Death in the Shell Ch. 12-1

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 Motoko 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,

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