantage to working with you," Eve watched Motoko get up on the boat, "Is that we don't have to worry about jurisdiction fights with New Jersey."

"And yet you still want to go back to the NYPSD," Batou retorted while following Motoko on the boat. "We've been paying you a lot more than they have, I'd have figured you wanted to make your stay with us a more permanent one."

"It's not about the money, Batou," Motoko replied while taking off her wet-suit. "It's about her settling down on her path. A path that she's been wanting since childhood."

"And my path is with the NYPSD," Eve turned to Roarke. "And also with him."

Roarke gave Eve a gentle smile as he proceeded to pick out a white wine and four glasses to celebrate a successful fishing trip.

After ridding her wet-suit and changing into a sports bikini, Motoko began to settle in the dining area of the yacht Roarke rented for the job. "Eve, do you remember the summer I took you deep sea diving at the Hudson?"

Eve nodded, "I remember that you didn't allow me to swim, you instead held on to me, while we had a breathing mask and diving suit on."

"When was this?" Roarke asked.

"I was thirteen years old," Eve took her first sips of wine. "Motoko and Batou had gotten back from a mission and asked me if I wanted to go to the Hudson for a swim. Too bad it wasn't a swim at all, even though I've been showing great skill at the time."

"Yeah you were very close to breaking Motoko's swim record," Batou replied with a swig from his glass. "You were hands down, the best student we ever worked with."

"What exactly did you guys teach her?"

Motoko took a drink from her own glass. "Two weeks at the beginning of each month, we would teach Eve basic school stuff. Math, Science, History, English, Japanese and Spanish. Two weeks at the end of each month, we'd teach her things like shooting, self-defense, Yoga and sports."

That got a chuckle out of Eve, "I can't believe that other children weren't learning the way I was with the Ghost Organization, those final two weeks were enough to actually relax me and as a result I've gotten good grades."

"Good grades nothing," Batou laughed. "Rich boy, this lady earned nothing but A-pluses in her time with us, she was that good."

Even though Roarke saw Eve blushing at the compliment, he actually wanted to change the subject. "If she was a good swimmer, why didn't you make her swim in the Hudson."

"To prove that even a cyborg can still feel fear," Motoko simply said.

"Fear?" Roarke asked.

"Fear that a floater might not work, or that one of the oxygen tanks might burst on you," Eve replied and Motoko noticed that Eve was mirroring an expression she wore twenty years ago. "For a time, I felt that same feeling of fear, coldness, loneliness. But while I felt Motoko's arms around me, I felt a sense of safety and hope."

"There's also something about looking at your reflection while you're inside the water and when you reach through that reflection, it's as if you're being born into something else," Motoko added to Eve's statement.

"Exactly what you said to me on that boat, twenty years ago," Batou said after finishing up his wine glass. "During the Puppet Master incident."

"Speaking of which," Motoko noticed the boat begin to make it's way back to shore. "I noticed while picking up The Fixer, he had Ghost jacks on the back of his neck."

Eve looked at Motoko in surprise, "You mean he had Cybernetic Enhancements?"

Motoko nodded, "He probably also had a Ghost, I want to do a full dive on him as soon as we get back to headquarters."

***

"I don't get it," was the first thing Eve said when she and the Ghost Organization entered a Ghost Diving room. "I was able to do a read on Howard Bassi and it said that he was a Colonel during the Urban Wars. Retired. Enlisted in 1997, enrolled officer's training. Top scores. As a first lieutenant, he worked with STF-Special Training Forces. So why would he be a ghost with a cyborg body?"

"Yeah you definitely didn't know, Lieutenant," Batou replied while watching Motoko get ready for a Ghost Dive. "But do you at least remember us teaching you about September 25, 2023, Arlington County, Virginia?"

Suddenly it hit Eve and Roarke like a ton of bricks, "The Pentagon bombing. He was in that building?" Roarke asked.

Batou nodded, "It wasn't one year prior to The First Laughing Man incident, The U.S. was still in the middle of the Urban Wars when out of nowhere a group called Apollo claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Pentagon."

"Officially," Motoko added while stripping off her clothes, "There were no survivors reported when that bombing occurred, both he, his wife, and their two kids were in the building that day and they didn't make it. But how this guy survived and got a cyber body is just as confusing to us, as it is to you."

Eve eventually found the data involving Bassi's wife and two children, "The son was eight and the daughter was six. Jesus Fucking Christ."

"How common was it for people to have Cybernetic Enhancements?" Roarke asked.

"Not as common as you think," Batou replied, "If you were a member of a security force like Section 9, you had cybernetic enhancements to at least communicate with the Major and me through your brain. Our late leader, Aramaki and our former comrade, Togusa were the only real humans in our group, but they also had cyber enhancements in their brains. There had been some humans who had recreational cybernetics, but like you and Dallas, most just preferred to stay human."

Eve let Batou's back story stew in her head for a few minutes. "So what you're saying is, this guy should've been dead along with his family, but he ended up being rescued anyway to have a shell for a new body?"

Batou nodded, "It's a theory to run on, we won't know the full story until the doctors bring in Bassi for the Major to dive into his head. Tongue may have been cut off along with the lacerations on his wrists and his head may look bruised, but as long as there's a brain in his shell, he'll still be able to talk to us."

Just then a group of medics entered into the room with a gurney containing Howard Bassi's body. To a normal human being, Bassi had a body that looked pretty healthy for a 90 year old man, if they didn't count on the body having similarities to Motoko's body, all cyborg and not one ounce of real human flesh, not even Bassi's brain had a trace of human skin.

"Are we going to need to clear out?" Eve asked.

"If you want," Batou replied as he gave his Ghost-Link jack to Motoko. "Though I will say that it'll probably be a very long while before we get done. I suggest that the both of you go and get some sleep."

Without any ounce of objection, Eve and Roarke exited the room to head back for Eve's old bedroom.

***

The married humans left the married cyborgs to take care of business, so they took an elevator to Eve's old bedroom at The Ghost Headquarters. There was a brief silence that fell between Eve and Roarke on the walk to that elevator, but it wasn't uncomfortable per se. It was more a brewing of the events that have unraveled since before and after fishing out The Fixer.

But when they did reach the elevator, it was Eve who broke the silence. "Did you ever have any dealings with Fixer?"

"Is that an official question?" Roarke smirked.

Eve let out a sigh. "That means you did."

"He had magic hands," Roarke said and put his one of his arms around Eve's shoulders. "Five or six years ago, he worked on a little device for me. A security probe, a cleverly designed code-breaker."

"Which I suppose you designed?"

"For the most part, though Bassi did have some interesting input. A brilliant man with electronics, but very untrustworthy. I decided it was unwise to use his services again."

"And apparently not so trustworthy now that we know he's a cyborg," Eve smirked.

"No," Roarke agreed. "But looking back now, I really can't blame him for not trusting people after they robbed him of death."

He noticed the lack of laughter coming from Eve over his quip, meaning that her mind was definitely on something along with Howard Bassi's body. If there was such a thing as reading minds while you're human, Eve and Roarke were the closest thing to actively practice it.

"You're thinking about your friends at the NYPSD."

"It's been nearly a month, Roarke," Eve put a thumb and finger at the bridge between her eyes. "I know we agreed to help with investigating this group called Cassandra, but all we gotten this month was just the letter. I miss Peabody, Feeney, Baxter, my bullpen. Hell I even miss Whitney and Tibble, even after they did what they had to do."

"That means you're displaying forgiveness for both of them," Roarke replied as the elevator slowed it's descent to the floor they needed to go. "But you're still worried about whether or not they'll forgive you for us disappearing on them so abruptly."

"I feel kinda guilty that I didn't let them know about my hidden home," Eve wanted to sit on the couch more than go to bed right now. But she did proceed to strip off her boots, coat, and sweater. "But I know that I needed to go back to the home that built me and remind me what I wanted to grow up to be when I was a child."

Roarke followed suit as he stripped off his sweater, shoes, socks and under-shirt, "I gotta admit, Darling Eve, the more I hang with The Ghost Organization, the more I realize that you came from good people."

Eve leaned her head on Roarke's muscular chest, "Cyborgs, yes, but they definitely have good hearts. The training they gave me was tough, but they were kind throughout my childhood and when I reached my teen years, they always made me feel like I was a part of the team. They were always positive and never got pushy at me."

For awhile, they just sat on the couch to revel in the silence of being together. They've been doing a lot of it since Eve rejoined The Ghost Organization, sure both of them had been hard at work in trying to uncover the group Cassandra and what link they had to Eve Dallas, if there ever was one. Two weeks prior to meeting with Ratso, Eve and Roarke made a semi-return to the public eye by attending a charity event, mostly to keep up appearances and alleviate suspicion from the public who might have been stirring up rumors. They never went public about whether or not Eve Dallas would return to the NYPSD, and Roarke used enough of his billionaire influence to block anymore questions from the press.

But the real motivation behind their attendance to that party and why they allowed the press to take some pictures, is because they wanted to let her NYPSD family know that she was still alive and wasn't depressed about being away from her old job. As far as Eve was concerned, if the press wanted to let the public to think that she was being a 'trophy' wife, let them. After all, the truth was stranger than fiction.

"I bet you were happy about being outside in the public, weren't you Ace?"

"Actually I was more surprised at how you interacted with the public," Roarke retorted. "Normally you feel uncomfortable interacting with people who aren't cops."

"I was keeping up with the OP, Roarke, I had to blend in and mingle to keep some of the heat off."

"Darling Eve," Roarke chuckled with a kiss on her forehead. "It's not like anybody was going to ever find out about The Ghost Organization."

"Normal people wouldn't, but I couldn't count with just ten fingers, the murderous fanatics I ran into who still believed that the Urban Wars never stopped, or that the Government would make those freaks get cybernetic enhancements when they didn't want to."

Eve then positioned herself on her husbands lap, the fabric of her tank skimming against Roarke's chest, to feel the comfort of his heart beating against hers. "But above all else, I wanted to let them know that I'm still alive and that I didn't go crazy."

"You know what I once said to you while we were dating," Roarke asked before giving Eve a soft kiss. "After you asked me why I chose you?"

"I remember weeping over the thought of losing you," Eve remembered exactly what he was talking about. "But maybe you could refresh me."

"Your courage, your absolute dedication to balancing scales, that restless mind, and that sweet corner of your heart that pushes you to care so much about so many. Your friends especially."

Eve nodded in agreement while Roarke repeated that speech he gave her that night in his office, in a voice soft as Irish silk. "I do miss them, Roarke, but I know I can't go back not until all of this is over."

"You will be back, my Darling Eve, and there's not a doubt in my mind that they will also take you back."

Eve didn't realize that Roarke was programming the TV to display crashing waves on a sandy white beach, but when she did hear it, it melted her heart at Roarke's setup for a tender night.

"For right now, Darling Eve," Roarke carried her to the king sized mattress of their bedroom. "Let's focus on us tonight and let me take care of you."

"I love you, Roarke."

"I love you, too, Aghra."

Chapter Text

Standard Disclaimers Apply

While Eve and Roarke were spending a gentle evening with making love, Motoko and Batou were already in the process of diving into the shell of Howard Bassi. It took some time to travel through the webs of Bassi's already damaged brain caused by his murder. But thanks to the years of experience with Ghost Diving, Motoko and Batou were able to find the tragic event that caused his cybernetic change.

The carnage that was the Pentagon was nothing but type of dust you'd see in an abandoned mansion thanks to the plaston explosives. It was easy for Motoko and Batou to see that the only resemblance of a corpse in that wreckage, was a man whose skin was practically blasted off, only thing they could see from him was that poster you'd see in a doctor's office displaying the anatomy of the human body, he was that fucked up. But the shocker was he was still alive, but was barely breathing when his military superiors rescued him. Everywhere else, you could never find a single survivor. Not even the cry of a little infant.

Motoko and Batou were transported to another room that was very dark and only had two lights shining in this room. They saw a group of doctors and cyborg technicians work on Howard Bassi to make him a cyborg. They didn't need to read minds to know that these doctors were robbing The Fixer of his death, a death that claimed his wife and two children. They looked at Bassi at the surgery table and heard him think how he would never forgive the country he swore to protect.

Through some additional memory flashbacks, Motoko and Batou finally arrived at the moments that lead to Bassi's death. They saw him talk business with a woman, whose face barely showed in the dim light of Bassi's hidden room. They were discussing payment and development for multiple high grade explosions. They couldn't see the woman's face, but they could definitely hear how many bombs they wanted Bassi to build.

Ratso's account of their conversation had been confirmed when Motoko and Batou dived into that moment when Bassi began talking to Ratso about his fears of another Arlington incident. Ratso easily agreed to let Bassi crash at his place, but the night after the conversation, they caught an unmarked black van with some figures in black kidnapping a drugged out Bassi. It was the last memory they were able to dive in, before Motoko and Batou decided to return back to the present.

***

By the next morning, Motoko and Batou were already getting finished with compiling their report when Eve Dallas and Roarke came into the briefing room already dressed in their usual clothes.

"Did you guys get enough sleep last night?" Motoko asked the two.

Eve nodded, "Though I can't believe I'm about to ask this, but did you two get any sleep last night?"

"Normally us cyborgs can go 72 hours longer than a normal human," Batou replied while getting the Autochef ready for some coffee and breakfast. "Though I am curious as to why you'd ask us about getting sleep."

"Because I'm usually the one who shoves her into getting sleep, when she really needs it," Roarke replied while passing a coffee cup to Eve. "There had been times where we'd be up 'til 3 if she's working a big case and we find a big lead along the way."

"Well we can definitely see where she'd gotten that from," Motoko said while grabbing the last coffee cup. "Speaking of which, we managed to complete the Ghost-Dive on Howard Bassi last night, all we got to do is wait for the others to show up. Meanwhile we got some bagels and cream-cheese ready for you, all courtesy of one of your bakery chains, Roarke."

Eve didn't hesitate to grab a few bagels but it didn't stop her from looking at Roarke in amazement. "You own a bakery chain?"

"Mostly a high-end bakeries, Darling Eve," Roarke helped himself to a few. "We use nothing but 100% natural ingredients and not factory made knockoffs."

"You'd be amazed at how well these bagels mix in with your husbands coffee, Lieutenant," Batou said while dipping his own bagel into his coffee.

Just then some doors opened and Ishikawa, Saito and Yuutaro entered into the conference room. The first thing they did was help themselves to the coffee and bagels that Batou provided before taking their seats on the couch, in preparation for the briefing that Motoko Kusanagi was about to give.

"So I was able to dive into Howard Bassi's Ghost last night," Motoko began to put out some displays on screen. "A lot of what The Ratso said to Dallas and myself had basically been confirmed by Bassi himself."

She first displayed what happened with Bassi and his conversation with some dark figures at his basement office. They were mostly talking about refining the details of the explosives he made for them, how to work the timers, remotes, bugs and boomers.

"From what Batou and I gathered," Motoko continued. "He built enough for ten buildings to be blown up. Our theory is that they plan to hit some major landmarks and buildings on this side of the coast."

"Did you ever get a feel of what they're trying to accomplish?" Eve asked.

Motoko shook her head, "They never gave explicit details, but the night after his meeting with this group, he made a call to Ratso detailing his fears of what the group might be doing. Said it would make the Pentagon look like a kiddie pool."

The next thing Motoko displayed was the night of his murder. "From my gathering of Bassi's last living day, approximately three figures in heavy body armor, abducted him without much chance for defense. We witnessed them giving him the lacerations and bruising at the back of his neck. From what I gathered, the cutting of the tongue was postmortem."

"Even though he still had a pulse?" Eve asked.

"I do agree that cutting the tongue off would've woken him up," Motoko said. "But I also theorize that they must've found a way to shut off his cyborg body without shutting off the Ghost."

"All because he was beginning to talk," Eve said while looking at Motoko's Ghost Dive. "Were you able to determine a location of his shop?"

"I know where it is," Roarke replied and made everyone turn to him. "And I bet you want to take a look at his safe house."

Eve nodded, "There might be some financial records or traces of what he used to work on, whatever it is, we have to find it."

***

Just off Ninth, a bare block from the entrance to the tunnel, stood a dilapidated storefront mined with security bars, patched with intercoms and peek lenses, and as welcoming as a cockroach. Fixer's place was a grungy smear in an area not known for its tidiness.

The one-way windows offered the passerby a dingy field of black. The door was reinforced steel, studded with a complicated series of locks that if a police seal was placed, it would look like a joke.

People who loitered in the area knew how to mind their own business-which was usually second-story work. One glance at The Ghost Organization had most of them finding something else to do and somewhere else to do it.

"Well they definitely knew to keep things sealed tight," Batou quipped while Roarke began working the locks on Bassi's door. "You would think, it would be structured like either a museum or Fort Knox."

"And why do I get the feeling you actually tried Fort Knox, Roarke?" Eve asked.

"Wait until I get done, then I'll give you my answer," Roarke replied while still decoding the locks.

"Well the place is definitely locked like Fort Knox," Motoko added. "But at the same time, it kinda looks like a cross between an old automobile repair shop and a bait shop."

"Bait shop," Batou chuckled. "He was probably so anti-social, that he even thought simple worms were a nuisance."

"I can also understand yachting and maybe even swimming," Ishikawa said. "But I guarantee you that a man would be laughed at for looking like the tacky fisherman looking for some Sea Bass at the Hudson."

Just then the locks on Bassi's place began to disengage, all thanks to Roarke's magic hands. Throughout the Ghost's conversations, Eve had been looking at her husbands work with fascination and enjoyment, so much so that Eve kept a little smile on her when the group went in and shut the door behind them.

"Okay," Batou said as he took in the smell of the place. "I thought the smell would be uglier, but all I'm smelling is sweat, grease and bad coffee."

"Like you said," Motoko replied. "It's the old car repair shop smell...Lights on, full."

Both Roarke and Eve narrowed their eyes at the sudden brightness while Motoko, Batou and Ishikawa remained unflinching. The interior of the shop was no more cheerful than the exterior. Not a single chair invited a customer to sit and relax. The floor, the sickly green of baby vomit, carried the grime and scars of decades of wear. The way Eve's boots stuck and made sucking noises as she walked told her that mopping up hadn't been a major occupation of the deceased.

Gray metal shelves rose up one wall and were jammed full in a system that defied all logic.

Mini-screens, security cams, porta-links, desk logs, communication and entertainment systems crowded together in varying stages of repair or harvesting.

Jumbled on the other side of the room were more units they took to be complete as the hand-lettered sign above warned that pickup must be made within thirty days or the customer defaulted the merchandise.

"The old man definitely knew how to make a sick joke," Eve directed the group to a dangling human skull over the cashier's counter. The sign under the sagging jaw read The Last Shoplifter.

"A definite laugh riot," Motoko murmured and huffed out a breath. "His security monitors are still running."

Motoko pointed to a screen with control panels which gave out a full view of the street. There was another screen, securing the interior which they could study themselves on the crystal-clear screen.

Unless The Fixer wanted you in, you were never welcomed.

"I found the computer," Ishikawa pointed to the unit that looked like an ugly hybrid of scavenged parts. "And if I can guess, it's probably fail-safe protected."

But Eve had a probability that the computer ran with more speed, efficiency, and reliability than the one in her office at Cop Central.

"Think you can play with it, Ishikawa?" Motoko asked.

"Might take a few minutes," Ishikawa replied. "It's likely that he had copies of his logs in this computer and may have had extra copies.

"If you make any progress, let us know the instant you do," Motoko ordered while Eve followed her to the back area of Bassi's workshop.

"The guy definitely needed some elves," Eve noted the unholy mess of bones and sinews of dozens of electronic devices scattered around. Tools were hung on pegs or tossed wherever they landed. Mini-lasers, delicate tweezers, and screwdrivers with bits hardly wider than a single hair.

"Yeah it's hard to tell if he'd been attacked here," Motoko agreed. "How well did you remember Bassi?"

"One thing I can definitely say," Eve began to reply. "I only knew him as The Fixer back when I was a detective. His room was a bit different from the last time I saw him, but he always did keep himself and his place in constant disarray."

"And they wouldn't have gotten into this dungeon unless he'd wanted them to," Motoko agreed. "He gets turned into a cyborg against his will and as a result his mind gets so warped up to the point of being paranoid."

Motoko jutted her chin for Eve to notice more security monitors overhead. Every inch of his space and several feet outside the shop were all under surveillance twenty-four/seven.

"So they definitely didn't take him from inside," Eve decided. "If he was panicked, as Ratso had said, he'd have been all the more careful. Still, he hadn't felt safe enough to simply barricade himself inside and wait it out. So he'd called a friend."

Motoko and Eve moved into the tiny room, which lead to the mess of Bassi's living space. A cot with yellowed sheets, a table with a jury-rigged communications center, a pile of unwashed clothes, and a narrow bathroom with hardly enough room for the skinny shower stall and toilet.

The kitchenette was a turnaround space packed with a fully loaded AutoChef and a mini-fridge stocked to bursting. Canned and dry goods were stacked in a wall as high as her waist.

"Jesus, he could have waited out an alien attack in here. Why go out to go under?"

Motoko began to turn a slow circle to take her own survey of the room. No windows, no outside doors, she noted. He'd lived in a fucking box. She studied the monitor across from the bed, watched the traffic move along Ninth. No, she corrected. Those were his windows.

"He's scared, so he moves fast," Motoko said. "Takes only what he needs. He's former military and knows how to decamp fast. Might have clothes and money, but not enough for him to go under with."

"One thing I notice that's missing," Eve noted. "If he were going under, wouldn't he have packed a bag?"

Motoko began to scowl at Eve's question, "If you're guess is as good as mine, it's either in the river or they took it from him after he was killed."

"He'd have taken a palm-link," Eve agreed. "He'd have taken his PPC, his logs, connections, and weapons."

Suddenly, Eve made her exit out of the room with Motoko following her. Eve began to poke under the counter to find an empty rack with a quick-release bar. Hunkering down, she narrowed her eyes as she studied it. Had the old bastard really had an illegal blaster? Was this some kind of weapon holder?

"Crap they even took his old blaster," Eve scowled at Motoko. "I know you've taught me a lot about weapons."

"Yeah but I definitely forgot to teach you about the blasters used during the Urban Wars," Motoko finished her thought.

Eve meant to ask Roarke if he kept one when she noticed him about to get off his 'link.

"I just got off with Caro," Roarke referred to his loyal admin at Roarke Industries. "She said a package arrived for me at my office and that my presence was needed."

Suddenly Eve's 'link began to beep and it displayed Feeney's name on the read-out.

"Block video. Dallas."

"Kid, we got a problem."

"What is it?"

"A package addressed to you was shipped at our office, it had the name Cassandra on it."

"Were you able to check it for explosives?"

"Affirmative, but the only thing they found was a disc."

"Whatever's on that disc, transfer it to me in text only, Dallas out."

And like clockwork, Eve received what was sent to Feeney and immediately felt a chill running down her spine.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas, New York Police and Security, Cop Central, Homicide Division.

We are Cassandra. We are the gods of justice. We are loyal.

The present corrupt government with its self-serving and weak-stomached leaders must and will be destroyed. We will dismantle, we will remove, we will annihilate as it becomes necessary to make way for the republic. No longer will the masses tolerate the abuse, the suppression of ideas and voices, the neglect of the pitiful few who cling to power.

Under our rule, all will live free.

We admire your skills. We admire your loyalty in the matter of Howard Bassi, known as The Fixer. He was useful to us and terminated only because he proved defective.

We are Cassandra. Our memory is long. We are prepared. We will make our needs and demands known to you, in time. At nine-fifteen this morning, we will provide a small demonstration of our scope. You will believe. Then you will listen.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

"A demonstration," Eve said when the message ended. With a quick check of her wrist unit, she turned to Roarke. "Did Caro tell you about a similar message from Cassandra?"

Roarke nodded, "They're going to hit an empty warehouse I bought a couple months ago."

"You'll explain it to us while you take us there," Motoko ordered and before leaving the safehouse looked at Ishikawa. "Take that ugly comp back to headquarters and finish your digging."

"I'll have a full report when you get back, Major," Ishikawa replied while watching Batou leave with the other three for Roarke's warehouse.

***

"It used to be an old glass factory, I had it slated to be built into housing units." Roarke explained while driving to the warehouse district his building was located at.

"Were any rehab and construction guys supposed to work over there today?" Motoko asked.

Roarke began to hit vertical lift on his vehicle, "No they were supposed to start next week, that district had mostly been abandoned after the Urban Wars."

They swung east, passed reconditioned lofts where young professionals liked to live and shop and eat in overpriced cafes with bad lighting and good wine.

Barely a block over, the ambiance changed to disuse, disrepair, and despair. Misery walked the streets below in the guise of the unemployed and the unwashed, the failed and the desperate.

South of there, the old factories and warehouses loomed, nearly every one abandoned. Bricks were soot gray from smoke, smog, time. Window glass was in shards and sparkling on ground littered with garbage and straggling with weeds that struggled out of broken concrete.

"So basically, you were trying to rebuild this part of town?" Motoko asked after ordering Roarke to keep the car floating.

Roarke nodded, "I was going to open a new manufacturing arm of my industries here."

That was the last thing he said before they saw a series of flashes bloom in the broken windows of the building.

If the car wasn't soundproofed, Eve and Roarke would've definitely dealt with some ringing in their ears, due to the loud noises the explosion was giving. They saw bricks raining all over the ground and glasses raining down like it was sharper than snow.

"Um, Lieutenant, you didn't call the cavalry did you?" Batou asked as he noticed a group of first responders traveling at their direction.

Eve and Motoko looked to see NYPSD and the Fire Department traveling, at lightning speed, to the warehouse district.

"No, but I bet Feeney did."

"Get us out of here, Roarke," Motoko ordered.

"What we're not going to give a statement, Major?" Eve asked.

"Not now," Motoko said while Roarke began to drive away. "But your visit back to the NYPSD might be a lot quicker than expected."

"What do you mean?"

"Once they find out that your husband owns that building, they'll definitely want to question the both of you." Motoko replied.

"But they're going to do it on our terms," Batou added. "We technically still have jurisdiction on this matter, Lieutenant, and the NYPSD will probably want in on our case."

"But what if I don't want them in, Major?" Eve asked with a glare at Batou.

"Still a little sore at them, are you?" It wasn't a question that came out of Batou's mouth.

Eve let out a breath in frustration, "Not really sore, but I was hoping to keep them out of this after we solved this case."

"Well," Motoko sighed and turned to Roarke. "We might not have any other choice, but what I can do is have you in interview, Roarke, and give your background on the building and your plans with it."

"Well before we do any of that," Roarke began to turn the vehicle to the skyscraper that housed his headquarters. "I want to meet with Caro about what Cassandra said on my disc."

***

In Baxter and Peabody's rush to get to the explosion, they failed to notice that Eve Dallas and The Ghost Organization had already disappeared by the time they arrived to survey the damage. Sure enough there was virtually no building left except for the loose bricks, glass shards, the damage definitely looked like it would damage a vehicle beyond repair, if it were anywhere near that building.

Detective Baxter and Officer Peabody had already badged their way through the barricade and found Feeney talking with the Lieutenant from Explosives and Bombs Unit Anne Malloy and to Commander Whitney.

"What do we got?" Baxter asked.

"What we're about to get," Malloy was the first to reply. "Is my team resorting to using three shifts, it might take us up to thirty-six hours before we've swept the site. But my take is that, this wasn't the work of one explosive, might be either two or three bombs."

"And my guess is," Feeney gave Baxter a transcript of Cassandra's letter. "This building might have a connection with our Lieutenant Eve Dallas."

After reading the transcript, Baxter looked at Feeney and said, "Before you start chewing my head off, I got to ask this, do you think she had anything to do with the bombing of this building?"

"First off, fuck no," Feeney replied barely containing his temper. "Second, if we're going to suspect Lt. Dallas then why would they target her with this love letter?"

"Oh I don't know, perhaps she might still hold a grudge against us and maybe defected to this Cassandra group as a cover."

Before Feeney could really lose his temper, Whitney silenced both of them by putting his big hands on both their shoulders motioning them to move away from the first responders and E&B team working on the destruction. Peabody followed suit because if there was something going on about Eve Dallas, she insisted on hearing it first hand.

"Perhaps this is one of those times where we might need to break a code blue for you, Detective."

"Excuse me?" Baxter and Peabody asked in unison.

"There's something about the Lieutenant that both of you need to know about when we get back in my office, but until then that's all you're going to get. But in the meantime, I do not suspect our Lieutenant having any involvement in this, but she's definitely a connection."

On the way back to the vehicles, Whitney received a tablet from an officer, that detailed the owner of the building that was just blown up.

"Captain." He turned to Feeney.

"Yes, sir, what is it?"

"Looks like we're definitely going to need her, this building belonged to Roarke industries."

***

"So aside from that building that just blew up," Motoko said as the group got out of his car. "Did you own any of the other buildings in that area?"

"The two buildings on either side," Roarke replied. "And I have a bid on another in the area. They were to be rehabbed into markets, shops, cafes and some offices."

"You think that sector will support that kind of thing?" Eve asked.

"I don't think, Eve," Roarke stopped the private elevator in his parking garage and activated it with his thumbprint. "I believe it will."

She shook her head, thinking of the income level and street crime. "You'd know more about that sort of thing, I guess. The building was insured."

"Yes, for little more than the purchase price at this point. The project's worth a great deal more to me." Taking the neglected, the disdained and giving it value meant a very great deal to him. "The building was old, but it was sound. The problem with progress is that it often sweeps aside, destroying rather than respecting what others have built before us."

She knew of his affection for old things but wasn't sure there was a point here. She'd seen little more than a pile of bricks, and that was before it had been blown up.

His money, she thought with a shrug. His time.

"So what's with this name of Cassandra?"

"What I can tell you that it's not the work of a jealous lover."

"But they had to get the name from somewhere."

"Greek mythology is my guess," Roarke said as the elevator doors opened into the magnificent world of his office.

"Greek Mythology?" Eve asked as they got out of the elevator.

"In mythology, Cassandra could foretell the future, but no one believed her. She warned of death and destruction and was dismissed. Her predictions always came true."

Like clockwork, Roarke's loyal admin Caro had given him the version of Cassandra's disc made for him. Sure enough his version talked about the uprising of the masses to topple corrupt governments and overthrow the greedy upper class.

"Revolution? Killing an old man and blowing up an empty warehouse is a pretty petty way to revolt." But she wouldn't dismiss the possibility of political terrorists.

"Well here's my question," Batou began to say, "We know Ishikawa is working around the fail safe of Howard Bassi's computer, but why didn't they do it first?"

Eve and Motoko gave Batou a mutual scowl at his question before Motoko replied, "If they'd had anyone good enough to break into that fortress of his, they wouldn't have needed him in the first place."

"A very good point," Roarke agreed. "Major, I need to make a press release on the destruction of my property."

"Well if you do, I suggest you keep it minimal and we'll keep you updated on our investigation."

Roarke then turned to Eve and she noticed him looking like a big weight had been lifted from his shoulders, "What is it, Ace?"

And she could barely stop him before he kissed her softly right in front of Motoko and Batou, "There's no telling what would've happened had I not been there with you, away from that blast."

"Roarke," Eve whispered gently rubbed his trembling back. "I told you before, if you put your trust in the Major, we'll make it out alive."

"That's what I'm saying, Lieutenant," Roarke whispered back. "I had no idea how true those words were until we saw that building explode, I almost would have lost you in that building had it not been for Motoko."

"She wouldn't have been too close, Rich Boy," Batou put a gentle hand on his back. "The way that bomb was setup, even a rookie could've spotted trouble a mile away."

Roarke nodded at Batou, "Which is why I'm more than willing to really trust you guys to handle her without my further help."

"Don't worry, Roarke," Motoko began to say. "A big sister always has to look after the little one for safety."

Finally Eve gave Roarke her own kiss, full of love and devotion. "If you ever need me I'll be there, my love."

Motoko had to smile at Eve's twist of her sentence of affection to Roarke while they began to exit the building.

"I'll never stop needing you, Aghra, but I do know that the city needs you more," Roarke said behind Eve's back while she began to follow Motoko and Batou.

***

Meanwhile back at the NYPSD headquarters, Commander Whitney finished giving Detective Baxter and Officer Peabody all the details involving The Ghost Organization and Eve Dallas' involvement with them. Captain Ryan Feeney stood behind him on his left, Chief Henry Tibble on his right, giving all three a commanding presence as they stood with their backs to the skyscrapers.

"So let me get this straight," Baxter said after hearing Whitney's report. "Our Lieutenant had ties to this Ghost Organization and they were the ones who broke the case at the Drake Center?"

"They never did explicitly say it," Feeney replied first. "But we do have cause to believe that Dallas may have been an influence in having them bring the collar back to us."

"From what Captain Feeney, Detective McNab and Detective Webster gathered in their private investigations, The Ghost Organization used to be based out in Japan under Public Security Forces Section 9." Chief Tibble added. "In the aftermath of an incident involving a hacker and child abducter known as The Puppeteer, Section 9 had recieved an invite from the United Nations to break off from Japan and form into an independent global force. They changed their name to The Ghost Organization and since their inception have been run by the husband and wife cyborg team of Batou and Motoko Kusanagi."

Baxter and Peabody began to look at a screen detailing the facial images of The Major and Batou and having the sense of deja-vu, when they began to remember the two strange figures that showed up at Cop Central the month before.

Like a rookie, Peabody began to raise her hand up so she could speak.

"What is it, Officer?" Whitney asked.

"Well umm.." Peabody began to stammer, "Officially, Lieutenant Dallas was supposed to have been raised under foster care, but what is their connection with her?"

Peabody pointed a finger at the two individuals on screen and making Commander Whitney scowl at her question.

"We haven't been able to find that out yet, officer," he replied. "But I do imagine that you're thinking that we might punish her for going rouge and defecting."

"Yes sir," Peabody replied briskly, feeling her stomach tighten at that possibility.

"Technically," Chief Tibble began to say. "The Lieutenant was within her legal rights to announce her leave of absence from the NYPSD and she had her right to find other employment with other people while we had her on suspension. So we cannot do anything about that."

"However," Whitney made Peabody hold that sigh of relief she was about release. "Even though we have cleared her of any wrong doing involving the murder of Officer Ellen Bowers, it is a definite possibility that she has moved on from us and will very likely never return to her post. We had a 90 day furlough issued on her, in case she chooses to return. But if she doesn't return by the end of the month...I will resign."

"WHAT?!" Peabody and Baxter shouted that question in stereo.

"What do you mean you plan to resign?" Baxter asked.

"Because Captain Feeney was right," Whitney replied solemnly. "I had followed procedure right down to the most simple comma, and as a result, it's virtually cost us the best officer of the New York Police and Security Department. There had been a strong weight that fell on me when I asked for Lieutenant Dallas' badge and suspended her from duty, a weight that only multiplied when you gave me her resignation letter Baxter." He held up a hand to silence Baxter's protest. "You are not at fault for that weight, that blame is mine and mine alone. Therefore by the end of next month, if Lieutenant Eve Dallas does not return, I will resign."

Seeing the stunned look on Baxter and Peabody's faces, Commander Whitney issued an order. "Detective, I want you and Officer Peabody to work with Lieutenant Anne Malloy and figure out what you can on this group called Cassandra."

"And I imagine, this talk of The Ghost Organization is to only stay in this room?" Baxter asked.

"That is correct, Detective. Both of you are dismissed."

Baxter and Peabody gave Whitney a 'yes sir' and proceeded to exit the room.

Chapter Text

Standard Disclaimers Apply

"Nice play on my words, little one," Motoko said to Eve Dallas as they entered the elevator. "You've grown up quite a bit."

"Yeah," Eve agreed. "But you can only imagine the pains I've gotten from that growing up."

"Why are you having pains?" Batou asked.

"Because I still remember all the times I told you guys that I wasn't going to be married because a cop should not be in a committed relationship, but Roarke had changed all that for me."

Eve told them all about how two days before meeting Roarke, she had gotten a domestic disturbance call near her old residence and had arrived too late when she caught a little girl chopped up to pieces by her father, a father who had been in a drug rage. One look at the girl's father and Eve didn't hesitate to unleash a deadly stunner shot at him. Originally, Eve had to report to testing the day after that kill, but had gotten another call to a homicide...the murder of Sharon DeBlass. Roarke had originally been a suspect in that case, but the only way she had to talk with him was at the funeral for DeBlass.

Flashback

Eve hated funerals. She detested the rite human beings insisted on giving death. The flowers, the music, the endless words and weeping.

There might be a God. She hadn't completely ruled such things out. And if there were, she thought, It must have enjoyed a good laugh over Its creations' useless rituals and passages.

Still, she had made the trip to Virginia to attend Sharon DeBlass's funeral. She wanted to see the dead's family and friends gathered together, to observe, and analyze, and judge.

The senator stood grim-faced and dry-eyed, with her grandaughter's killer, Rockman, his shadow, one pew behind. Beside DeBlass was his son and daughter-in-law.

Sharon's parents were young, attractive, successful attorneys who headed their own law firm.

Richard DeBlass stood with his head bowed and his eyes hooded, a trimmer and somehow less dynamic version of his father. Was it coincidence, Eve wondered, or design that he stood at equal distance between his father and wife?

Elizabeth Barrister was sleek and chic in her dark suit, her waving mahogany hair glossy, her posture rigid. And, Eve, noted, her eyes red-rimmed and swimming with constant tears.

What did a mother feel, Eve wondered, as she had wondered all of her life, when she lost a child?

Senator DeBlass had a daughter as well, and she flanked his right side. Congresswoman Catherine DeBlass had followed in her father's political footsteps. Painfully thin, she stood militarily straight, her arms looking like brittle twigs in her black dress. Beside her, her husband Justin Summit stared at the glossy coffin draped with roses at the front of the church. At his side, their son Franklin, still trapped in the gangly stage of adolescence, shifted restlessly.

At the end of the pew, somehow separate from the rest of the family, was DeBlass's wife, Anna.

She neither shifted nor wept. Not once did Eve see her so much as glance at the flower-strewn box that held what was left of her only granddaughter.

There were others, of course. Elizabeth's parents stood together, hands linked, and cried openly. Cousins, acquaintances, and friends dabbed at their eyes or simply looked around in fascination or horror. The President had sent an envoy, and the church was packed with more politicians than the Senate lunchroom.

Though there were more than a hundred faces, Eve had no trouble picking Roarke out of the crowd. He was alone. There were others lined in the pew with him, but Eve recognized the solitary quality that surrounded him. There could have been ten thousand in the building, and he would have remained aloof from them.

His striking face gave away nothing: no guilt, no grief, no interest. He might have been watching a mildly inferior play. Eve could think of no better description for a funeral.

More than one head turned in his direction for a quick study or, in the case of a shapely brunette, a not so subtle flirtation. Roarke responded to both the same way: he ignored them.

At first study, she would have judged him as cold, an icy fortress of a man who guarded himself against any and all. But there must have been heat. It took more than discipline and intelligence to rise so high so young. It took ambition, and to Eve's mind, ambition was a flammable fuel.

He looked straight ahead as the dirge swelled, then without warning, he turned his head, looked five pews back across the aisle and directly into Eve's eyes.

It was surprise that had her fighting not to jolt at that sudden and unexpected punch of power. It was will that kept her from blinking or shifting her gaze. For one humming minute they stared at each other. Then there was movement, and mourners came between them as they left the church.

When Eve stepped into the aisle to search him out again, he was gone.

End Flashback

"It was like he had a sixth sense about me," Eve continued when the elevator stopped at the parking garage. "The moment he had looked at me, everything had changed."

"Perhaps you can tell me what did change," Motoko offered. "Might help get your feelings out."

"The first thing that changed was the coffee, I drank the first cup of his coffee and it felt orgasmic." Eve replied as they approached a vehicle sanctioned by the Ghost Organization. "But that was nothing compared to the first time we slept together, I've had sex before Roarke, some men were cops and the last date Mavis had set me up with was a dentist. But once Roarke kissed me and fucked me in his gunroom, it felt amazing but I still had conflicts with myself. Before him, I never had the feelings of love, the way I felt for the both of you."

"Did he break up with you when you didn't accept him?" Batou asked.

"I don't know if you'd call it a 'break-up', but one month after I continuosly slept with him he gave me this," Eve showed them the tear-shaped diamond Roarke gave her. "But I rejected it and things gotten so rough between us, to the point where I couldn't eat, sleep and even Roarke stopped giving me his coffee for a week. I finally gotten to the point where I stormed into his mansion that night to question him about another murder and wept right in front of him. I loved him and admitted that I seriously needed him and in turn he admitted that he needed me."

Motoko and Batou took an interest to the diamond necklace nicknamed "The Giant's Tear". The stone graced a twisted gold chain and glinted fire. Shaped like a tear, it was long and wide as the first joint of a man’s thumb. It was mined about a hundred and fifty years ago and came up for auction while Roarke was in Sydney. A gift that symbolized his love for her.

"Such a simple thing to give to a simple woman," Batou said of the diamond. "But it definitely fits you."

"I admit that it does," Eve agreed. "But I don't ever show it in public, because I don't want to get laughed at by my bull-pen."

"But I bet you have a deeper reason to why you don't show it in public," Motoko said as Eve put the diamond back in her shirt.

"Yes," Eve admitted with a breath. "I'm scared that somebody might either kidnap me or kill me and take it as a trophy."

"There's nothing wrong with having fear, Eve," Motoko assured her. "Sometimes fear can be used as a gift."

Eve nodded as she remembered what The Major said to her during their trainings, "Fear is nothing more than a warning to let you know when to watch your back."

"Exactly right, little one," Motoko ran a hand down her cheek. "Once you embrace the fear, it will become your friend."

Suddenly Ishikawa contacted the group via the Ghost-Link: Major, I got a hit on Bassi's computer.

Motoko: What do you got?

Ishikawa: Apparently he had been working with the people related to Cassandra around October of last year, from my gatherings on reading his journal entries, he had mostly been meeting with two men and a woman.

Eve: October? That was around the time when I was investigating the cult that had been murdering those high-school teenagers.

Ishikawa: For four months prior to this month, Bassi had been hired to make a total of five high-grade explosives with enough power to blow buildings up like that abandoned glass-factory.

Motoko: Was he able to list any specific properties they were targeting?

Ishikawa: Negative, Major, but apparently he was able to sneak in a tracker on the female leader's pocket a month before he died. Because of that, he was able to find out her name: Clarissa Branson.

 He began to transmit data to Motoko, Batou and Dallas on Clarissa Branson, her ID shot portrayed her as a Caucasian woman with skin as white as lilies and eyes as dark as midnight. Her wheat-colored hair was severely pulled back and knotted at the nape in smooth, snaking twists. Her birth-date was all but unknown with the only confirmed info being her birth year of 2013.

Ishikawa: She was originally the daughter of James Rowan, the alleged leader of Apollo.

Batou: The terrorist group behind the Pentagon bombing.

Ishikawa: And unfortunately no longer with us, they apparently found him splattered when his Boston headquarters exploded.

Motoko: Did Bassi ever find out what Clarissa was planning to target?

Ishikawa: Apparently they found out that they were bugged, because the last entry in his journal detailed his fears of another Arlington and was prepared to leave for Ratso's hideout. But right when I was about to tag you, Saito let me know that one of our fellow agents may have a lead on where the next bomb might be.

Motoko: Saito, what did you get?

Saito: One of our spies caught a courier walk into Radio City Music Hall with multiple unmarked packages.

Roarke: Wait you said Radio City Music Hall?

Batou: I'm afraid he did, Rich Boy.

Eve: Don't tell me, Ace, you own that building?

Roarke: Wait for me, I'm coming with you.

***

By now Roarke had rejoined The Ghost Organization en-route to Radio City Music Hall and had already gotten finished with notifying members of the NYPSD and other members of The Ghost Organization to help with evacuation. By then The Major, Batou, Roarke and Eve had dressed in full riot gear: anti-flak jacket, assault helmet and face visors. All of which would prove as useless as fresh, pink skin if they didn't have time.

It wasn't exactly the happy reunion Eve and Roarke were hoping for, when they found Peabody and Baxter, along with Feeney helping uniforms evacuate what turned out to be a full house ranging from: tourists, locals, preschoolers with parents or caretakers, classroom groups with teachers and chaperons. The noise level was huge, and the natives weren't just restless, they were pissed.

"Listen," was the first thing Eve said to Feeney. "I know it's an awkward time right now, but do you at least have a status on the building?"

"There had been multiple devices detected, Malloy had already located and neutralized two. Scan indicates six more. Teams already deployed. The stage has four elevators, every one of them can go down twenty-seven feet into the basement of this place. We got hot ones in all of them. Working as fast as we can here." Feeney replied before turning to Roarke. "Your manager wasn't thrilled about canceling the Rockette's show over a 'water main leak'."

"I'll deal with it after we get things dealt with over here," Roarke replied while he and Dallas smoothly entered the lobby, catching Peabody and Baxter guiding people out of the the entrance of the music hall.

It had been no easy task to move several thousand annoyed ticket holders out of a warm theater and into the cold. The main lobby area was jammed shoulder to shoulder.

And there were countless other rooms, lounges, lobbies. Beyond the public areas there were dressing rooms, control centers, offices. Each one had to be searched, emptied, secured.

Add panic to annoyance, Eve mused, and you'd have several hundred casualties before they hit the doors. She saw Peabody on an Art Decor table looking down on the grumbling horde being pushed along through the grandiose lobby with its stylized glass and chrome.

"This is the NYPSD," Peabody announced over the echoing din. "Your cooperation is appreciated. Please don't block the exits. Continue to move outside."

And it didn't surprise Eve to see the glare that Peabody gave her. A glare that belonged to a friend who felt like he had been abandoned.

"What the hell are both of you doing here?"

"In case you hadn't noticed," Roarke answered before Eve could speak, "this building is mine."

He then made a cool swipe of Peabody's headset.

"That's police property, sir."

"And an inferior product if I may say so, but it should do the job."

Then, looking cool and sleek, he addressed the disorderly crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, the staff and performers of Radio City apologize for this difficulty. All tickets and transportation costs incurred will be fully refunded. An alternate date will be set for today's matinee at no charge to any ticket holders who wish to attend. We appreciate your understanding and we request that everybody move in a quick and orderly fashion."

The noise level didn't abate, but the tone of it altered dramatically. Roarke could have told Peabody that money, unfailingly, talks.

"Trying to be slick on us?" Peabody asked sarcastically and swung down behind the table.

"You needed them out," he said simply. "What's your status?"

"Why should I give a police status to two regular citizens?" Peabody shot back.

"First off, Officer," Eve shot at Peabody with her own badge. "You're talking with a member of The Ghost Organization. Second, we have jurisdiction over this case. So unless you want us to take complete control of this scene, you'll pull that stick out of your ass and let us diffuse the bomb."

"I may have a stick up my ass," Peabody admitted, "but I'm not the one who became a turncoat and abandoned the people who were trying to save her job."

"Would you have rather seen me be a turncoat, or mourn for me at my funeral over my self-termination?!?" Eve shouted back.

"Lieutenant!" The Major hollered over the two. "Stop the arguing and help Roarke with disabling the bomb on the catwalk."

 Eve failed to notice that Roarke was already slipping quickly through the oncoming crowd. She initially thought about stopping him when her mind began to realize that one of the bombs was on a catwalk, but kept following Roarke out of marital pride. If Roarke were to fail, Eve would rather join him than live life alone.

 ***

Motoko and Batou were still outside the music hall helping uniforms and Feeney escort the citizens outside to safety as they had no need to dismantle anymore explosives, thanks to the NYPSD Bomb Squad. But that was before Batou began to notice a cloaked figured in thermoptic camouflage running towards an oversized van marked "Branson Tools and Toys", the side door was open when Batou saw the figure get in.

 Batou: Ishikawa, was Clarissa Branson linked to a company called Branson Tools and Toys?"

 Ishikawa: Her husband, B. Donald Branson, became majority owner after the death of his brother a couple days ago.

 Motoko was too busy with evacuating the civilians to notice what Batou noticed.

"What did you see, Batou?"

 When Batou relayed to The Major about the thermoptic figure getting into the van, Motoko ordered Feeney to get some uniforms to finish evacuating the last of the civilians exiting Radio City Music Hall and didn't hesitate to follow her husband to their own vehicle to pursue the Branson Tools and Toys van.

 

***

 Even though the Branson van had been going at high speeds, it didn't take Motoko and Batou long to track down the van in their hot pursuit. Most vehicles had been smart enough to avoid the high speed chase between the two vehicles, but the Branson van definitely didn't give a shit who they ran over as long as they were able to avoid Motoko and Batou.

 "For a terrorist group using a toy company as cover, they sure are acting like a bunch of amateurs," Batou said as Motoko was driving as maniacally as the van in front of them began going into flight mode.

 "Amateur's maybe," Motoko agreed. "But I don't think they counted on us intercepting their target this quick. Why else would they not know about Eve Dallas not being a part of the NYPSD?"

 "When you get right down to it, it is kind of strange. Why would they send those messages to her old place instead of The Ghost Organization?"

 Before Motoko began to hypothesize an answer, the van they had been pursuing had made a sudden landing at an alleyway outside of Chinatown in Canal Street. They found it curious that this van decided to land at a spot near a public phone/computer that hadn't had a lot of use in recent years since the Urban's, but was surprisingly still functional.

 But they failed to be quick enough when two figures in body-armor had exited at both sides of the vehicle, banned heavy machine guns in their possession, aiming directly at their landing van. If there was anything Motoko and Batou learned, it was to never take a machine gun to chance against their own armored vans. High velocity bullets taught them that lesson.

 They were quick enough to exit their van before bullets started flying at them, making them fortunate to narrowly escape an exploding van.

 "Shit," Batou cursed as both he and his wife landed feet first on the hard concrete. "Well when it comes to terrorism, they're definitely not afraid to break every law in the book."

 "Especially when it comes to them using High Velocity Bullets," Motoko agreed as the shooters began to make their escape. "Keep on their tails, I'll come around from the top."

 "You got it," Batou said as the couple began to split up in their pursuit.

Knowing his wife making her efficient climb to the top of one of the medium-sized buildings in New York City, Batou didn't hesitate with worry as he began to follow the two gunmen making their way through the crowded streets of China Town in Canal, where Batou guessed they would be safe hiding in.

 They never did count on the fact that Batou had his trademark set of lenses that replaced regular human eye-balls. That same pair of lenses that could help with his targeting and his ability to see thermoptic camouflage. A feature he'd definitely been putting to use as he stood silently amongst the crowd of tourists and shoppers navigating what to buy from whoever merchant they wanted to trust.

 People who had passed him by, looked at him strangely when they began to notice his eyes, wondering if they were monocles or special glasses without the ear hooks. Batou was used to that at this point in his life, because at least they were kind enough to not be assholes to him and in turn, he never gave out a threatening presence unless he needed to. It definitely gave him the opportunity to look for the two gunmen who shot at him and The Major's van without any conflict.

 Suddenly in the middle of his search, he heard some people screaming things like 'hey!' or 'excuse you!', which prompted him to turn and look the other direction to see two invisible figures walk through the crowd in a huff.

 "POLICE, EVERYBODY GET DOWN!" Batou yelled as he picked up his gun to point at the invisible figures.

 Immediately it sent everybody in Chinatown through a whirlwind of panic as Batou began to see the cloaked figures started to run away from Batou's scream, pushing people out of their way as Batou cursed and began to give chase.

 Try as the crowd might to get out of Batou's way, a combination of people holding groceries or other stuff and people being slow, he had no other choice but to forcefully push people out of his way just to prevent casualties. The civilians might have bruises in the morning, but they would definitely be alive the day after that.

 The cloaked figures literally ran through a droid horse and carriage that carried some watermelons as Batou began to take his first shots at the cloaked figures and somehow managed to miss both the targets by a narrow margin as they ran through a wooden fence that lead to the Hudson River and accidentally throwing a local fisherman off his boat.

 Batou: Major, I lost site of the two gunmen.

 Major: I got both of them in my sites, Batou, start sending in for backup.

 The two cloaked figures barely jumped their way to two more boats to find a steeper version of the Hudson River when Motoko was able to give her own gunshots via her machine gun. She intentionally missed her shots because she wanted them taken alive, but that didn't stop one of the figures from firing back at Motoko, who effortlessly ducked away from the crossfire.

 Little did the cloaked figures know that it would soon be a one on one match against Motoko and her thermoptic camouflage, because midway through them running away from the Ghosts, one of the cloaked figures split off from his partner to attempt a sneak attack against Batou. But what the cloaked figures didn't know was that one of the gunshots Batou fired had mini tracers in the bullets, they wouldn't be hurt or killed, but they would be traced and not even know it until it was too late.

 So while Batou was busy apprehending the second cloaked figure, the partner removed his cloak and came out a man of dreamy green eyes, a thin bony face and brown hair worn in a smooth tail. If one were to really look into the life of this guy, they would know that he was a good artist at building things ranging from furniture and cabinets and he could work on cars. But to top it all off, he was the little brother of an NYPSD cop.

 Right now he was fleeing for his life because he was beginning to realize that him taking payouts from the group behind Cassandra was biting him in the ass and it wasn't even his first day on the job. Throughout his running through the run-down buildings that had never recovered from the Urban Wars, he couldn't help but take in the beauty of a commercial rocket taking off for an off-planet destination and how it contrasted from the section of a war-zone that never improved and finally he reached the end of the run down buildings and let out a breath of relief as he took in the city improvements of New York City in 2059. And out of nowhere, he heard a noise from the back of his head, or so he thought as he used the last of his high-velocity bullets to shoot at water.

 "Aww, out of ammo?" he heard a female voice behind where he emptied his bullets.

 He then felt a thunderous punch on his face, leading him to take a twisted fall on the wet ground. Proving he wasn't going to go down without a fight, he took a pocket knife out to fight at what attacked him. Failing to realize that thermoptic camouflage built into a cyborg body, was the equivalent of seeing a tree with a human, without the human.

 Suddenly he felt his arm twisting the knife out of his arm, then his body was being thrown around in a wrestling move, his leg was quickly twisted after he landed on his back. The one sided fight finally ended when Motoko finally lowered her thermoptic camouflage to deliver the final blows to her victim, leading him to take his final fall on the wet ground, he felt a foot clamp down on his chest as a way for him to stay down.

 Finally Motoko revealed her body to the offending individual as Batou caught up to the two, with his own criminal in cuffs.

 "Got him, huh?" he asked as he inspected the figures gun. "Well the breach and barrel is busted, when are you guys ever going to learn that HV ammo and sub-machine pistols don't mix?"

 "We're willing to talk, just please don't shoot us!" the man on Motoko's foot began to say in a near plead.

 "Talk?" Batou asked condescendingly to the guy at Motoko's boot. "You bet your ass the both of you are going to talk, especially since your going to explain to us why you were planning to kill you sister, Zeke Peabody."

 "What are you talking about?" Zeke asked in pain.

 "Did you not realize that your sister and hundreds of other people could've died in that theater if that bomb went off? Did you not even realize that children were also in that theater to catch a rock band? Have you forgotten what it's like to have compassion?"

 Because Motoko was naked during her fight, Batou lent her his coat out of courteous habit, all while managing to keep his hands on his own criminal.

 

"Tell you one thing, Eve is going to be in a world of surprise when she finds out we have to start talking to a criminal relative of a cop."

Chapter Text

 

 

A/N: So here we are, the chapter before the final one. It's been one of my most interesting projects I've ever worked on in recent memory, probably my most interesting since The Law Offices of Fey and Wright. I obviously don't have a lot of people reading this thing yet, but I am doing my best to spread this story around via word of mouth. But I do want to extend a thanks to everyone who has taken time to read it and even though you haven't voiced your formal opinion, the fact that you're just looking at it, is good enough for me. I got one more chapter to crank out and then I'm going to take a hiatus before I work on a sequel already brewing in my head.

Standard Disclaimers Apply

Chapter 12

It shouldn't have surprised Whitney to find out that Lieutenant Dallas and Roarke left the Radio City Theater after dismantling the last bomb, both of them leaving via a limo owned by Roarke without much glance at her NYPSD comrades, but it was surprising that the Ghost Organization were claiming jurisdiction over the Cassandra case. It weighed on his mind so heavily to the point where he requested and received an immediate appointment with Dr. Charlotte Mira, the most trusted shrink in the NYPSD, and to top it off, one of Eve's closest confidant's.

Sometimes by prying, Mira had managed to get Eve Dallas to release some memories of her past, especially the memory of killing her father for breaking her arm and raping her. It almost cost her job and her fiancee at the time, but Roarke didn't allow it, nor did Commander Whitney. In his mind, that killing was one-hundred percent justified and didn't warrant an investigation. But the investigation behind the murder of Officer Ellen Bowers did need an investigation and seeing as how he nor Chief Harrison Tibble had any other choice, they had to suspend their best officer because of how their final confrontation almost escalated to violence and even though Eve would've never escalated to murder, she had to be looked at. But he definitely forgot that sometimes things come at a terrible price, and that price was Eve Dallas giving Whitney that letter of resignation shortly after he issued the suspension.

He tucked that away to let Mira's admin know that he had arrived. In turn, the admin let him know that the doctor was ready to see him now. He immediately went in and gave Mira a curt nod and handshake before both of them took their seats on the plush scoop chairs that complimented the soft environment that Dr. Mira tried to display in her office.

"I appreciate you seeing me on such short notice, Doctor." Whitney said as he accepted one of Mira's teas in a fine china cup.

"Of course, Jack," Mira replied as she sat down with her tea. "I imagine this visit is related to Eve."

Whitney knew it wasn't a question, but more a confirmation. "First off, I want to apologize for not coming to you sooner, even though you did tell me that your door was always open."

"You needed to work out your feelings about Eve resigning, I understand that perfectly."

"Yeah but lately, the feelings of guilt have been getting more heavier and heavier with each passing week, especially with the knowledge that Eve's 90 day furlough is supposed to be ending next month."

"Would you mind describing your guilt for me, Jack?"

"You and I both know that Eve has more than proven herself as one of our best officers, someone who has risen to the ranks at a fairly quick pace, to the point to where she has the potential to become a captain. But I didn't count on how fragile her emotions were when I had to do what I did."

"But that isn't the only problem is it, Jack?" Mira asked.

Jack nodded, "Even though it's been subtle, I had been receiving nothing but contempt and coldness from her squad, they had mostly been giving me paper reports to my admin, they don't acknowledge me when I pass by for a visit and to top it all off, I've been hearing rumors of a petition going around to have me removed from my post. But to top it all off, I had to reprimand her aide, Delia Peabody for breaking a Code Blue protocol when she angrily confronted Dallas at the Radio City Music Hall, and she had shot back that if I hadn't issued Dallas' suspension in the first place, none of this would've happened."

"Do you agree with Peabody on that argument?" Mira asked.

"On one hand, I do. But the other hand is what's making all of this so conflicting."

"Well if I can give you my opinion, Jack," Mira said after taking a thoughtful sip of tea. "You were in the right to make that call last month, even though you and I didn't agree with it. Procedure is what keeps law and order, but it's not always equitable. For her to resign, I think it's because you really didn't give her much of a choice. She gave her full 100% on a case that had left many homeless individuals dead, and despite a lot of red tape that had been involved in that case, she kept working because of loyalty. When you suspended her, it felt like you were turning your back on her, even though it wasn't your intention."

"But what's gotten me curious, is her ties to this Ghost Organization."

"I may have a theory on that." Mira said after another sip of tea. "I think her ties may have happened by accident."

"By accident?" Whitney asked.

"It is likely that The Ghost Organization ran into Eve Dallas when they were in pursuit of another criminal that had been causing problems in Texas and they may have found Eve Dallas after she killed her father. Officially they listed her as an orphan raised in Foster Care, but I think that cover story was used for safety concerns. When you had her suspended, it is likely she went back to them, because they could help her without question or objection."

"But why couldn't she have left them after we cleared her of any wrongdoing?"

"My theory is, they were probably asking her for a favor."

And suddenly it hit Whitney, "And that favor was Cassandra?"

"That I do not know," Mira admitted. "But I do believe you are likely correct."

Suddenly a beep from Whitney's communicator signaled.

"Commander," came the voice of his own admin. "Major Motoko Kusanagi is here to see you."

"I'm on my way, tell her she can come in and have a seat."

Almost immediately, Whitney got up out of the scoop chair and offered Mira a handshake. "I do appreciate your time, doctor."

"No problem, Jack," Mira said while accepting the hand. "I do humbly request that you keep me posted on the meeting."

Jack just simply nodded and made his exit from Mira's office to his own office.

***

In contrast to Eve Dallas' office, Whitney's office was a bit more wider and roomier, his desk sat in front of a wide window displaying the nightlife of New York City in all it's glory. To Motoko Kusanagi, it was amazing how she was able to find similarities with her office, Whitney's office and Eve's office. Her office with The Ghost Organization was more similar to her late boss, Daisuke Aramaki. He didn't allow his office to be flashy like Whitney's, but he did make it roomy enough to fit her, Batou, Togusa, Ishikawa and everyone in The Ghost Organization in his office for briefings. That was a different time, when they were still calling themselves Section 9. But since Aramaki's passing and Togusa's retirement, it had been Motoko's job to take over for The Ghost Organization and run it as her own, the way Aramaki wanted it.

In the middle of her deep thoughts, while looking out Whitney's window, she caught a glimpse of his reflection in the window and immediately turned around in attention.

"Commander Whitney," Motoko greeted regally. "I appreciate you meeting with me on such short notice."

"I imagine that there's a reason for this visit, Major." Whitney replied as Motoko took a seat in one of the comfy chairs while he took a seat on his chair.

"First off, I owe you some apologies for the grief I may have had a part in causing on you and to your organization," Motoko said sincerely. "I could only imagine the pain you must have felt when I had Eve give out that resignation letter."

"So it's true then," Whitney confirmed. "You definitely had a role in making her resign."

Motoko nodded, "Like I told Ryan Feeney, a little girl was crying for help, she didn't have anyone to turn to except for me. You didn't see the pain I saw when I held her in my arms when she was a child."

Motoko began to tell an abbreviated version of her encounter with the 8-year old Eve Dallas, picking her up in that alleyway, taking her to that hospital and finally giving Eve Dallas her name and training her for ten years. "Ever since then, one of the things I've always told her is 'If you ever need my help, I'll be there, little one.' and that incident last month was an example of her needing my help."

"Well one thing I will admit," Whitney began to reply. "She was definitely trained by the best. You and Section 9 definitely had a great track record when it came to enforcing the law in Japan."

Motoko nodded in agreement, "I was thinking about that earlier, before you came in, I was thinking of my former Commanding Officer, Daisuke Aramaki."

"From what I've heard, that guy was definitely a renegade," Whitney agreed. "But I imagine, you have another reason for your visit today."

"We may have an opening involving the Cassandra group," Motoko handed him a disc. "Two of the guys we apprehended earlier today have confessed to setting up the bomb and were very close to detonating it."

After Whitney accepted her disc, his screen began to display the two individuals that Motoko and Batou caught the previous day and immediately he began to notice that one of the figures began to look familiar to him.

"The one with the green eyes and bony face," Motoko continued, "His name is Zeke Peabody, the little brother of Officer Delia Peabody." She then talked about Zeke's financial reasons to why he was working for Cassandra.

"You confirmed it yourself?" Whitney asked.

Motoko nodded, "In exchange for immunity from prosecution, he gave details on what buildings Cassandra was planning to target."

Whitney began to read off the list of building names that were on the disc: Statue of Liberty, The One World Trade Center, Madison Square Garden and the next immediate target was going to be at the Tea Room in the Plaza Hotel.

"We have authorization for the shutdowns of all the buildings that are being targeted and the bombs are being dismantled as we speak."

"Then why exactly are you here?"

"We're offering you a chance to arrest the ring leaders behind Cassandra: B. Donald Branson and Clarissa Branson."

"Of Branson Tools and Toys?"

"Both of them were children of individuals linked to the Urban Wars Terrorist group, Apollo." Motoko nodded.

"Why are you offering us the collar to arrest Cassandra? It is your case after all."

"How much do you want Eve Dallas to come back and resume her duties as Lieutenant?" Motoko shot back.

"Wait what?" Whitney asked in surprise.

"I think the time is right for her to return to where she belongs," Motoko said evenly. "This is a case that belongs to the New York Police and Security Department. And this is a case that Lieutenant Dallas should close as a member of the NYPSD and not The Ghost Organization."

"What if we say yes?"

"The only two things we require, is for you and the department to issue a formal apology to Lieutenant Dallas and reinstate her rank and benefits."

The Major then leaned forward to put herself face to face with Commander Whitney and spoke in a low whisper, "Second, I want you to give me your word, that you will not put her in a position to where she has to call me again. I don't want to see her suffer like that ever again."

Instead of saying anything, Whitney reached for an envelope in the right drawer of his desk, next to Eve's weapon and badge.

"Tell her the door's open," was all he said as he gave the envelope to the Major.

Nothing more was needed to be said as Motoko accepted the envelope and made her leave from his office.

***

Eve had been on top of Roarke's personal office staring down at the city, in the warm room of a cold winter night. Billboards flashed and jittered around her as she stared at her city. Buy this and be happy. See that and be thrilled. Come here and be amazed. New York wasn't about to stop its dance.

She could still see the steam spill out of the glide grills, belched out of street vents, pumped out of the maxibus that creaked to a halt to pick up a scatter of drones who'd worked the graveyard shift.

A few obviously desperate street LCs strutted their stuff and called out to the drones.

"I'll give you a ride, buddy. Twenty, cash or credit'll buy you a hell of a ride." She was probably hearing them say.

The drones shuffled on the bus, too tired for cheap sex.

Eve watched a drunk stumble along the sidewalk, swinging his bottle of brew like a baton. And a huddle of teenagers pooling money for soy dogs. The lower the temperatures fell, the higher the price.

Free enterprise.

After Roarke had disabled the bomb, he had Eve dropped off at The Ghost Organization's private headquarters to help with the interrogation of the two would-be bombers. It didn't take much convincing for Zeke Peabody to talk, he was instantly cooperative in telling them what Cassandra was planning to target and where they could find the bombs. In exchange, The Ghost Organization had given them full immunity from prosecution if they testified in court.

She then volunteered to write the reports and file them, no additional words were needed when she packed up her and Roarke's suitcases and returned her Ghost Organization badge and weapon to Motoko's desk, knowing full well that she had already been at the NYPSD to talk with Whitney.

If there was one thing Eve would miss with The Ghost Organization, the pay grade was definitely higher than what she normally made at the NYPSD. To the point where she was able to buy a bouquet of roses for Roarke on her walk to his office with ease. He had been busy with catching up on his businesses, it didn't surprise her to know from Caro that he had been finishing up his final meeting for the evening. It didn't stop her from fighting tears when she walked into his swank office to find an extra large steaming pizza on the glass table with two leather couches on either side.

The man was definitely hers, she thought.

Like a sixth sense, Eve instinctively turned her head around to see Roarke walk in.

"I guess you figured out that I haven't eaten yet." Eve said as.

"You and me both, it would've been rude of me to watch you eat, when I would've already done so."

He began to notice that Eve was deliberately hiding something behind her back. Normally she wasn't one to give out a surprise, but he immediately figured that there may have been a reason for the surprise.

"I owe you an apology," Eve began to say.

"Oh?"

"It's regarding what I told Officer Peabody at Radio City Music Hall earlier that afternoon."

Roarke knew she was referring to her threat of self-termination, "You know I would've stopped you." He said as he crossed to her, to touch a simple hand to her cheek. "Though I will admit, that what you said was a pretty low blow."

"It was a low blow," Eve agreed. "That's why I had to pick up something on the way to see you."

She proceeded to display the bouquet of beautiful naturally grown red roses, she bought just for him.

It was so rare to see Roarke taken by surprise, she nearly laughed. His gaze met hers and she thought-hoped-it might have been baffled pleasure she saw there before he looked down at the gift again. "You brought me flowers?"

"I think it's traditional. I say something hurtful, I buy flowers and hopefully we make up."

"Darling Eve." He accepted the bouquet and placed them in one of the empty vases he had in his office. He marveled at how deep the red petals were, it almost looked like the color of blood. "You fascinate me."

"Pretty, huh?"

"Yes." This time his hand cupped her cheek, skimmed into her hair. "Very delightful, I might add."

This time some tears gently spilled out of Eve's eyes, "What you heard me say to Peabody that afternoon, it was out of anger, because I wasn't training my aide to have that deep a stick up her ass. Also, if I had been suspended and not been married to you, I wouldn't have made it. I don't think even The Major would've been there to help me either."

"She would've stopped you as well," Roarke said while running a thumb over her tear-stained cheeks. "You got too many people who care for you too much to die prematurely."

"I know that Roarke," Eve admitted. "I came to that realization when I dreamed about Motoko saving me in Dallas. She may have been a cyborg, but she showed enough affection to let me know that not everyone was bad and that people were willing to care for you, if you let them."

She took a deep look into the deep blue of his eyes, saw the look of love and concern that he had for only her. "But looking at you dismantle that bomb earlier today, it makes me realize, as I walk to buy those roses, this is who I am now, who we are now. And then, sometimes, I just look at you and stumble. And I can't get my breath because all these feelings just rear up and grab me by the throat. I don't know what to do about it, how to handle it. I think, 'I'm married to him. I've been married to him for almost six months, and there are times he walks into the room and stops my heart."'

She let out a shuddering breath. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me. In my life, you're what matters most. I love you so much it scares me, and I guess if I had a choice about it, I wouldn't change it. So... now you can get pissed off, because I'm done."

"A fat lot of room you've given me for that." He watched her lips twitch into a smile as he went to her. His hands slipped over her shoulders, down her back. "I've no choice either, Eve. I wouldn't want one."

"We're not going to fight."

"I don't think so."

She kept her eyes on his as she lifted herself up to kiss him. "As much as I want you to fuck me, I'd hate to have that pizza go to waste."

Roarke let out a low chuckle, "Eat first, then we have sex later."

***

"Hope you got room for extra," Motoko announced from the entrance of Roarke's office with Batou behind her.

"Come on in we got plenty, Major," Eve replied as she waved the pair in.

"Are you sure you can eat as cyborgs?" Roarke asked out of genuine concern as the cyborgs began to take their seats.

"Don't worry about us, Rich Boy," Batou replied. "Cybernetic Enhancements have allowed us to enjoy the same things you can as humans: Sleeping, Eating and Drinking."

Eve then took out some additional wine goblets for Motoko and Batou. She and Roarke were in the middle of enjoying their second slices of pizza when her mentors walked into the office.

"You think we're going to let you walk away without saying goodbye?" Batou asked Eve as he grabbed a slice.

"I wasn't going to make it a goodbye," Eve replied after finishing a bite of hers. "I was going to make room for us to keep in contact with each other in the future."

"I have no doubt you will, Lieutenant," Motoko said as she drank some wine. "Once a member of Ghost, always a member of Ghost. But I know your heart is set on being part of the NYPSD."

Eve nodded in agreement, "After the events of this month, I owe you a debt I can never be able to repay."

Before Eve could finish, Motoko held up a hand to stop her. "There's nothing that needs to be paid, Little One. I was fulfilling a promise I made to you when you were a child, you did not hesitate to call me when you were at your lowest and I was waiting for you with open arms."

Stunned speechless at Motoko's sincere words, Eve could only shed some tears as she took a sip of wine and allowed Roarke to wrap his arms around her and kiss her forehead in understanding.

"Well if you think that made you cry," Batou began to say, "Then you're really going to enjoy what we're about to give you."

Before Eve could ask, Motoko handed her a white envelope from her white suit jacket. When Eve accepted the letter, she immediately began to notice her first name in cursive handwriting, a very near-dead tool in the world of human advancement.

Nothing could prepare her emotions, when she began to read the contents:

To: Lieutenant Eve Dallas,

I write on behalf of the entire New York Police and Security Department to apologize for the false accusations and subsequent defamation and emotional distress we have caused on your character. It was unwarranted and completely our fault. We only ask for your forgiveness for the damages that were caused to your good name, even though we deserve every ounce of your contempt for us.

I won't go into complete details about your suspension from the NYPSD, because we feel no need to rehash any details and we wish to take into consideration any animosity that you might hold against us. But procedure was required to be followed, no matter who the officer is, you know that just as well as I do. But your resignation in that matter was a display of poor behavior on our part, but I hope that you can understand what we were dealing with at the time.

Now here's where a piece of the truth comes out, we couldn't bear to accept a resignation letter from one of our best officers who had obviously been in heavy distress, even when she defected to The Ghost Organization for reasons we don't know. So as a result, we agreed to issue you a 90-day leave of absence in case you wanted a clean return to the New York Police and Security Department. But if you choose not to return to your post as Lieutenant, then it is obvious I have failed as your commanding officer and I'm prepared to resign myself because what good is a commanding officer who doesn't have the support of their subordinates.

In the end, if you choose to stay with The Ghost Organization, then we will respect your wishes and wish you well on your endeavors. We know that you will be a great officer for them as you were for us.

Sincerely,

Commander Jack Whitney.

Roarke didn't need to read his wife's mind as she began to weep on his shoulder. He read that letter along with Eve and felt a weight lift off his own personal shoulders. In the midst of Eve breaking down emotionally, Roarke began to do some thinking on the events of the past two months. If she hadn't remembered the truth of what happened in Dallas, things definitely would've been different. Not just in the matter of the Cassandra incident but also the Drake Center where this whole debacle had started.

One week before this happened, Roarke had a dream involving him and Eve in a world where Motoko Kusanagi and The Ghost Organization didn't exist. Eve had been near freezing to death at the snowy courtyard, no heavy clothes on, just a loose t-shirt and jeans. Summerset had been there to pull her out of the snow and could tell she was at her lowest when she began to apologize to Summerset, a feat that even left the butler speechless. Roarke had reached his pissed off point with Eve when he ordered her to use the shower to warm her body up.

When she got done with the shower, Roarke made her two offers.

Dream Sequence

He ordered up brandy for both of them, swirled his without interest as he waited for her.

When she came out, wrapped in a robe, he was ready.

"Perhaps it's time we talk about your options."

"Options?"

"What you'll do." He picked up the second snifter, put it in her hand, then sat comfortably. "With your training and experience, private security is likely the best avenue. I have a number of organizations where your talents would come in very handy."

"Private security? Working for you?"

He lifted a brow. "I can promise you, your income will be more substantial than it was, and you'll be kept very busy." He sat back, draped his arm over the back of the sofa, and appeared blissfully relaxed. "That particular option would free up your time, allow you to travel more freely. You'd be expected to accompany me on a number of business trips, so it would have a number of benefits to both of us."

"I'm not looking for a damn job, Roarke."

"No? Well, my mistake. If you've decided to retire then, we can explore other options."

"Options, for God's sake. I can't think about this."

"We could consider making a child."

The snifter jerked in her hand, brandy sloshing over the rim as she spun around. "What?"

"That got your attention," he murmured. "I imagined we'd start our family a bit farther down the road, but under the current circumstances, we could easily push it up."

She wondered why her head didn't explode. "Are you crazy? A baby? Do you mean a baby?"

"That's the conventional way to start a family."

"I can't-I don't-" She managed to catch her breath. "I don't know anything about babies, kids."

"You have a great deal of leisure time just now. You can learn. Retiring makes you a perfect candidate for professional motherhood."

"Professional-Jesus." She was certain she felt all the blood the hot water had stirred back to life in her body drain away again. "You've got to be joking."

"Not entirely." He rose, faced her. "I want a family. It doesn't have to be now, it doesn't have to be a year from now, but I want children with you. I also want my wife back."

"Private security, families." Her eyes filled and stung again. "Just how much do you want to dump on me when I'm down?"

"I expected better of you," he said coolly and had the tears drying up.

"Better? Better of me?"

"A great deal better. What have you done the last thirty-odd hours, Eve, but cry and hide and feel sorry for yourself? Where do you expect that to get you?"

"I expected you to understand." Her voice broke and nearly undid him. "To give me some support."

"To understand you crawling away, to support your self-pity." He sipped brandy again. "No, I don't think so. It gets tiring, watching you wallow in it."

It stole her breath away, the light disgust in his voice, the disinterest in his eyes. "Just leave me alone then!" She shouted it, tossed the brandy aside so that the glass bounced and rolled as the liquor soaked the carpet. "You don't know how I feel."

"No." Finally, he thought, finally here was her fury. "Why don't you tell me?"

"I'm a goddamn cop. I can't be anything else. I busted my ass at the academy because it was the answer. It was the only way I knew to make something of myself. To finally be something that wasn't another number, another name, another victim the system sucked up and struggled with. I did it," she said furiously. "I made me so that nothing, nothing that happened before had to matter."

She whirled away. There were tears again, but these were hot and potent and full of rage. "What I didn't remember, what I did, none of it could change where I was going. Being a cop, being in control, using the system that had, by God, used me all my fucking life. From the inside, with a badge, I could believe in it again. I could make it work. I could stand for something."

"Why have you stopped?"

"They stopped me!" She spun back, her hands fisted. "Eleven years, the years that matter, when I trained and I learned and I worked to make a difference somewhere. The bodies stacked up in my mind, the blood I've waded through, and the waste. I see it in my sleep, every face of the dead. But it didn't stop me, never would have stopped me, because it matters too much. Because I can look at them and know what I have to do. And I can live with everything that happened to me, even the things I don't remember."

He nodded coolly. "Then fight back, and get what you need."

"I've got nothing. Goddamn it, Roarke, can't you see? When they took my badge, they took everything I am."

"No, Eve. They didn't take what you are unless you let them. They only took your symbols. If you need them," he continued, stepping to her, "pull yourself together, stop whining, and get them back."

She jerked away from him. "Thanks for the support." Her voice cracked like ice under a pick as she turned and walked out of the room.

End of dream sequence

Had that dream been a reality, who knows what would've happened in the fallout. Maybe Eve would've beaten up a droid, or she would've packed her clothes and went to either Nadine's or Mavis' and stayed there for either a night or permanently. The latter thought disturbed him greatly because it would've wrecked him to the core.

So to feel his relief at Eve reading that letter with the company of Motoko and Batou present, Roarke kissed his wife ever so gently as she began to calm down. He knew she was being offered a chance to start over again with the NYPSD and had no doubt in his mind that she would take it. Motoko and Batou had sat through the entire moment, silently holding their hands and admiring the young love between their two counterparts.

"I got a question, Major." Eve began to ask as she regained her composure.

"What is it, Lieutenant?" Motoko asked.

"If I rejoined the NYPSD, do we still have joint jurisdiction over this case?"

Motoko nodded before asking, "What did you have in mind, Lieutenant?"

"There's not a doubt in my mind that if we were to unleash the NYPSD Swat Teams on B. Donald Branson and Clarissa Branson, they'll find a way to wiggle themselves out of jail before they can even be arraigned in court."

"I agree," was all Motoko said knowing Eve was reluctant to say what was next on her mind.

"I know it's out of character for me to even think this...but I want you to kill both of them when we invade their residence tomorrow night."

Before Motoko could give her answer to Eve's favor, Batou began to speak.

"You are right about one thing, if you manage to catch those two bastards, all you can do about it is put them in a cage. But don't forget, we're The Ghost Organization, if anyone can get their hands dirty it's us."

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

Standard Disclaimers Apply

In the events after Lieutenant Dallas received her apology letter from Commander Whitney, she and Roarke had spent the past evening making a much needed return back to their home, where a cat waited for them with open arms. Immediately, Eve began to notice that Summerset wasn’t waiting for them along with the cat.

“Did he give up on us and decide to retire?” Eve asked.

“No,” was Roarke’s simple reply. “It was time for one of his annual getaways from the job.”

That got Eve confused, “You mean to tell me he’d been on vacation while we were working with the Ghost Organization?”

“No,” Roarke said again. “He only just started his vacation last week, before this Cassandra mess even started.”

“Well then...” Eve began to say as she made her way to the elevator and making Roarke see her press the down button. “Think you can meet me at the swimming pool in ten minutes?”

Roarke deliberately waited until the elevator doors and watched Eve go inside. “I’ll give you five,” was what he said as the door closed with Eve inside,

***

It only took Eve a minute and a half to strip every fabric of clothing off her skin while deciding to leave her boots on, even though she never figured out why people like her considered it sexy. The heat and steam that came from the heated swimming pool, the bubbling grotto corner, and the waterfall making it simulate like it was a jungle area with all it’s plants, palms and flowering vines; she even took notice of the bright flowers that bloomed in the tropical gardens.

It made her bare skin tingle as she began to feel the heat all over her body, to the point where she began rub her hands all over her body in pleasure. ‘It’s not summer yet,’ Eve thought. ‘But it’s definitely feeling like it.’

She began to think about a hidden sexual fantasy she had when she was younger, when she turned her head to see the man who always took her breath away with just one look. Especially now as she sees him in nothing but his fancy dress pants and fancy shoes. The way those dress pants enhanced his naked chest furthered her belief that he looked like an Irish God from a forgotten mythology. But as far as Eve was concerned, this Irish God was crafted only for her and no one but.

Eve half expected Roarke to take advantage of what she offered to him, but was instead surprised to see that all he did was bring his body close enough to a feather-lite touch, but not enough for full contact.

“Touch yourself for me,” Roarke whispered in her ear. “I’ll bet you never masturbated before in your entire life.”

A request like that would’ve mortified her, had it been any other man. But with Roarke,  the heat from that whisper felt like a hot kiss on her lips. Eve gently smoothed her right hand from her chest, to her flat and muscular tummy, to finally the area where it was touched by every other person but herself. An area that was first touched by a monster she called father. But with Roarke staring at her, she felt nothing but pleasure and protection. Rubbing her pussy, she kept her eyes glued on Roarke, and their eye contact was perfectly displaying a silent communication.

‘Think of no one else but me,’ she heard him say with his eyes. ‘Make that pussy know who it belongs to.’

As if suddenly triggered, Eve began to gradually increase the speed of her hand, not once did she close her eyes in pleasure. Instead she effortlessly kept her eyes glued on him, like she’d been masturbating for him for five years, when in reality it was close to one. It probably would’ve been five years, had they found each other a lot sooner.

Eventually her hand sped up in response to the pleasure that she was getting, she didn’t want it to stop, even though the pleasure was too much. It would’ve prompted her to close her eyes and throw her head back in pleasure, but she’d be damned if she did it now.

“OH MY GOD!” The orgasm came at her fiercely as liquid came on her fingers.

She didn’t expect herself to do what came next, but out of nowhere in a symbolic gesture, Eve offered her wet fingers to Roarke’s lips. Once he accepted those fingers, it was like she silently agreed that no matter what she’d been through in her life, her pussy and the juices on her fingers, which he sucked on, all belonged to him.

Finally, Roarke had closed the distance between the two and gave her a slow heated kiss. His hands slowly moved around her body as if he were caring for the most rarest treasure he’d ever seen. In a way, it was definitely not far off from the truth.

Eve had also skimmed her hands around Roarke’s muscular back to his fabric covered butt. Her possesion was letting him know that it definitely went both ways when it came to treasure.

If Roarke wanted to be creative with her body tonight, she could be more than creative with his. That’s what ran through her mind as she took off his pants, shoes and eventually her shoes. Then taking his hand with hers, she led him to one of the deeper edges of the pool and out of nowhere, pushed him in before jumping into kiss him in the water.

How anyone could do what they were doing and not fear the possibility of drowing, she could never know. But maybe that’s why she wanted him to fuck her in the water, to let him know that he was now the air that she needed to breathe and she was willing to breathe him in even with a deep swimming pool.

Roarke gently parted Eve’s lips with his tongue, giving her a deep oxygen kiss. Eve proceeded to turn their bodies around so she would be more than ready for her lover to take her. Roarke took the message without complaint as he entered her fluidly. The movements were slow and torturous, but at the same time, were never enough. The madness from the water pummled through Roarke as he kept his eyes glued on his wife savoring the pleasure of being slowly fucked hard in the water.

He eventually felt his own eyes give out demands and pleas in a way she couldn’t understand through words. But as her eyes opened up to meet his, it was a deep enough message for Roarke to surrender to her.

The way they began to surface out of the pool, it reminded Eve of a moment she shared with Motoko as a kid. The Major was teaching her how to swim and to hold her breath in the water, and one day both her and Motoko were slowly surfacing from the water and Eve saw her reflection meet her real face on the water. The feeling she had was exactly what she felt with Roarke. It felt like being born again.

***

And for the first time in a while, Eve had a good night sleep, all things considered. But she wanted to wake up early enough to take care of something before she went back to her true job. So when Roarke was taking a shower before they went to bed, Eve had set an alarm for her to wake up at five-thirty in the morning. She knew Roarke would be up before her to take care of his own business, but it would give her time to get her own sleep in before taking care of hers.

During her time of suspension from the NYPSD and her defecting to The Ghost Organization, Eve did not use her personal office in a month. Instead she used their bedroom at the Ghost building as a substitute to take care of her work over there. So to Eve, it felt a little weird for her to be back in the office that she closed off for a long period of time. The office that resembled her old apartment before she met and married Roarke. And it was thanks to Roarke and his exquisite attention to detail, that modeling this room after her apartment was one of the deciding factors in making her stay permanently.

"Already hard at work, Lieutenant?" Roarke called out from the adjoining door.

"You'd think after a month of being away from this room, that this place would be collecting dust," Eve replied while turning to Roarke. "Unless you had one of the housekeepers maintain it for me."

In repsonse, Roarke gave Eve a smirk, "You can be rest assured that nothing was tampered with during your time away."

"Good," Eve smiled pleasantly. "Because that probably would've given me a good excuse to tear some balls off and toss em to the recycler had anything been messed with."

"Good to see you back, Lieutenant."

Eve nodded in agreement, "I technically don't have my badge back yet, Roarke. But yeah, it already does feel like I'm back."

Seeing at how Eve looked content with what she had been working on, Roarke decided to take the opportunity to go to her kitchen area and program breakfast and coffee for both of them. A breakfast that was sure to definitely surprise his wife.

***

It was definitely a surprise that Eve reveled in when she began to see the cheddar scrambled eggs, hasbrowns, toast and waffles underneath the warming domes. It was definitely a sign from Roarke that things were definitely going to be looking good, if not better. So instead of her resorting to scarfing everything down, she decided to savor every bite while conversing with Roarke.

"One thing that's gotten me curious, Eve," he began to say while they began to eat. "Were you able to find out who the second guy was that Motoko and Batou arrested along with Zeke?"

Eve didn't immediately answer as she was working on a bite of her eggs, but after washing it down with her coffee, it was a good a time as ever to tell Roarke everything she knew about the second man.

"How well would you remember February 2051?" Eve asked.

To Roarke, it felt like Eve was giving him a riddle that would take an average person a long time to answer, but Roarke was anything but average.

"February eleventh and February twenty-sixth..." Roarke began to realize.

Eve nodded in acknowledgement, "That year I was freshly promoted to detective second grade, Feeney and I were called in to a total of five murders. The killer had a method of stalking his victims, he would take all the time he needed to observe and note her habits, her routines, her mode of traveling, her vulnerabilities-i.e., when she would most likely be alone and accessible. When he was ready, he’d make the grab. Most likely off the street. He’d have his own vehicle for this purpose. He’d drug her and take her to his…”

They’d called it his workshop, Eve remembered.

“…to the location he’d prepared, most likely a private home. Once there he would either keep her drugged until he was ready, or-if she was the first-he’d begin.”

“The first?”

“That’s right. And when he was ready, he’d start the clock. He’d remove her clothes; he would bind her. His preferred method of binding is rope-a good hemp. It chafes during struggle. He would use four methods of torture-physically, we can’t speak to psychologically-which are heat, cold, sharp implements, and dull implements. He would employ these methods at increasing severity. He’d continue until, you could speculate, the victim no longer provides him with enough stimulation or pleasure or interest. Then he ends it by slitting their wrists and letting them bleed out. Postmortem, he carves into their torsos, the time-in hours, minutes, and seconds-they survived.”

"So the second guy they arrested," Roarke began to say. "He was connected to those murders?"

"We don't think he was explicitly," Eve replied before choosing her next words carefully. "But he definitely admitted to the fact that he was paid to kidnap me."

"Wait what?" Roarke stopped her there. "The second one was planning to kidnap you?"

"He almost would've succeeded, had I not followed you up to the catwalk to disable that bomb," Eve replied while trying to keep a level head. "Truth be told though, I doubt he would've succeeded especially if he were to kidnap me in front of The Major and Batou."

Roarke began to remember that the killer Eve and Feeney failed to capture a long time ago had a name dubbed by the media, they called this killer The Groom.

"So what exactly was The Groom doing with working in association with Cassandra?"

"He never did give an explicit reason as to why, but Motoko and I hypothesized that he may have been working with Cassandra to kidnap me while they worked on bringing destruction to our city."

"Just to get you out of the way." Roarke mused.

Eve nodded in agreement, "But if The Major and I are correct in our calculations, we believe that The Groom will be talking with Cassandra to formulate a Plan B. But we're going to make sure that it does not happen, tonight."

***

During the personal preparations and eventual travel back to Cop Central, neither Eve nor Roarke would ever expect every officer under her command to be waiting patiently for her at her bullpen. She especially didn't expect to see Commander Jack Whitney, Chief Harrison Tibble and Captain Ryan Feeney to stand side by side in front of the screen that contained a digital readout map of New York City. To be fair, she did expect some of them to have already been out in the field, doing their job to keep the city safe, but ultimately gave it a pass because they didn't want to miss the chance of witnessing the return of the NYPSD's finest officer.

To be fair, Eve thought that they didn't expect her to walk front and center with Major Motoko Kusanagi and Batou of The Ghost Organization either. But there she stood in the middle of her bullpen, opposite of where her Commanding Officers were standing. There was definitely a pin-dropping silence in the bullpen as Eve and The Ghost Organization silently made their way to meet the brass halfway.

"It's been a hell of a month, hasn't it Commander?" Eve began to say first.

"More like it was deeper than hell, Lieutenant." Whitney replied in agreement as he began to reach in his uniform pocket for Eve's weapon and badge. "Lieutenant Webster!" he called out in the bullpen.

"Sir." Webster replied in attention. "During the suspension of Lieutenant Dallas, the Internal Affairs Bureau eventually have found no cause for sanction, reprimand, or for further investigation into her conduct."

Detective Baxter took the time to step forward when Whitney called his name, "My own personal investigation on the homicide of Officer Ellen Bowers deems that Lieutenant Dallas is cleared of any suspicion or involvement in that matter."

"So noted," Whitney said and turned back to Eve. She hadn't moved or blinked. "The case involving Dr. Michael Waverly and The Drake Center, along with the murder of Officer Ellen Bowers, has left a deep wedge between all of us as a family in the New York Police and Security Department. Following procedure is necessary, but it is not always equitable. Lieutenant Dallas, you had every right to display your contempt of us and to resign from the Department, your bullpen also had every right to display their contempt with me. But that does not mean that we cannot reconcile and start over again. Should you choose to rejoin us, your suspension will be expunged from your record, your complaints will also be expunged, and you will also be compensated for your time away from the job. The department will issue a statement to the media detailing what facts are deemed pertinent and necessary. Captain?"

In a symbolic move, Whitney gave Feeney Eve's badge and weapon with the intent of having him pass it to his former student. When Eve just simply stared at them, emotion sparked in Feeney's eyes. "Kid, the department and myself would suffer a great loss if you refuse these."

Eve then remembered to breathe and lifted her gaze to meet his.

"Before I do anything, I need to say something." Eve finally began to speak. "Everything that Commander Jack Whitney has said is the truth. Dr. Michael Waverly did manage to drive a wedge between all of us. His murder of Officer Ellen Bowers was like an ice pick breaking a big piece of the iceburg. When I lost that badge and that weapon, I thought I was going to lose everything that I was living for."

Eve then turned to Motoko and Batou and Roarke, "But then I began to remember Major Kusanagi and Batou helping me in Dallas, how they raised me and made me a part of The Ghost Organization. It was right then and there that I felt like I didn't have any other choice but to go to them and have them help me. That alone is the reason why I had to do what I had to do, if I couldn't be a cop here, I knew I could be a cop with them."

Eve slowly turned back to face her commanders while taking notice of every face in her bullpen. "So that is why I need to extend my apologies to The New York Police and Security Department. To Chief Tibble, Commander Whitney, Captain Feeney, Detective Baxter and especially to my aide Officer Peabody. It was never my intention to abandon you all and in time I hope that I can be forgiven and that we can reconcile."

That said, Eve reached Feeney's hand to take what was hers. She already began to notice her aide sniffling audibly across the room.

She would've expected to just take back her weapon and badge and be done with it, but nothing prepared her for what was to come next.

"ATTENTION!" Chief Tibble called out to the bullpen.

Like the snap of a finger, the entire bullpen at Cop Central stood stiffly in attention, the way it was when Eve was a cadet in the Academy. She even began to notice that the Major and Batou were standing in attention along with the cops.

"PRESENT ARMS!" Tibble screamed out.

Just like that, every right hand touched every forehead in a salute of respect to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a woman who was now a proud member of The NYPSD once again.

She began to clip her badge back on her pants and holstered her weapon in her harness, turned to Chief Tibble and the other brass and saluted back in solidarity.

"ORDER OFF!"

And just like that Eve and the entire Cop Central bullpen were at ease and they proceeded to return back to their desks to begin work.

"Welcome back, Lieutenant," Whitney whispered to Eve and shook her hand.

Eve nodded in ackowledgement then turned to her bullpen, "Alright everyone, listen up!"

Those would be the first words Eve would say as she began to orchestrate the downfall of Cassandra.