Detective Flass runs afoul of the Court of Owls' plans leading him into a trap.
Earth-3 A Long Halloween
Vol I the Court of Owls
James Gordon was amazed at how quickly the process of being transferred to Paris had gone. A number of favors had to have been pulled by his bosses back in Marseille, still, he was back in his hometown with the rank of detective inspector as if he had never left. He wondered how long that would last given how he left Paris so long ago. There were still quite a few of his older colleagues still working, and each and every one of them gave that look out of the corner of their eyes that asked ‘can he be trusted?’ Gordon was certain this lead to him being paired with Detective Inspector Arnold John Flass. He wondered if that was part of Thomas Wayne’s plans. Of course, at this point, he really didn’t fully know what was going on, only that Wayne had power over him and he was far more scared of what Wayne would do to him than the judicial system.
Following his instructions he didn’t object to his partner and accepted the reasoning of being away from Paris for so long. He was certain that Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb was using the situation to spy on him, to find out what caused Gordon to leave Paris in the first place and finally why he returned. Gordon was on a tightrope and he had no idea how he would get out of the situation. As the city lights passed by the car Detective Flass drove, he couldn’t see the lights of the city, only Thomas’ growing grip over him.
“Did you miss it?”
The voice pulled Gordon out of his gloomy thoughts. “Yes, I did. Marseille is a wonderful town if you enjoy a seaport but it doesn’t hold a candle to Paris. Once you’ve seen the lights here it is difficult to go elsewhere.” Gordon gave his partner a weary smile, “Even more so if you grew up here.”
“Some of us have been wondering why you left. The old timers wouldn’t say or maybe they didn’t know either. I mean Marseille is a nice port but the rumors coming out of that city. Well, we always hear about the Marseille families and their connections with the departments down there.”
“Just rumors just like all those rumors of secret caches of gold left by Mediterranean pirates. The Families do have a lot of influence and it is seen throughout the southern Mediterranean states but to say they own the government is a little far-fetched.” Unsaid, Gordon knew how much power really possessed. The best comparison was an iceberg, there was so much more corruption under the water. The southern families, however, were very good at hiding these connections and Gordon was certain it would take a herculean effort to root them out of their current positions. “A lot of people in the south think it has to do with the war and how badly the reconstruction went. It happened so long ago but there is still a lot of resentment in some areas. It is much worse in further south in the Spanish states. As for why I left it had to do with Barbara’s family.”
There was a certain amount of truth in that statement; the Essen clan had accepted him which helped with the escape and move to Marseille. She had always resented Paris and having to move there even if she was madly in love with him and the move back to her hometown brought a measure of peace back into their marriage. “Coming back also had something to do with family, they passed on not that long ago and well some time away from Marseille is likely to help repair the loss from their passing.” It wouldn’t do to tell Flass the hand Gordon had in his on parents in law’s death and covering up that fact afterwards.
“Life goes on doesn’t it, I heard on the rumor mill that congratulations are in order as well.”
“That is one bright spot in the situation. He should be joining us sometime this spring if everything goes well. He won’t be alone; my niece will be joining us as well. The families want her to stay with them until Roger passes. It’s been hard on her as well. Confusing as well, as her name is Barbara too, named after our grandmother.”
Something caught the corner of his eye and he found himself drawn by a youth walking the streets with an owl like masquerade mask on the top of his head, the youth was looking right at him passing some sort of signal Gordon hoped he remembered from the briefing Richard Grayson gave him. He was instructed to look for opportunities to give the Court of Owls an in on the various policemen he would be working with. He was told that there would be Talons, a rank of some sort, who would assist in this mission overtly and covertly.
“That is something new.” Flass clarified after seeing the look of confusion on his partner’s face. “The owl masks, part of a community group that has been helping monitor the various district. For the most part, they just keep an eye on things. It is useful to have people involved in the community, but for some reason, it just seems strange. They don’t have leadership but they are far too organized to be the grassroots groups that they claim to be. We’ve tried to sneak an undercover or two into the group but that hasn’t turned up anything much to speak about and the officers in question seem to have a glowing report about the various groups they do infiltrate. If they can help you should make a contact or two but just be careful, they aren’t professionals.”
Two lights after they passed by the youth with the owl mask he saw a couple down the street at the entrance of an alley, the young woman had an owl mask loosely held in her hand. The woman was looking right at him and when she was certain she had his attention she stowed the mask away and the two began to struggle. Gordon was certain Flass hadn’t seen the mask or the signal so he coughed to get his partner’s attention. “Is the nightlife normally like this?”
Flass swore as he reached to the dash to press a button triggering the hidden lights and sirens on the car. “Bullock will have to wait, call it in.”
Gordon grabbed for the two-way and filled the description of the incident leaving out the owl mask, it was a simple set up and he wondered how they were going to handle this. As Flass brought the car to the corner of the road the young man dragged the woman further into the alley. From Gordon’s perspective, she was fighting back as hard as she could. Was the Young man in on this as well or was he a dupe?
Flass shouted at the youth to freeze where he stood and release the girl. The distraction bought her enough time to knee him knocking him off balance and towards the wall. As the girl began running for all she was worth Gordon’s attention was brought immediately to the gun in the young man’s hand. Flass shouted for the young man to drop the gun but he brought it downward pointing it at Flass. Time seemed to move slowly as the youth brought the gun to bear on Gordon’s partner. He watched as the young man’s finger moved pulling the trigger and heard the bark of a pistol. A single police standard revolver rang out in the alley as the look of surprise spread on the face of the young man.
Gordon dashed forward as the youth fell while Gordon noted where the Pistol skidded to a stop. Flass was next to him a moment later and in a moment that his attention was diverted by the still fleeing girl Gordon took snatched up the pistol tossing it down a nearby drainage, Flass didn’t see a thing. He couldn’t have between the girl and checking the youth only to find it was too late, the bullet from Flass’ gun went high and had struck the youth squarely in the forehead. There was no way he could have survived. As Flass called in the incident, Gordon searched the youth for some form of identification. He found it a moment later and opened the youth’s wallet, twenty-year-old, Cyrus Gold.