Chris Beaker
Chapter 3: I Fought the Law

Copyright© 2011 by Wandering Lanes

After I had the visit from Mr. Perkins I knew that I'd have to do something to protect my savings, they were all I had in the bank, now I knew something about programming but to get it into the banking system was a problem ... no it WAS a problem, past tense. Most banks nowadays have an internet system where you can move funds, set up payments and the like; it was all protected so that malicious people couldn't get into the system.

But firewalls and virus checkers were blind to the magic watchdogs that I could create and inject into the system. I thought carefully about what I needed and what they should do and ran a program on my computer, into that program I created the elements that would burrow into the banking system and keep an eye on things, they would allow normal transactions from shops and the like but would block any large transactions in or out of the account without a code from me.

I then logged into the computer system as if I was checking my accounts, all seemed normal and so I gave the mental command that sent Odin into the system, once there it changed a couple of pixels on the screen before it changed back to normal, I now had protection on the Bank.

The next few days passed normally, I managed to extend my time off as I was starting to set up the school of magic – only with five people at the moment but these things took time. I spent a few hours in martial art training and some more in magical training, fighting and defence with Shifu and Rose as my opponents. I wouldn't let Natalie or her mother, Martha, get involved with the fighting part, but I did give them some training in defence, woe betide anyone who tried to attack either.

Then one day two things happened, Odin reported that someone tried to remove all my money from the bank, which was blocked and the transaction flagged up as suspicious on the mainframe. The Bank phoned me to find out if I was expecting any transfers. I played it straight.

"What? No, I can't afford any such transfers. I must thank you for spotting it and I hope you find out who tried to do this." I said to the man on the other end (I think he was scratching his head as to how the system found it as well).

The next event was a ring on the door-bell, I was expecting Perkins to turn up again and so I was ready for him. But I was mistaken. "Mr. Beaker, it's the police." The man said.

I opened the door to find two men standing there, both had their warrant cards visible. "Mr. Beaker, I'm Detective Inspector Jarvis and this is Detective Constable Ashe." The DI introduced himself and his partner.

"Ah, well then why don't you come in, gentlemen?" I said opening the door for them. "Do you want a drink ... or do I take it that you're on duty?" I asked them

"No thank you sir. I'm sorry to trouble you but it appears that we've been having some problems with our paperwork." He said - I knew I forgot something but I didn't have access to the PNC system (Police National Computer).

"How so and why does it concern me?" I asked him wondering why he was here.

"You see I had a need to call on your file during last week and I decided to have it printed, but yesterday when I called it up again I noticed that the file on screen had been altered. It now showed you as a dangerous criminal with a fifteen year history of crime and violence." He said

"Oh dear, I must have been a terrible teenager." I said dryly but I wasn't too worried as from his attitude they weren't here to arrest me.

"That was my first impression when I read the updated file," The DI said equally dryly, "so I queried the information directly to the PNC, which is where we got the main data, when the file was checked it appeared that the update had been added over the weekend. That was during the maintenance period. The backup files were checked and found to be unchanged, so they have been restored..." He looked at me, "what I need to know just who have you upset over the past month?"

I laughed, "I don't know, I've been the victim of several attacks, the last of which was obviously meant to kill me, and then I was formally warned by a Mr. Perkins..." The DI and DC glanced at each other when the name was mention, " ... but I told him where to go, since then someone tried to empty my bank account the other day, but that was blocked. I must admit I was unable to protect the PNC but I don't have access to it." I said.

DI Jarvis looked puzzled; I didn't really blame him, "Unable to protect? Just what do you mean? No member of the public has access to the PNC it's blocked." He said accusingly.

"How can I explain this to you? Ah, yes. Constable could you examine all the doors and ensure you know where they go, I want to know if there is any way I could leave my bedroom and come out to the main hall just outside my apartment. DC Ashe looked at his DI who shrugged and then got up and checked all the doors, the only other door that would exit to anywhere was the kitchen that came out to a fire escape, all the other doors were only for the apartment itself.

"There's no other way out sir." Ashe reported.

I nodded, "That's correct, in fact the only door to that hallway is the front door I let you in by. Now I'm going to show you something." I said and got up from my seat, I went to my bedroom and turned on the light - I pulled the power from the electricity and then said. "If you'll answer the front door please Constable." I called out, closed my bedroom door and then I pictured the hallway; I muttered the travelling spell and so I was standing outside my door when Ashe opened it.

"Bloody hell! Where the blazes did you come from?" Ashe said, his mental balance was knocked askew as he saw me standing there. I walked into the hall where Jarvis was watching, he checked my bedroom and found it empty.

"No, I'm not in there Inspector, and yes I did travel from my bedroom to the front door, short trips are simple although still need power, I used the light in my bedroom, that's why it's on." I said and sat down.

"The Custody Sergeant in Bath, mentioned something in his report, about you saying you were a magician, but that was written off as just a throwaway line. But you sent that man to the cells in Bath, but why Bath Police station and not the local one?" Ashe asked, his face reflecting his name at the moment.

"Because the travel spell only works if you know where you're going, I'm glad to say I've never been inside the Police Station at Bayswater or they would have received the assassin. But I have been in Bath's." I said and then looked at the Inspector, "Well D.I. Jarvis? Do you have nothing to say?"

"I'm just wondering Sir, I've read the reports about your activities in Bath, how you were able to escape so easily from the cell, avoid the CCTV cameras, and everything else you did? Why didn't you just tell the Chief Constable what was happening and let him sort it out?" he asked.

I sighed this was going to be more difficult than I expected, "Hold on I need something to eat, and if you will you excuse me?" I said and went into the kitchen. Once there I closed my eyes and entered the library, "So what do I do now?" I asked the computer.

A spell was displayed to wipe the memory of a person, 'what about this?' the screen said.

I thought about it but then shook my head, "No, I want people to know about me, and I have to be able to work without constantly looking behind me to see if I'm under surveillance, because if they return to the station not knowing what was said someone would smell a rat.

'If all else fails then tell the truth.' Was the only advice that was given, 'but have you sensed the power that's in the DI?'

I was surprised as I hadn't noticed any... 'feedback' is the term I suppose, and so I opened my eyes to find Jarvis was watching me. "Are you alright Mr. Beaker?" He asked and I could feel that he had some power inside him, not a great amount; he would be what Sar'ha would call a hedge-mage.

"Tell me Mr. Jarvis, just how well do you do your job? What I mean is - if you are given a case that seems impossible do you manage to solve it? Even if you don't know how you solved it?" I asked him.

He looked slightly shocked, "Well, I do have a reputation at the station, but how would you know about that?" he asked.

I looked at him, "When you sleep do you sometimes find yourself in a library, the books are bound in Black, White or Yellow and when you open them you can't read them?"

"I don't know how you know that, but sometimes yes I do, it's always when I've got an impossible case, I think the books are showing me that there is chaos everywhere which is why I can't read them." he said

I smiled, "Next time you're there, just try saying the phrase 'translate' and see what happens. I think you have some power within you and that is what helps you solve your cases" I said and then a thought struck me. "If you don't mind my asking you ... are you married and do you have children?" I asked him.

He went defensive, "Why would you ask that?" He said.

"Don't worry, I'm not making any threats, just ask them if they've seen a library in their dreams, or if they know of Casper." I said watching him jump, "ah yes I see you know the name, I made Casper or several Casper's and I sent them out to find more young mages to teach how to use their power."

"You mean it's real? It's not just George's imaginary friend?" Jarvis was sounding shell shocked by now.

"They are real and if George is able to see him then he's got the potential to be a powerful mage." That is what I am, I found out how to use the library and to cast spells, and it was while I was learning those spells which led me to Dr. Wilkinson and then onto O'Neil. But I'm still learning how to use the power." I said.

Jarvis shook his head, trying to understand my words, "The Power?" he said capitalising the words.

"That's what I call it. I know another group calls it The Art, but I don't think you'd ever meet them. They showed me how to start and I helped them as well, so from there on things got interesting." I said with a smile.

"Interesting? But you're able to do all this, why couldn't you just stop them in the beginning, wouldn't that have saved some time." He asked seriously.

I shook my head, "I couldn't for two reasons. The first is that I wasn't sure how powerful I was and the second is I wouldn't do that without reason – but finally I realised that I was the only one who could stop them, it's the same reason why I don't just walk into a bank and take all the money. I could do it but why should I? The basic tenet of the Art is you cannot directly benefit from the effects of your magic, watch this." I said and created a pile of bank-notes which I thought to have for my own use.

Jarvis whistled in surprise, which brought Ashe into the kitchen. He looked at the pile of money and his eyes opened wide. "Just where the blazes did you find that Sir?" He asked.

I smiled, "Just check it out. Look at it properly." I said Jarvis took one note and examined it.

"But I don't understand, it looks like money, it's printed on the right sort of paper, the watermark is there ... but this is your face and you've got your tongue out, the writing says 'If you take this then you're stupider than you look' and it's even got a signature in your name. How did you manage this?" He asked.

"I pictured using this money for myself; this is the magic's way of stopping me." I cast the cancel spell and the money vanished. "Now if I was thinking of giving it to someone else for their use," I cast the same spell and the money appeared on the table again, "if you wouldn't mind checking that please Mr. Jarvis." I said.

"This is proper money; I mean anyone would accept it. But couldn't you make it for someone else and then have them pay you for it? Wouldn't that be doing the same as making it for yourself?" He asked.

I nodded, "Of course it would - you know that there are always loopholes in anything." I said and went on to describe the fight between Sar'ha and Red'n and how she used the magic to close the pit she had created which also killed the adept inside the pit. "You see magic cannot be used to directly cause a death, but it can do it indirectly which is why anyone using the Art should be of a particular temperament." I cancelled the spell and the money vanished.

Jarvis looked at me, "Could you kill someone, in cold blood that is?" He asked

I thought for a moment, "In cold blood ... no. But if I was defending myself then the answer would be yes. Oh, I'd try to stop them first, but if push comes to shove then I would want to be the one who stays alive." I said and knew I meant it.

Jarvis and Ashe left me for a moment while they had a discussion and then Jarvis returned to me. "We know about Perkins, officially he's a small time private eye who's been popping up in some cases." He said and paused.

"And unofficially ... I take it there's an unofficial side to this?" I said filling in the gap.

"Unofficially he works for a larger organisation ... have you ever heard of The Anderson Corporation?" he said looking at me.

I thought for a few minutes and then shook my head, "Can't say I ever have, what is it they do?"

"The Anderson Corporation is a conglomerate of several companies mainly dealing with security and data. They have also several private armoured car companies. They deal with information in the most part. If you need to know something and you can't find it out all you have to do is to apply to that firm and they can provide the data, we don't know where it comes from or how they get it. We've sent in people to check and all the time the reports come back clean ... too clean in fact." He said watching my face.

I frowned, "How can anything be too clean? Just what are you building up to?" I asked.

"We checked the reports from three of those we sent in ... they were word for word the same." He looked at me expectantly.

"Exactly the same ... that's impossible! Even people watching the same thing see something different, but to give exactly the same ... they've been brainwashed. That's the only answer." I said.

Jarvis nodded, "That's what we thought, but they'd only been inside the place for a day, that's not long enough to do that, the only way would be hypnotism which has been discarded, and so we're stumped."

"There is one other way that can be done, a way that you wouldn't normally think of," I said slowly, "and that is by magic."

Ashe made a noise, "But that's ridiculous, you can't really suggest that magic could make people see things or think in a certain way ... could you?"

I looked at him and shook my head, "You saw me enter a room, the next time I was at the front door. How do you explain that? Did I stop time and then walk pass you to the door? Did I cloud your mind to do the same? Or did I really disappear from one room to reappear in another? Well Detective Constable Ashe just what happened?" I asked him.

He thought for a moment and then shook his head, "I ... I don't know, it doesn't make any sense." He finally admitted.

I gave a small smile, "That's the problem Ashe, when you do see real magic it doesn't make any sense at all," I broadened my smile, "and that's how you know it's real magic, no illusions just magic." I turned my attention to Jarvis, "There is a way to erase people's memories and from that inference it would be possible to insert a memory, which is most probably what happened there. Do you know who could have done this?" I asked.

Jarvis shook his head, "None at all, they didn't remember seeing anyone, just went in, and they did a normal days work and then out again, no problems they said." He reported as if from memory.

I thought about it and then asked, "So what did they have for lunch? When they took their tea and coffee breaks what did they drink? Has anyone asked them about that? It's not the large items you should be asking about, it's the little mundane things and that is what you should concentrate on." I suggested.

He thought for a moment and then nodded, "Could be a way, if they can't remember what they had but are able to tell us about the main things it might point to something, I'll suggest that to the higher ups." He paused as another thought occurred to him, "I heard something about you being able to get out of handcuffs? Was that by using magic?" He asked.

"It was a childish display, just like the police cell I was locked into. I used a spell to unlock the cuffs and just handed them to the officer, the cell was just the same except on a larger scale." I said trying to play the thing down.

"You could make a fortune just breaking into places." Jarvis said almost jokingly.

"I could do, but I've not reason to. Can you think why I would need to?" I asked him seriously.

He seemed to study me and then shook his head, "I can't say that you would. Well, thank you Mr Beaker I won't say I understand what happened here, but I can tell that you're not the person that the new file said you were. If you have any problems then please contact me." He gave me a business card with his name and a telephone number; I noticed that the division he was attached to wasn't mentioned.

I showed him and DC Ashe out of the door and listened as they walked away, Ashe was worried, "Are you sure you should have told him anything ... couldn't he be part of..."

"I'm sure Ashe, there was something in his manner that told me, and he was right about those blasted dreams, I'm going to sleep on it tonight and see what happens." He said and then their voices faded with the distance.

I went back to my lounge and sat down thinking, 'So DI Jarvis has a library, I'd better ask Aristotle to allow me access to it, I'll ask Natalie to have a word with George ... how do I do that?' Then I realised how I could do that I closed my eyes.

Back in my library I gave a whistle and soon a white spark was hovering in the air in front of me. "Hello Casper, I need to have Natalie meet up with a boy called George Jarvis," the light in front of me grew brighter, "So you have met up with him, what's your opinion of him?" I asked.

In flashing images I was shown a nine year old boy watching in fascination as a Casper showed him how to use the books, finding the translate spell and starting to study more spells. Then the view changed to a school setting, three boys were bullying another boy and George was able to fuse their shoes to the ground, so that when they tried to run after the boy they fell flat on their faces, much to the amusement of the other children in the playground. I noticed that George didn't gloat over their downfall but just stayed in the background.

Another view of the boy was during a P.E. lesson where another boy had fallen down gashing his leg. George used a healing spell to staunch the blood and then helped the boy to walk to the nurse's office where he got treatment.

"So he's aware of his power and he uses it to help other people - that's good. So how will he cope when he meets another apprentice in the Art?" I wondered out loud. "Thank you Casper, if you can arrange everything?" I asked the light which bobbed and then vanished.

"It's amazing how people react when they learn to use the p ... power" I looked up as Ichabod entered my library and I had to smile.

"Indeed yes Ichabod, for some they would help the bullies for others they would show off their use of the Art, just to gain friends and respect, but George did neither, and the way he acted showed maturity beyond his years. I wouldn't be surprised if his power will exceed mine in the future." I said.

"And you don't feel threatened by that, the knowledge that you might be bettered by a youth?" Ichabod asked with a smile – his stutter had gone as well I noticed.

I shook my head and laughed out loud, "Threatened? No, not at all. I'd be happy to hand this over to a more powerful person." And to be honest it would be simpler if I was able to return to my mundane world of computer programming.

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