“I’m confused.” Genevieve began.
“I’m sure you are.” Hughes interrupted.
Patrick smacked him on the arm for disrespect. “I’m sorry Miss Genevieve, please continue.”
The carriage was jostled by stones on the path. The shaking quickly came to an end and Genevieve continued. “If you’ve already taken down two sites of the GTN, which I’m sure is a huge feat in itself, then why isn’t it all over town? Word is that you aren’t really doing anything.”
Hughes sighed before replying. “It’s simple, really. The way we’ve taken them down is by tricking them. If we start spreading around that we were setting up traps, then we would never make any headway and our plans would be ruined.”
“Then how have you covered up what happened at the sites, like the warehouse. It looked like a war took place.”
“Simple, it was a warehouse. We said that it was a chemical explosion. Tragic really, now so many people will be out of a job. Boo hoo, how dreadful.” Genevieve grimaced. She remembered why she wasn’t so fond of Hughes in the first place, good detective or not.
“Enough bickering, you two. We’re here, so let’s go on inside.” Patrick asserted. Sure enough, while Genevieve and Vincent were talking, the carriage had arrived outside of Portsmith Authorities. The building was not as large as she had thought, but it was much larger than her home, and Genevieve couldn’t help but blush. She began to second guess her decision,but shook her head. She had made her decision, and she would stand by it. Genevieve accepted Patrick’s hand as she stepped out of the carriage.
The three made their way inside as the man driving the carriage pulled it into a larger door meant for such things. They moved throughout the building and towards a small but well-defined office. They sat down at a desk, Hughes behind it while Genevieve and Patrick in front. Hughes folded his hands and sat them on top of the desk.
“So, now that we’re here, is there anything else you’d like to know before we, ‘batten down the hatches,’ so to speak?”
Genevieve thought for a moment before replying, “Yes, actually. I know this may seem silly, but how exactly does the GTN operate? It’s just, if I’m going to get kidnapped by criminals, I’d like to know my bearings.” Hughes didn’t bother to hide himself rolling his eyes.
“Luckily, I’m just the man to talk to about that.” Hughes rummaged through his desk before he pulled out a folder that was filled to the brim with papers. He sat the folder on his desk and continued. “As--I hope--you know, the Global Trade Network isn’t really a center at all as it’s spread all over the globe in every country and every city. There is no ‘boss man’ or ‘top dog’ of the GTN; the market is run by numerous mob leaders in the area. Think of it like a country that is run by multiple lords because they own land in specific areas. We have no idea how many different mob leaders there are, hundreds maybe even thousands.”
He pulled out a thin stack of papers from the folder and handed them to Genevieve. “Cain Erickson is the mob leader of the section of the GTN in Portsmith. Basically, he overlooks all of the sites, like the warehouse you were taken to; he overlooks his stiff and arranges auctions/purchases. If we take him out, the whole system will fall. We hope that the next few sites that we take down will have him in them.” Genevieve flipped through the documents. They were information on Cain’s background, but most of them held the same amount of information, very little. There were no pictures or numbers, just crimes that were never proven.
“If the Global Trade Network is so massive, then why hasn’t anyone been able to do anything about it?” Hughes’ eyes narrowed at her statement. “Not that I’m insinuating anything, just... curious.”
Patrick took this moment to step into the conversation. He turned to Genevieve and said, “Although the GTN is massive, it is also extremely intricate. Their low henchmen are, how you say, recycled very often. The lower levels work in one section, like Portsmith, for a few weeks, then are moved on to the next. No one stays, they all leave with their group. In other words, once you join the GTN, you join for life. You give up your home and any friends or relatives that you may have.”
“Oh, I see. That would make it difficult to find. Wait, then how do you know where to send me in order for the henchmen to see me?”
“We spoke with family members of victims to see where they last went missing to get a general idea. Now that two of their sites have been condemned, they’ll be out looking for more merchandise anyways. It’d be pretty difficult not to catch their attention at this point.
“I suppose that makes sense. So, what do we do now? Do you just want me to walk around? Sorry, I’m just a bit new to the whole, ‘bait and trap’ criminals thing.”
“Of course we’re not going out now. You haven’t even met the rest of the people working on the case. I may be good, but I’m not a miracle worker. Here, Inspector Harris will introduce you to everyone while I complete the necessary paperwork for our endeavor. Once you’re all done getting cozy-feely, we can do a walk through of the plan.” Genevieve frowned, but followed Patrick out of the office without a word.
Genevieve followed Patrick through a hallway back to the main room where they had entered. She saw a few policeman that she hadn’t noticed before. Were all of them on this case as well? Now that she thought about it, there had been a large amounts of carriages at the GTN warehouse the day before. Patrick and Hughes couldn’t have driven all of them theirselves. Patrick lead her to yet another male. He was situated under a desk looked and far too skinny and lanky, but his features were decent. His hair was short and black and he was well dressed, although he was a bit disheveled at the moment.
“Miss Genevieve, this is Harry Campbell. Harry Campbell, Miss Genevieve. He works on the magical aspect of this team.” Mr. Campbell went to stand up, but hit his head in the process. He backed up from the desk and tried again successfully. The man was much taller than Genevieve had previously thought, in fact, he almost towered over her. Mr. Campbell’s eyes were a warm brown that were framed by thick, black glasses. He looked at Genevieve and smiled.
“Oh, hello Genevieve. It’s an honor to meet you.” He grabbed the young girl’s hand and shook it profusely. “Inspector Harris has spoken non stop about you since yesterday. You’re quite lovely. Tell me, is it true that you have white blood?”
Genevieve nodded as he let go of her hand. “Oh this is marvelous! I’ve heard and read so many things while studying and such, but I’ve never actually met one before! Not that that’s the only reason I’m glad to meet you, oh no. I’m sure that you’re very nice and you’re quite lovely and--”
Patrick interrupted the man. “Alright, Campbell, that’s enough.”
“It’s very nice to meet you as well, Mr. Campbell.”
“Oh please, Genevieve,” he shook his head. “Harry will do just fine.” Genevieve nodded and went to meet the rest of the members with Patrick.
He introduced her to another man, Percival, who was the obvious bronze of the team. He wasn’t nearly as tall as Harry was, but he was definitely more defined. It was hard not to notice his large muscles through his clothing. Despite his harshness, he was a complete gentlemen to Genevieve, which she was thankful for. It appeared to her that Harry and Percival were actually quite close. The thought alone made Genevieve smile.
To her surprise, the next and last person she met was a woman. She was introduced as Gillian Thompson, a name that Genevieve found quite beautiful. Patrick said that Gillian’s role was one of intelligence. She gathered all of the information she could, snooped around, and spied. For some reason, Gillian was quite rude to Genevieve and she couldn’t understand why. Had it been something she said, or did? Perhaps it was just Gillian’s personality. After all, Genevieve wasn’t always the nicest person, and she had her moods.
“Okay guys, back into Inspector’s office. We need to plan… well the rest of the plan.” Patrick said once all of the introductions were made. Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and followed Patrick to Hughes’ office. The five of them sat down around Hughes’ desk. Said man was filing away the paperwork he had just finished, but left out a few papers.
“Genevieve, this is your contract. You’ll need to sign it in order to work with us. All that it says is that you’ve volunteered of your own free will to help, even though you have no formal training. It also says things about how Portsmith Authorities isn’t responsible for any injuries that you may receive and so on and so forth. Your pay will be 500 francs for each site that you help take down.” Hughes explained.
Genevieve was shocked to say the least. If there were at least 3 sites left, that was 1,500 francs! That would be enough money to last her months, if not a year if she was smart with it. Now that she knew how much she would be making, the decision was almost innate. Sure it was dangerous, but Hughes had promised that she wouldn’t get hurt and she really needed that money.
“Oh,” Genevieve was brought from her musings by Hughes. “Now that we have everyone together, I’d like to ask you about the extent of you white blood. What exactly does it do?”
Genevieve felt everyone’s eyes on her and took a moment to respond. “Well, I’m not entirely sure myself since I really don’t try to mess with it. By my understanding, my blood keeps my body from dying of any natural causes, like old age or sickness. My body ages normally when I’m young, but as I get older it slows down until it stops completely. Right now I look as if I’m in my mid to late teens, but I’m actually twenty-three. It’ll get to the point where I stop aging at the appearance of my mid twenties, when I’m in my forties. I quite strange, actually, now that I think about it.”
“Anyways, I can still be hurt physically. I actually think I’m hurt more physically since my body’s working so hard to not to perish from natural causes. A scrape on someone’s knees would be a pretty bad skin to me. A simple cut becomes a gash. It’s not really that bad, but I still try to avoid anything like that, especially since I don’t want people to see my white blood. It also takes a while to heal injuries. I can’t get addicted to anything though, since it’s technically an illness.”
“The only other thing I know is that if someone drinks my blood on a regular basis, say around a pint every few weeks, then they’ll gain immortality too, although the aging is faster for them. My blood is something I have plenty of, however, so it’s not really that much. I hope that helps.” Genevieve finished. She could see Harry writing down what she had said in a small notebook that he kept in his jacket. She smiled at his enthusiasm for knowledge. Everyone else was silent, digesting what they had just learned.
“Alright.” Hughes began. “Thank you. Now that we have that out of the way, we need to figure out how we’re going to take down the next site.”