Princess Tutu Fan Fiction ❯ The Madrigal: Princess Tutu and the Secret Six II ❯ Chapter 7
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Otto Drosselmyer sat contentedly as he saw what his creations had brought him. The police would be baffled for quite some time. Once he had those stowed away, he went over to his masterpiece that, despite some setbacks, was near completion. At first, he had hoped he could achieve mechanically what he wanted without modern electronics involved. However, this was not going to happen. He therefore had to mix old with new. The first thing he had to install was a generator that would move when she moved. It would attach to a long lasting battery designed not to get to a point where it would fail to hold a charge little by little. Whenever she was in full motion, the generator would run and hold back the use of the battery. When she was idle, she would then run off her battery, only using as much power as was needed at that moment. It would be such that she should never run out of what she needed to keep functioning. Otto also added a high power central processing unit, cooled by the fan attached to the generator, which would use the battery when needed, and spots for random access memory—enough to mimic active human thought. In addition to this was added a hard drive containing one terabyte in memory. He was able to go through connections with friends he worked with in the past, who now worked in laboratories perfecting computer gadgetry that would be usable now, but the general public would not see for years. Because of that, though it held on terabyte of memory, it was small enough to fit inside all the gears and parts. In that hard drive he installed a program that was designed to teach children growth, memory skills, and self esteem. In that programming was an understanding for human emotions. He wanted Uzzura to be as human as possible. The “brain” was still the mechanical system of metal threads and pinions needed to input data, but that would now work in conjunction with the central processing unit. He coated her body with a synthetic material that could mimic the sensitivity of human touch, and had sensors in her nose that imitated olfactory. In her ears were simple microphones, but the very sensitive kind, not too dissimilar from what singer use when they want to be hands free when performing. Her eyes were two digital cameras, giving her full stereoscopic vision, but vision on par with that of Captain Marvel himself. He also added a voice synthesizer, and allowed it to be so that her mouth would move with the words. For a voice, he decided on one of the vocaloid programs that had become quite popular with anime minded youth with a knack for music. He decided Hatsune Miku would be the best choice. She therefore would have that high pitched, childlike voice, and she would be able to sing as well. To aid in her learning, he also included a program that had the entire Oxford English Dictionary in it, but would only allow the word to be used when it was uttered and defined for Uzzura. Once she learned the meaning, the other programs would teach her how to act on such knowledge. It would be like having a child who was learning how to speak for a time, but it would not take her nearly as long to learn. Once he activated her, she would be like a newborn child. However, she would grow quickly, as her mechanical brain and the CPU would be able to process data quickly, and aid her in becoming sentient and aware as fast as possible. He also wanted her to learn like anyone else, in that, he did not stuff her drive with all kinds of knowledge right off the bat. That way, she could be manipulated better and do his bidding without question. He was just awaiting the right day to hit the switch.
Considering who had been so horribly murdered, the company decided to shut down for a few days to give everyone who knew Abby time to mourn, and to attend the funeral when it was time. It was also decided that, when they were back in full swing again, the first thing to be done that year would be a show in her honor. For now, people needed time to mourn and to think. No one was more shaken outside of Abby's family than Rue, for it was her that had discovered the ghastly truth. For most of that Thursday, she lay in the bed, silent but staring into nothing. Mytho's empathy was going off the scale with the cacophony of emotions running through the mind of his dear wife at that moment. However, he was not going to disturb her unless there were certain negative emotions that kept cropping up of which he would tend to immediately. By noon, Fakir had arrived, very concerned about his colleague and good friend. “Where is she?” asked Fakir.
“She is in our room, in the bed,” answered Mytho, “She did not sleep well last night, which also meant that I did not sleep much myself. She cried most of the night. I cannot say that I blame her, considering that I would have found it hard to sleep myself. We both finally slept when sheer exhaustion overtook us, but it was not much. She has not said much, and frankly, I am not going to try to get her to do so until she is ready.”
“At this point,” Fakir mused, “having Duck around would be helpful.”
“It won't be much longer, and we shall be together again,” said Mytho, “The theater is almost done, and we shall be spending more time together. Besides, this is a good respite after that tour.”
“What about tonight,” reminded Fakir, “You do remember what the detective said?”
“Yes, that's true,” said Mytho, “we'll just have to tell him it can wait.”
“Have you told the others yet?”
“I was just about to call them. They should be at lunch. It's funny how much you remember the school schedule, even when you've finished.”
“Then there may be a way?”
Fakir opened up the team communicator, called Ahiru, and then asked her to patch the whole team through on a conference call. Mary, Billy, and Ahiru all went to a discreet location to discuss the matter. “So, we're going to snoop around a bit?” asked Billy, “As ourselves, or as our alter egos?”
“Both, in a sense,” said Fakir.
“What are you planning?” asked Mary.
“Let us be our alter egos, but put on civilian clothes,” said Fakir, “Everyone will look old enough to go the place I have in mind. Furthermore, there will be no risk in recognition, because no one there knows us anyway. Maybe we can flush out the perp.”
Ahiru was not so sure about things, but Fakir then said, “You'll be Tutu. You know how to take care of yourself. In that form, you shall have all the courage in the world.”
As the last of the plans were being set, the boys both heard Rue behind them, saying, “Who are you talking to?”
Rue was standing there in her bathrobe, looking much disheveled, with dark circles under her eyes. She was only 18, but at that moment, she looked like she was 40 years old. Fakir had nothing but sympathy for her, and Mytho felt her pain so much he almost came to tears. He figured that talking business might help, so he addressed her. “Ah, libeling!” exclaimed Mytho, “You are up! We were just talking to the team, preparing to find our killer.”
“You're not going to leave me here alone, are you?” she asked. The look on her face was not one of anger, but of sadness mixed with terror. With a killer loose that preyed on dancers, she did not feel safe. This was odd, considering that Claire could have broken the fool into pieces. However, in her state of mind, there would be no telling what she would do. Besides all that, she did not want to be alone. She then added, “Besides, you are going to put Duck into a situation like that, are you?”
“It will be Tutu,” said Fakir, “She shall be in no danger. She can take care of herself.”
“Oh, no,” she said, “She is like my kid sister. There is no way she is going in there without me!”
At this point, there was no way of saying “no” to her and have her listen. Mytho then said that they should be ready to go at sunset, and then he said he would then relate this to the rest of the team. He called Billy, and Billy expressed concern about being out past curfew. Fakir then said, “How have you done it in the past?”
There was silence that seemed to say, “D'oh!” but Billy just said, “Good point—we should be able to get back in.”
“Then get your assignments done early,” said Mytho, “because it could be a late night.”
They arrived at the club by 8 PM, that evening. They had all transformed at Mytho's place before they went out, and Rue/Claire put on her finest, slinkiest dress that she owned, with just the right make-up. Despite her business like manner, Mytho could not help but notice that she was still shaken. “Are you up to this?” asked Mytho.
Claire wanted to get angry, but she sighed, knowing that this was her husband, and he had a right to be concerned. She could not lie to him; she knew that would do no good anyway. She then said, “Okay, I am still in shock over what I saw. I am angry, sad, nervous, and terrified all at the same time.”
“Then, are you truly up to this?” asked Mytho, adding the word “truly” to the mix.
Claire thought for a moment or two, and then she said, “Whether or not I am up to this is not the issue. Abby and I were growing close. She was a great girl and she did not deserve what happened to her. If anything, this is for her.”
Rather than press the issue, he left her to her feelings. He knew that Tutu could subdue her if she got out of hand, but that would not be easy for Tutu to make physical contact with her. The fight between them could be spectacular, but he knew that either of the Marvels could handle her. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel and Mary removed their uniforms, Cap dawned a nice Hart, Schaffer, and Marx suit, while Mary opted for a cocktail dress. Tutu found a nice white satin dress that did not reveal too much, but just enough to turn heads. She simply tied back her long hair, knowing that the length and color would be enough to gain anyone's attention. She therefore forsook the make-up, because her beauty was such that she did not need it. The Chess Knights went as themselves, because they really had nothing to disguise. They only hated the fact that there was no way to take with them, much less conceal, their utility belts. That would be hard. They lined up and prepared to find a killer.
They were not the only ones on the lookout. Earlier that day, Johnny White Wolf was sitting outside at a café, enjoying the early fall morning, sipping on a fine cup of coffee. He picked up that day's paper as he had come to the place, and this was the first chance he had to look at it. The calls from the sales people said it all, and the headlines blared about the killer on the loose. Now that he had the chance to read it, his blood began to chill over the details. The press and the police did not want to attempt to use the words “serial killer” as of yet, because, if this was the case, they did not want him to have something over which to gloat. They did not want to give the killer any reason to celebrate over his deed, or even to feel famous. Johnny, on the other hand, knew better. This had all the markings of a serial killer, even though he had only pulled off one crime. It was sad that that there was no description, no prints, and no witnesses as of yet who could have seen the two together at any point. It was obvious that he had picked her up, because there was no forced entry. They had to have been together before it happened. This begged the question: where did they meet? The paper was sketchy about it, but it was obvious to Johnny as to why. If they said, then there was the possibility of people being too afraid to talk, or people who would be in fear, and not show up, thereby losing a chance to find witnesses. It would also kill business in this place. He folded up the paper, set it down, thought for a moment as he picked up his coffee and sipped, and put his feet up. The detective in him was rearing up, chomping at the bits to get into the case. On the other hand, although this man was obviously scum, busting his kind was how he made his living, and there was nothing as far as a reward put out yet. Since they have no description, it would be foolish to do so anyway. He would have to wait and see what turned up. If there was anything to go off, and considering how low this person had to have been to do what he—or maybe even she—did, he might have taken this thing pro bono. However, he needed far more than that with which he was being provided. It sickened him that he would have to wait for another killing before he could act, but that just may bring the bounty he sought. Besides, the Secret Six were known to frequent Fawcett City, as he had already seen, and then there was Black Adam as well. He hoped that they either could do something about it, or he hoped that they could at least flush out the quail for him.
At the club, the six arrived, all looking like a bunch of friends out for a night on the town. The man at the door had a guess about the age of the rather muscular looking one leading the way, but he indeed questioned the rest. Yet, he did not recognize any of them, and was now keenly curious. “You look old enough to come in here,” said the doorman, “but I would have to ask for I.D. from the others.”
Fakir was worried about this, but he need not have worried. Cap pulled out a wallet, and said, “Official Justice League business for all of us,” showing off the badge with his picture that had him in his normal Captain Marvel uniform. The doorman, knowing of Captain Marvel, being from Fawcett himself, was quick to apologize, but he did add, “However, if it's all the same…I mean, I do have a job to do, and if they have I.D…” hinting that he needed to see them as well. At this, Cap said, “Credentials, gang.”
At this, they all flipped out their JLA badges, marking them as auxiliary members, and they were allowed to pass. Once inside, Fakir said, “Okay, fan out, and pay sharp attention. See if you can catch any conversation about what happened last night, and see if they talk about having been in the club when Abby was here. That is when you either listen in, or jump in when it is feasible. However, ladies, if you are approached, and you are propositioned, go ahead and leave with him. Mytho, make sure to tail your wife, and Billy, make sure to tail Tutu. I'll tail Mary.”
Mary got a knowing look on her face, and said, “As if I needed that kind of help!”
With that, they began to fan out. Because the boys were as the Chess Knights the night before, the detective did not recognize them. However, they recognized Claire, despite the lack of a mask, and the Marvels. He approached them, and said, “Have you found anything yet?”
“We just arrived ourselves,” said Claire, “and we are indeed on the hunt. Give us time, and I hope that we can get you some information.”
With that, they spread out. It was clear that this was a place frequented by her colleagues, and she was now worried that they may indeed recognize her. On the other hand, if they did, she could write it off, and act like Rue, saying that she had heard the talk about the club, and she wanted to try it for herself.
As they moved about, they kept their ears open on the conversation, and from what they gathered, Abby had indeed been in there the night before. She had only been in the club for about 40 minutes before she was approached and propositioned. She did indeed leave with someone. However, (and much to their frustration,) no one could give a clear description of the person, because no one would have thought that anything was amiss enough to remember those kinds of details. All they knew was that he was a man in his late twenties, but that was it. There was varying descriptions of height weight, skin tone, hair color, or anything else that could have been of use. Yet, they knew it was a male in his late twenties, and that was a start. At that point, the ladies were told to put on the charm in the way that a ballerina could, thinking that, if he was after dancers exclusively, it would have to show clearly in order to be approached. Still, there were plenty of men in there in their late twenties, so it could have been anyone. Claire, on the other hand, knew most of the male dancers in the city, so it was easier for her to start to narrow down candidates. In time, she had eliminated all but a handful. It was then that someone finally recognized her, and she said, “Rue, I'm so glad to see you out and about! I don't know if I could have had that kind of strength.”
“Well, I heard about this place,” answered Claire, “and I figured that it could help me to clear my head a bit.”
“I see your hubby is here,” noted the woman.
“Oh, of course,” responded Claire, “With weirdoes running around, I could not have left the house alone.”
“I feel you, girl!” assured the woman, and then she noted, “Oh, have you met the guest dancer that has come into town?”
“Can't say that I have,” answered Clair.
“Oh, he's really good,” the woman then said, “He's also quite handsome…more's the pity!”
“What do you mean?” asked Claire.
“Well, let's just say that he is a man in comfortable shoes,” the woman whispered.
“We all wear comfortable shoes,” said Claire knowingly, “it comes with the trade.”
The woman rolled her eyes, and said, “I mean, he is very light in them,” hoping the hint was caught. This time, Claire caught it, and said, “Oh, I see,” pumping her head up and down. It was odd, but he was a fellow dancer, a professional, and she really didn't care. Those things were not her cup of tea, but no matter what she thought, she was the kind to live and let live. Besides, that was none of her business anyway. Plus, she knew she was going to be working with him, so she said, “So, where is Twinkle Toes anyway?”
“Well he's…” and she stopped, looking around, and then she said, “Strange…he was by the bar a minute ago. I don't see him around.”
The two started to ask around, and a few people said they saw him leaving with another man. He was indeed a man in his late twenties, and they all agreed he had shoulder length brown hair, he was Caucasian, but they were not able to make out a face, due to the low lighting around. Claire asked how much taller or shorter he may have been, and they said he looked about six inches taller. This was what she wanted, because, if they knew the guest dancer's height, they had something with which to work. They then said that it was not but seconds ago, so if they hurried, they might catch them. Mytho, on the other hand, was already on top of things, and his empathy detected something anxious in someone's emotional stream. Unfortunately, he swung around to find this person had already been on the move. The emotions were anxious, the person's heart was racing, there was a sense of lust involved—an urgency to be fulfilled in that aspect—yet a sense of shame over the deal. With that mix, Mytho knew that the killer had to be near. Before he could act, mind you, the person was already on the move. He still sensed it, though, and started to head in the direction of the emotions. The others were able to catch Mytho on the move, so they started to follow up. Unfortunately, when they went outside, it was too late. The streets were crowded that night, and the two managed to slip into the crowd. They then went back inside, and Claire went to find the detective with the information while the others went to find out where this guest dancer was staying once Claire told a bit about him. Once they were able to gather this information, (which took a bit of time,) they told the detective, who then called for some cars to be sent to that location. They did not have a hotel room, but at least they would be near, and they could find out quickly where the two had gone. Yet, the rest of the team were going to move swifter than this, as they went outside, and Mary and Cap picked up everyone to fly them to the hotel, while Claire took a moment to go to an alley and transport there herself.
Claire was already trying to get the information from the front desk as to the whereabouts of the man they sought, but he was being stubborn about this, considering that he did not know her from Adam. The others arrived not soon after, and Cap saw the problem. He then said to Mary, “Use your super speed to fetch your proper uniform and come right back.”
As swift as lightning, the two of them made the switch and came back. Once they entered, the desk clerk was now all agog, but Cap had no time for that. “We need to know where Sal Roma is located. This could be a matter of life or death!”
Once he heard that from Cap, he was all eager to help. However, some time had passed, and there was concern as to whether or not they were too late. “He's on the fifteenth floor, corner suite on the south side,” said the clerk, and Cap then said, “Claire, stay here. If it got that far, I don't want you to see it again.”
She wanted to protest, but she let it go, and Cap went up himself. As all this was going on, a young man came up to Tutu and said, “Excuse me, do you know where the nearest subway is? I'm new here.”
“Oh, it's to your left, three blocks from the drugstore,” she was happy to state. However, she noticed a touch of blood on his neck, and she said, “What's that?”
His eyes shifted around a bit, and he said, “Oh, I cut myself shaving,” and he took out a handkerchief and started to press it on the spot. Paying it no mind, she let it go. Yet, Mytho was ever the emotional barometer, and sensed the shift of emotions coming from Tutu's direction. They were emotions of satisfaction at first, but then of high nerves and a fast heartbeat. When he swung around, the emotions were already out the door. He followed Cap out the door, but the man was lost in the crowd again. Because of the amount of people there, he was lost in the emotional wash. As Cap ascended, he went back in and found Tutu. He asked, “What did he ask you?”
“Only where the subway was,” responded Tutu. Mytho wanted to go after the man, and Fakir began to notice what was happening when Mytho told him. “We have to catch him!” said Fakir, but Mary said, “You'd be too slow—let me try.”
After getting a quick description from Tutu, she was gone like the wind. She flew to the tube where he was heading, flew down, began to scan around, and found a man with the hair Tutu described, but just as he stepped onto the tram and it pulled away. She wanted to go after it, but she realized that just stopping the tram in the tunnel might cause a snarl, or worse, a wreck from a train behind who did not know it was stopped. She would have to find the station master, but that also would take time. She then looked at that line and saw where it was going next. Without hesitation, she surfaced and headed for that tube. She flew down, but that tram had just pulled away, and she now realized that, by the time she found out where the next stop was, the tram may have been two stations down, and that man could have gotten off at any point. She had to accept that she lost him. Whoever this was, he was very good at hiding and evading. He could not evade Mytho's sixth sense, but even then, he was crafty. Sadly, things were going to get worse.
Cap had immediately gone up to where he had been told, and it was the window to the bedroom. The light was on, and all he saw coming from the other side of the bed, from which all the sheets had been tossed, was the back of a head, two arms sprawled out, and blood. He turned away, and slowly descended. When he landed, the police were already preparing to go up, but Cap said, “It's too late. Detective, you had better send for the medical examiner, because we have another murder.”
Whoever this person was, he was fast. Still, by the time they were able to get their information to act, and then were able to find out where Sal was staying, anything could have happened. Instead of going up, the six stayed in the lobby. They would know soon enough what was found. Claire, instead of being shocked, was now angry. She had the chance to catch him, and she had failed. She never wanted to pound on someone more than she did at that moment. In the meantime, a very sad and humbled Tutu was working with a forensic artist trying to get a sketch of what she had seen. Mytho assured her that she could not have known, and it was not her fault. Meanwhile, the police had indeed found that what had happened to Abby had happened to Sal. They found a double edged razor blade which had been used to do the deed, so again; no murder weapon had been brought in. The only difference was that the feet were intact this time. The only guess was that he did not have what he needed to take them, but everything else was the same. There was no note this time, and they only assumed that, like most serial killers, he would eventually write to the police to brag. They had to wait. They were also able to discern that the killer had gone into the bathroom and hastily rinsed himself in the shower before going. This fit Tutu's description, because the man's hair was indeed wet. This is why she believed what he had said about cutting himself. They found the towel with which he also hastily dried himself with, and in had blood on it, but it was only Sal's, so that was a dead end as well. They could only assume by what they found, they did their “thing” he killed Sal, rushed to the bathroom, cleaned up as fast as he could, and toweled off what he could not rinse, tossed down the towel, put on his clothes, and left. Again, there were no prints. When they came down, they asked Tutu if there was anything about his hands that she might have noted. She concentrated, and it was then she recalled that he had peels of skin hanging off the print of this thumb. That cinched it—he was flaying them off. Not only was this the killer, but it seemed that he had been planning this for some time to take precautions like this. Once done, Cap called everyone aside, and said, “Guys, don't kick yourselves. Remember how things went in New York this spring. I know we were able to crack the big case we were on fairly swiftly, but remember this; most of the work had already been started, and it would have taken some time to gather that. Things like this are not always quickly resolved, and it goes with the territory of being a superhero. We may be powerful, but we are not gods. All we can do is the best we can, as fast, but as carefully as we can, and put this to rest. Like Bruce said, `Welcome to the Big Leagues.'”
With a sigh of resign, knowing that this was going to take awhile to solve, he just said, “Let's go home—there's nothing more we can do.”
They went home feeling sad and helpless, sick to their stomachs wondering how many more would have to die before they were able to stop him.