Prescott ambled into the Chief Constable’s office on Tuesday morning. He didn’t have any sleep through all of Monday night; after depositing Ms. Powers at her home, he managed to get two blocks before he heard Stuart tooting his whistle. Having spent the rest of the evening speaking with Tommy Harper left the Inspector feeling completely exhausted. The Chief’s usually stolid expression bore a smile that would look forced on most men, but was quite natural for the Chief.
“And so it is done then, eh?” The Chief was an imposing sight; dressed in his uniform and sitting stiffly behind his mahogany desk gave him a rather dictatorial air, but Prescott was too tired to be impressed.
“It is done and over. Tommy Harper gave his confession in full. It too all night, but it is done.” Prescott suppressed a yawn and tried to remain focused.
“And the story is?” asked the Chief.
“He was one of McKay’s experimental subjects. His time with the so-called doctor left him morally impaired and gifted with terrible mental powers.”
“So he claims.” said the Chief. “Why didn’t we uncover him when we raided McKay’s hideout sixteen years ago?”
“He slid under the floorboards and out of the house when the place was set upon. As a boy, he was fiercely loyal to McKay. Now, he sees him like a father, or almost like a god. Also, I can attest to his powers, at least in part.”
Prescott held up the piece of copper and brass that had been his badge: it had a hole bored nearly clean through it.
“This happened when the accused was being questioned. I’ll be needing a new one.” said Prescott, tossing his badge onto the Chief’s desk, barely missing the gold statue of the Archangel Michael that the Chief Constable often contemplated. It had been a gift from the squad when the Chief ascended to his lofty rank.
“Amazing. It seems like there truly are things in the world beyond the ken of man. That said, these powers are to remain in this office. It wouldn’t do to have the entire country ablaze with stories of…”
“Psychic Cannon. That’s what we’ve been calling it. He calls it ‘The Gift.’”
“Either way, it is off record. So, why did he kill?”
“He saw the ladies as unclean. He took it upon himself to rid the world of them, seeing loose women as a blight on the world. Conners suggested that it had something to do with Harper’s upbringing. He read the girls minds…”
“Claimed to read the women’s minds, you mean.” corrected the Chief.
“Claimed to read their minds and then, um, claimed to shoot them with his Psychic Cannon. The force of the blast, its impact on metal, is proof of how effective Harper was in his actions.”
“How was he taken?” asked the Chief, “I heard that Stuart was involved.”
“Yes. Without my direction, Stuart and Conners decided to try and apprehend the killer. They had been following my investigation closely and decided that they should try a sting. Since each victim had been attacked at night, they decided that Stuart should dress as a prostitute. He would blow his whistle if he was attacked, and Conners would come to his rescue. It seems like the accused took the bait, worm, hook, and all.”
“This all wraps up nicely.” said the Chief. “What about this Psychic Cannon, as you call it? How are we keeping it under control?”
“A straight jacket and a blind fold seems to have done the trick. I don’t know what an alienist will think, or be able to do. It is my opinion that this is a special case.”
“I will see to it that Mr. Harper will be properly disposed of,” remarked the Chief. He stood, offering his hand to Prescott, who took it gladly.
“You and your team have done a great job,” said the Chief.
“My team? They’re the department’s team.” said Prescott.
“They are yours now, Special Investigator Prescott. Since the happenings with those children in the walls, and now this, I believe that Queensbourough Yard needs someone that can approach special cases.”
“Yes Sir,” said Prescott with pride.
“Your team is waiting in the Bullpen.”
When Prescott left the Chief’s office, he was beaming. He had long strived for respect, and he felt like his new station in life was a sign of great things to come. He walked into the Bullpen, a maze of desks and benches where inspectors and officers often congregated and spotted his team.
Stuart was still wearing the dress he wore during the sting while wrenching Conners’ head in a wrestling hold and narrating the apprehension of Tommy Harper to Lilly Fowler, who watched, laughing. If this was to be his team, he wasn’t sure how much respect he would gain.
Tommy’s world had become darkness. His head had been clamped inside of a great dome of glass and the oxygen was running out. Struggling to breathe, he tried to pull the dome off of his head, but his arms were restrained. He felt as though he would black out when a sudden gush of air blew into the great dome. He could hear a muffled voice, speaking from beyond the glass.
“What is your name?” asked the voice, sternly.
“Tommy Harper!” shouted Tommy.
The air stopped gushing, and the stifling warmth in the domebegan to return.
“Thomas Harper! Tom Harper! Tom! Please!” he yelled.
Tommy tried to concentrate, to send his mind forth, to probe the minds of those around him, but he couldn’t. The suffocation was too much for him.
“Your name,” came the voice, along with a gush of fresh air.
“Good,” said the voice, “now we are getting somewhere.”