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    "A little while ago the state senator who had been involved in the formation of this 'Revolution' was gunned down in the street, an act of unusual violence. The police tell us that they have the man in custody, captured conveniently by the Revolution just yesterday. This man, Edward Ellis, was a devoted public servant, former attorney, and defender of those in need, a good man cut down too soon." She paused for effect. "Shortly thereafter, a judge was shot, as well, in similar circumstances, and after that a prosecuting attorney, Tukar Washington. All part of this same string of murders, where the Revolution was able to prevent the fourth and final one, acting just in time to make sure that Washington was... not saved.
    "Why would they do this? They were too busy, dealing with other problems, there were variant threats? We know they were on the case, in fact from our contacts at the police department and their documentation, the Revolution was almost entirely handling the case at that point, something they would normally never do. But why Washington, specifically? Was there something involved in a case, in the past?" Another pause. "Yes."
    From that point on, we all knew what was coming. None of us looked at the others, fixed on that screen in something like mesmerized horror.
    "But not in the distant past," she continued intensely. "Washington was a careful man, before he died he put aside a large amount of information for someone to mail to my news desk should he suffer an unfortunate accident. Very interesting information, concerning Kyla McKay, also known as Lucky, of the Revolution, and her assault on one of the more prominent members of our business community."
    I heard Lucky's breathing at that point. She normally makes no sound.
    "The fact that the man may have had ties to organized crime is important, and can't be overlooked. But more important is the way that it was handled. Senator Ellis and your government have been acting to keep this information from you, hiding this assault with murderous intent to which she confessed. Put on trial behind closed doors, the news not informed. The tribunal in a structure more byzantine than has ever been used in this state before, and given this state's history, pre-Revolutionary War, that's saying quite a bit." Pause. "But the information that Washington sent along makes all of this even worse. Perhaps there was some legal precedent.
    "Except that Washington was attacked, the day before the trial was finished. Assaulted by members of a criminal organization, insisting that he throw the case or great physical harm would come to him. Because it was important that Lucky stay on the street, she was useful to their organization. Fortunately, Washington was a careful man, and his assailants weren't particularly bright. The conversation was tape recorded, and we're going to play it back."
    It was... hideous. The repeated sound of heavy blows, Washington's increasingly weaker cries of pain, the unfortunately clear voices of his attackers, making it very clear that Lucky was not going to go to jail. It seemed to take many minutes.
    I risked a glance at Lucky and saw tears on her face. I would never have believed that things were going to get even worse, but they did.
    "Now, Miss McKay's file was sealed after the events in Brooklyn, but we here at WBBS news have gone out of our way, made use of the Freedom of Information Acts, pressured people, knocked on doors, made sure that the information was brought to you," she told her public. "About Miss McKay's deep connections with organized crime, before she came to Boston. Her activities as a professional 'enforcer' and assassin for the New York Mafia. These are pieces of information on record, which the government had, Senator Ellis had, and kept from you. From the rest of the State Senate, when they were picking the team. Kept from the police force." Silence. Build that sense of betrayal. "How close are her ties to organized crime? How close? She for some reason, acting on someone's orders, made an attack on Vincent Guiliani. We have that on record, she confessed. Apparently she realized she made a mistake. Take a look at this footage, shot just yesterday."
    I closed my eyes. The security camera in the hospital room. Idiot, idiot, idiot.
    "How deep are this woman's ties to the Mafia? You have to ask yourself this question. Mr. Guiliani is no longer in direct police custody, he's out on bail, awaiting trial. This reporter can only wonder how extensive the investigation of Mr. Guiliani is going to be, given the recent violence in the city, given the recent activities since one of their own enforcers seems to be someone in his employ. These are things for the city of Boston to think about. Good evening."
    "Star Krunchies, they're really really neat...."
    No one said anything. No one moved, not even Scott. We tried not to listen as Lucky tried to control her breathing, without much success.
    "Well, Chandler was right," I murmured to myself eventually. Chaos.
    "Unpleasant woman," Hans commented in an approximation of his normal voice.
    The phone rang twice. No one else looked like they wanted to answer it. Please, let something be destroying the city, I found myself thinking.
    "This is Senator Wood," a woman's voice spoke, "I'm part of the commission that's supposed to be monitoring your... organization until such time as a permanent replacement in the Senate is put forward. I'm afraid that in light of recent information we have to rescind your license to operate while a full investigation is made." She hesitated. "You do, I hope, understand."
    "Understood," I replied evenly. "I'll tell the rest of the team."
    "Thank you."
    I set the receiver down gently. "That was Senator Wood. They've shut us down." When I gave that little speech on teamwork, this wasn't what I had in mind. "Well, I guess we'll have some leisure time," I suggested, hoping that black humor might be a small improvement on despair.
    "I'll make a statement tomorrow," Lucky said, almost inaudibly.
    "If you think we're going to throw you to the wolves of the press—" I started to say somewhat heatedly.
    "You have no choice. And it is not your decision," she snarled.
    "One for all, all for one," I shot back; she said nothing.
    By the end of the eleven o'clock news it was clear that the public wouldn't settle for Lucky's head alone, even if we were inclined to give it to them. We were equally tarred; throw 'em all out was the sentiment that came through quite clearly.
    No emergency alerts came. I'm not sure what we would have done. The city seems remarkably calm; no rioting, no one decided to go on a crime spree and take advantage of our suddenly hopeless position. In the spirit of getting the worst over with, I called Winters. She's... not pleased. Talking to Lucky left her even less pleased; I didn't hear much of their conversation, but I could clearly hear on this end when she slammed the phone down, cutting off whatever attempt at explanation Lucky hoped to make. Winters had family in New York. And the whole country knows the Mob was in it with the Coven.
    "Would you give me a lift to Chandler's?"
    "We'll think of something." I tried to sound confident. I have no idea what we're going to do.
    Yes. Very, very angry.

[Perspective switch: A Mystery]

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson