Written By: bikkothewriter
Preventors' Case #84309: Splicers + Chapter SixIn novels and short stories, authors described hospitals as gloomy places where death lurked creating an ominous feeling. The building smelled like sickness and disinfectant. The walls were painted a nauseous green color that made the fluorescent lights blinding. It was portrayed as a place people came to die.
Heero never saw hospitals that way. He'd had his share of bad experiences in hospitals but being inside the blue-painted walls, he smelled nothing. The bright lighting only gave him hope for the people inside and right now sixteen children were being cared for behind curtained beds in the emergency room. So far, all but four had been identified and their parents notified of their location. Three were orphans who, like all of the other children had been kidnapped, while the fourth, Kitten, couldn't give them a name for himself other than the one his Nana called him.
Barton and Hayers sat in the small waiting room, while he paced back and forth, waiting for news. Price, Weber and Gemmell had met them at the hospital and were part of the team gathering information on the children, helping to assist in calling parents and running matches on the spliced DNA. Each doctor or clinic had its own signature coding and finding it would determine who did the splicing and aided in child slavery.
They'd been waiting for almost an hour before Price and Gemmell appeared around the corner carrying files and clipboards. Gemmell's bright smile told Heero without words that she had good news for him.
"What have you found out?" He looked between the two women noticing, not for the first time, the difference between the two. Where Gemmell was light-hearted and bubbly with bright red hair hanging loose around her shoulders, Cheza Price was disciplined and strict with her dark brown haircut short above her ears. They both wore the standard Preventors' uniform but Gemmell managed to look casual while Price was all business, standing a head taller than her younger counterpart.
"Twenty-three children were recovered in all," Price answered, handing over her files.
"Yeah, some of the suspects brought in their 'old kids' to resell in the Auction," Gemmell answered making use of air quotes.
"That's sick," Hayers said.
"All of the children had their splicing done by the same doctor except one," Price continued. "The boy you asked us to look after, Kitten, had his splicing done by another doctor."
"Who did his?" Heero asked not able to be surprised by any news concerning the boy.
"We don't know and that's not all. He's been spliced with multiple animals."
"What?" Trowa asked stepping closer.
"He's at least seventy percent cat but he's also spliced with reptile, bird and some unknown DNA. The hospital's lab isn't equipped to give us more definitive results."
"We questioned the doctor who spliced the others. He was at the Auction and he says that Kitten was brought in spliced."
"It's too much of a coincidence that the kid is called Kitten and is spliced with a cat," Hayers said.
"There's more. Most of the splicing we've seen has been cosmetic, the ears and tails are just for show, but not Kitten's. His ears move independent of each other. I watched him tracking the sound of the nurses working."
"The hat," Heero whispered to himself, the image of the two times he'd met Kitten coming to mind, as well as the baggy clothes. The boy had been spliced before hand and his Nana had been covering it up. It explained why she had been so eager to be rid of Heero and his curiosity. "Has he told you the name of his Nana?"
"Nana is the only name he knows her by."
"But I did some digging and found a missing persons report filed yesterday that matched his description by a Janet Hughes," Gemmell supplied, checking her notes. "She listed his name as Connor Hughes, which is the name of her thirty-four year old son. Totally suspicious."
"Do you want us to bring her in or turn everything over to Chase?"
"No, this may be the connection in Dr M's motive that we've been looking for and he may be the only lead we have in a missing person's case."
"What do you want us to do?"
"I'll leave it up to you and Gemmell to make the arrest. Do everything by the book; I don't want any mistakes with this."
"Yes, Commander," they both answered.
"Once Kitten has been cleared by the hospital, see to it that he's turned over to Preventors' custody. We'll need to have more tests done to determine the extent of his splicing."
"I'll handle that," Hayers said, levering himself from his chair. "I'm tired of waiting around for Chase to release us."
"The staff is determined to give each child the antidote before releasing them, including Kitten. I've convinced them to hold off on Kitten for the time being. It would be best if you explained the situation, Commander."
"Who's in charge?"
"The attending is Dr Walker, but it's the staff psychologist, Dr Devereaux, who's insisting. Says the longer the kids are left like that the more damage it'll do."
"Giving Kitten the antidote may do more harm than good," Trowa said, "We don't know how long he's been spliced or the effects the antidote might have on the multiple splicings."
"We explained that to the doctor, but he doesn't want to cooperate. We left Weber with Kitten to keep an eye on the situation."
"I'll speak to him. Go and make your arrest. Hayers get started on the paperwork. Barton you're with me."
Heero and Trowa turned to leave the waiting area and the others to make their way across the hospital. They'd chosen to wait in one of the waiting rooms furthest from the ER to allow arriving parents the space closest to the children. Many brightly dressed nurses nodded to them as they passed them in the halls, and Heero wondered if the staff had contests for most creative scrubs when he saw one woman wearing a set with carrots dressed as doctors.
"Do you think Janet Hughes will give us any information?"
"I doubt it; especially after she finds out I'm in charge. I want you to lead on this. I don't want my meeting her two days ago to come back and bite us."
"You don't think she'll accuse you of orchestrating Kitten's kidnapping, do you?"
"No, but I won't put it past someone like Rains to dredge it up and try to dismiss our case against her."
"We should look into -," Trowa started but paused stopping in the middle of the hall, "Do you hear that?"
Heero stilled, listening. The sounds of ripping and crashing sounded in the hallway, coming from the recovery bay where the children were being held, quickly followed by screaming.
They both ran forward, pushing through the double doors drawing their handguns before the scene had time to process in their minds.
Pete McCormack stood in the midst of the curtain cubicles, a small boy held tightly against his chest, a large shard of glass pressed to the boy's throat. He turned, wide-eyed at their entrance, clutching the boy closer. He dropped to his knees making himself a smaller target behind the boy using him as a shield.
"Don't come any closer," he said panting.
Heero recognized the man as the one he'd shot four times in the dressing room at the club. He'd been admitted into the hospital still unconscious and Heero regretted instantly the mandate to use non-lethal bullets during the raid.
"Let the boy go," he said flatly, training his gun on the man's dark greasy head. His muddy brown eyes were large and blinking rapidly while he pumped sweat out of every pore.
The boy, Lucas, from the stickered nametag on his gown, wheezed as he cried pushing himself away from the large piece of glass that cut into his neck. He scratched at McCormack's hand trying to free himself from the man's restraining grip. He had yet to be given the antidote and light brown cat-ears graced the top of his head were pressed flat in fear.
"I can't go to prison. Do you know what will happen to me?" McCormack cried gesturing with his left hand leaving his side open. Heero didn't hesitate to shoot him, taking him high in the shoulder. Blood exploded outward, splattering both McCormack and the boy, along with the white curtains where other children and some adults, hidden from sight, screamed in response.
Heero moved closer but McCormack refused to relent even after being shot, grabbing one of Lucas' ears. The boy howled in response as his ear was crushed in the man's grip.
"You don't understand what'll happen to me!"
"You'll get exactly what you deserve," Heero answered coldly. "Now let the boy go."
McCormack looked him in the eye and something Heero saw there made his stomach knot and his blood run cold. Something nasty and vile rose to the surface of the man's face and Heero instantly knew who he was looking at.
Pete McCormack, Leila Johnson's murderer. He released the harsh grip he had on Lucas' ear to instead softly pet and stroke the appendage pressing his face against the boy's hair as he stared unwaveringly at Heero.
"She begged me to stop," he said quietly, so quietly that Heero barely heard him over the sound of his own blood rushing through his ears. "She promised to be good girl if I stopped."
"I didn't mean to kill her. She just wouldn't stay still, just kept squirming."
"Shut up," he said louder, moving his finger away from the trigger. If he shot now, he would hurt the boy clutched in McCormack's hands and he couldn't risk it no matter how much his inner voice screamed at him to shoot.
"She was so soft and so pretty," he said rubbing his face against the boy's hair. "She had the prettiest curls. She was asking for it in the end."
The sudden gunshot startled Heero. He gasped looking to see where the shot had landed and secondly where it had come from. A scorch mark marred the linoleum to McCormack's right having come from Trowa's sidearm.
"Let the boy go and shut the fuck up," the taller man said coldly.
McCormack flicked his gaze between the two of them, his face pale from blood loss, looking for the one he could manipulate into killing him. Heero didn't want it to come to that. As much as he wanted McCormack to die for what he'd done, he wouldn't do it on the man's terms. He wouldn't let the man escape his fear of going to prison and whatever fate awaited him there.
"We're not going to kill you. That would be too easy," Heero said.
"No, no, I won't go to jail," he said shaking his head. The cold-blooded snake that could kill a little girl and feel nothing retreated to be replaced by the scared and pathetic man kneeling on the floor before them.
"Let the boy go and put your hands behind your head," Heero ordered, but he knew from experience that McCormack wasn't good at following directions. He dug the shard of glass deeper into Lucas' neck, drawing more blood, while rocking back on his heels to stand. The moment he was on his feet both Heero and Trowa fired into his legs. McCormack screamed, his legs buckling dropping him to his knees.
In the sudden confusion, the two rushed forward, Trowa pulling Lucas from McCormack's slack grip and Heero delivering a hard punch to McCormack's face knocking him flat. He grabbed the man's left arm forcing it up and behind his back pulling on his shoulder making him scream.
"Now," Heero said, leaning close to the man's ear where he knelt beside him, "It'll be easier for the other inmates to catch you."
McCormack screamed again and suddenly there were more hands to help hold him down. Sandford along with Meyers and Arnet appeared in Heero's field of vision along with two nurses dragging a gurney and a doctor directing them. Cuffed and secured, McCormack was lifted and dumped unceremoniously on the gurney where he was strapped down and rolled away.
Heero watched the proceedings dazed. The adrenaline seeped from his muscles leaving him weak and nauseous. He stayed kneeling as the curtains around him parted and curious faces looked out at the mess at him and the blood on the floor. One of the children braved the mess on the floor carefully stepping around it to approach him. Her nametag read Hannah, the scared little girl from the dressing room. She wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face against his neck.
"It's okay," he told her putting his arm around her, "He won't hurt you or anyone else again."
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