Chris Beaker
Chapter 4: Robbery, Assault and Battery

Copyright© 2011 by Wandering Lanes

I woke up refreshed the next morning, I had received a message from Aristotle that George and Natalie had actually got on quite well, they'd been acting as if they didn't like each other but, regardless of the three year gap between them, their powers were evenly matched. I think the food fight was their way of getting to know each other.

I was getting ready to go shopping again when the phone rang, I picked it up and found that D.I. Jarvis was on the other end. I was about to mention his library but realised that someone else was listening at his end.

"Mr. Beaker, your skill that you had at Bath, can you use it anywhere?" He asked after formally identifying himself.

"Yes ... I take it you're not alone?" I replied cautiously.

"That's right, we have a need for an expert lock-picker and we don't know of anyone else with your skill." He said.

I didn't need to think, I mean Jarvis wouldn't have called like this unless it was important. "Okay, I'll do it." I said.

"Without knowing what the problem is?" Another voice spoke over the line.

"I'm assuming this is urgent, so I'd be wasting time if I waited for particulars. Where do you want me?" I said ignoring the fact that this new person hadn't introduced himself.

"We're sending a car to your address, thank you Mr. Beaker." Jarvis said and as he hung up I heard him say, " ... I trust him and I know..." before the line went dead.

There was no mistaking the vehicle that was sent, blue lights flashing and a siren blazing away, the car screeched to a halt outside where I was standing. A policeman opened his window, "Are you Beaker?" he asked and when I nodded he gestured to the passenger door, "get in and belt up." (No he wasn't asking me to be quiet either).

I got into the car and had barely tightened the seat belt when we were away, still with the blues and twos running. "Do you think you'd be able to help sir?" The officer asked as he checked the road while accelerating.

I decided to be honest, "I've no idea, as you see I don't even know what's happening." I said.

He risked a second to look at me, "You mean you haven't heard the news? There was a bank robbery yesterday, but it went wrong. The manager and one of the perps got locked in the vault, it's got a time lock on it but the manager's the only one with the keys apart from head office and they can't find their copy. I was told that you're some kind of locksmith who can open it," he said and then looked worried, "but where are your tools?" He added noticing my empty hands.

"For some locks I don't need tools officer... ?" I looked at him questioningly

"It's Cox sir, like the apples," he said and before I could ask outright he added, "the others call me Cider."

I nodded, "It could have been worse, your name could have been Smith, then you'd be called Granny 'Smith' and he laughed at that but then he sobered.

"Do you think you'd be able to get them out? I mean the DI's put his job on the line considering the file that PNC has on you." Cox asked.

I frowned, "I thought the file had been restored to the true file?" I asked interested, had the false data been put back on?

But Cox shook his head, "Oh not that one, it's because you found a bent copper, some thought that it should have been handled internally, but with all the publicity there was no chance of that."

I shook my head, "I'm sorry about that but I wasn't the only victim, the others needed to know that the people were caught." I said to defend myself.

Cox waved his hand, "Oh I'm not one of those against you sir, I'm just letting you know that you might not get the reception you might have hoped for." He said.

"You think I was doing this for the advertising? So that's why I hadn't been told anything beforehand, but after what you've told me it's obvious. I take it we're going to a back door, away from any prying eyes?" I couched the statement as a question.

"Well it's a fire escape but it's away from the reporters, I was told to ensure that you had no time to make a statement." Cox said.

"Well you needn't worry about that, believe it or not, I'm not a publicity seeker." I said

We neared the town and Cox cancelled the siren and lights and then went down a back street to arrive at a non-descript door, he honked his horn twice and the door opened, I quickly ran inside to find a group of officers surrounding a senior officer and Jarvis, I approach them and was stopped by a uniformed man.

"Just where do you think you're going?" He asked me.

"I was invited to this shindig but if you don't want me here then you can tell your superior officer that you have taken it upon yourself to leave those people in there. But I'll tell you what, you'll be either pounding your beat for the next ten years, or you'll be on school liaison duty for the rest of your working life," I said with a smile and then added, "it's your choice, either let me do what I've been asked to do and if I fail you can throw me out ... or throw me out now and say goodbye to your pension."

He decided to stand to one side and I managed to get to DI Jarvis, I waited for him to see me and listened to what was being said. " ... if we manage to get that door open we don't know what condition the pair will be in, the perpetrator was described as being violent but we still don't know who he is as his accomplice won't tell us anything, only that this was supposed to pay for something. Now we're waiting on this mystery man to help us, he should arrive ... Oh, there you are!" I had finally been noticed.

"Okay so where is the vault?" I asked.

"Don't you have any equipment to bring in?" The man in charge asked.

"You didn't ask me to bring any! Look you told me this was urgent, let me see the vault and then we'll see if I can open it." I said looking at him.

"Take him there Jarvis, he's your responsibility, I don't know how you managed to convince me to do this."

"Trust me Chief Inspector; He knows what he's doing, how else could he walk out of a cell at Bath? We need this door open quickly and without hassle I'm certain he can do that.

The Chief Inspector brought his hands together and rubbed them, "That is something I'd like to see." He said but at that I had to shake my head.

"I'm sorry but I can't allow that, I have to work secretly." I said out loud which made the Chief Inspector bristle in annoyance.

"This is my crime scene and I'll say who can go where." He said.

"And you asked me to open the vault, which I will do, but I can't allow anyone to see how it's done." I said which sounded to me as if I was being a prima-donna.

"You're not going in there alone matey, if you can't open that door then you're not the man we need, so don't waste my time." The Chief Inspector said, his demeanour was now showing his anger at the situation.

"All I'm saying is that I don't need an audience, I'll let DI Jarvis stay with me to ensure that I don't take anything, will that be suitable." I asked trying to extend an olive branch.

The Chief Inspector didn't say anything but looked at Jarvis and then nodded, I think the tone of the look was 'if he doesn't do it then you're for the high jump'.

As we walked away Jarvis hissed to me, "Why the blazes did you do that? Do you know what I had to do to get you here?"

"I told you in the library that the power isn't to be just thrown about ad-lib, we need to keep this quiet until we are ready to show ourselves - at the moment we are just learning how to use the power. I agreed to do this because it's a good cause. Now watch apprentice and learn." I said, thinking about Obi Wan Kenobi and his student.

The vault room was not what I expected, I had pictured a large door with a spinning ships' wheel that would open the door, but this looked more like a doorway to a recessed wardrobe. I noticed a CCTV camera focused on the door.

"I suppose your Chief Inspector will be watching that?" I said indicating the camera.

Jarvis nodded "Are you going to hex that?" he asked softly.

It was tempting but I shook my head, "No let him watch this closely, he's not going to believe it and will want the tape to review again and again." I said equally quietly before I muttered the opening spell, I went to the door and acted as if I was studying it.

"Well what do you think?" Jarvis asked out loud.

I shook my head. "These can be tricky, I mean sometimes the locks just stick when the time clock releases the levers inside the lock, they can just take one thump at a spot and the door could just spring open." I answered equally as loudly

Then I struck the side of the door and pulled the handle down, the door opened to show the two occupants inside, one was badly injured and needed more treatment than anyone here could provide, the other one just had bruised hands.

"Is this the manager?" I asked indicating the injured man and Jarvis nodded seeing the state he was in.

"Shit, we can't leave him here can we?" Jarvis said running to the access door to get help.

I decided that there was no time to lose and just at that time the Chief Inspector came into the vault area I looked at him, "You didn't tell me that he'd been injured, he needs a hospital and now!" I said.

"We've got an ambulance on its way, he'll be treated." The Chief Constable said.

"No time for the ambulance." I said and drew on the power in the vaults electricity, held onto the manager and concentrated on the emergency room of the hospital.

Before me the bank vault dissolved and the last thing I saw was the shocked face of the Chief Inspector as the walls of the A & E Department appeared and an equally shocked nurse was watching me.

"Get a stretcher and a doctor, this man need urgent attention." I said quickly to get her attention; she shook her head and then gathered herself calling for a porter and then a doctor.

Both arrived quickly and the doctor took one look at the bank manager before he started barking orders and the manager was taken away to a side area where the doctor began working on him.

I didn't want to take any power from the hospital area and so I looked around for a vending machine, I had brought a chocolate bar and was eating it when the nurse came up to me, she was carrying a clipboard. "I need some information about the gentleman you brought in." She said looking concerned. "We need to know the man's name and how he got his injuries?"

I had to smile at that, "I'm afraid I don't know his name, he's the manager of one of the banks. What happened was that a customer took offence to being locked inside a vault with him and took it out on his body. He needed immediate attention and so I had to get him here as quickly as I could"

"But how did you get him to this hospital? It seemed to me that you just appeared but that's..." She broke off unable to say the word 'impossible'

"Unlikely isn't it, let's just leave it with the fact that he needed immediate help and the police didn't have the experts on hand, I decided to bring him here by the most direct route. Don't think about the details. If you need more information then contact the police and they'll be able to give you the information you need."

"Including how you managed to get him here?" She asked looking at me.

"To quote Queen, 'It's a kind of magic', please, let's leave it at that." I said seeing a police car arriving at the door, its blue light flashing and from out of it came Jarvis and the Chief Inspector.

"YOU, BEAKER! JUST HOW DID YOU DO THAT!" The Chief Constable called out only to be shushed by the nursing staff. "Just how did you vanish like that?" He said in a quieter voice but I could tell he was trying hard to hold his anger.

I needed to move away from here but had to explain to the Chief Constable about how I'd managed things. Reaching out mentally, I felt the electricity in the vending machine and pulled in into me, the machine darkened and stopped working, I took hold of the Chief Constable and concentrated on my apartment, everything went spinning and then we were there.

I ensured that when we arrived that we were sitting down, the Chief Constable in my sofa and myself in an armchair, I had to smile at the look on his face.

"This is what I did, pictured a place I knew and moved myself and the manager there, by doing it that way there was no sense of movement and so no increased injury to him. I can use a power that to some would be called magic." I said to him feeling the loss of energy, I reached to a lamp and pulled some of the electrical power from it, converting it to biological energy and sending it through me.

The Chief Inspector was watching me as I did this, "C ... can I ask what you just did?" He finally said.

"The use of the Power drains energy from my body, I could use the power from the planet, but just imagine what could happen if more people did that without thinking. Picture the Sahara Desert in the middle of London? That could be the result," I said, "But as the electricity is on the National Grid I just took it from the lamp and changed it to bio-energy so that I could absorb it and get refreshed without eating. Although I'm going to have to pay for this." I said.

He frowned, "You mean it takes it out of you?" He asked puzzled.

I shook my head, "No, I keep getting a large electricity bill, up by £50 this quarter alone." I told him.

"But you used that power to take the bank manager from the bank; but you could have waited for the ambulance to arrive." He pointed out.

I nodded, "Yes, I could have, but then he needed immediate attention, I wasn't sure what would have happened if we remained so I acted; I knew I could take him to the hospital, just as I brought you here the same way I sent that would-be assassin to the cell in Bristol."

"Yes, why Bristol why not to the nearest police station cell?" He asked.

"There's a deficiency in the spell, I need to picture the place I'm going to so it has to be somewhere I've been before. Cell 9 was where O'Neil had me placed in Bath, and so I used that." I said and then shivered. "If I wasn't able to use the lock-picking spell, I'd still be there where O'Neil could do anything; I'm not really fond of the police, especially after the locals' reaction to me." I said

"So why did you agree to help us? There are rumours that you're just an attention seeking mad-man who would pose for any cameras around." He said, but I could tell that his heart wasn't really in the question.

I pulled out my phone and showed it to him. "This I created while in the same cell at Bristol, I have all the numbers I need in here, including all the television and radio stations. If I wanted, I could have phoned in my location as soon as I arrived at the bank ... I didn't. I will at some stage need to advertise for people to help me, but am I going to come out and say how I did these things? ... I mean, would you believe me if I said I used magic?"

The Chief Constable snorted. "Of course not ... so what is the answer for your powers?" He finally asked.

I created a fireball that I began to spin in the air. "I use the Art to help others in their efforts. I can defend myself and fight back where necessary, but should I try to use the power for my own greedy benefit then it will backfire on me."

The Chief Constable looked at me puzzled, "What do you mean, backfire?"

I mean that I might conjure up a poison to land on a victim and either they receive just plain water, or I might become the target of the poison instead. I'm not sure why this is; it's possible that it's the natural law of the land - to ensure that those with good intentions are more likely to cast the correct spell."

He snorted at that, "Yes, and the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. So you can't cast a spell to kill me directly? What if you created a vial of poison to use on me?" He asked.

I nodded, "Yes, directly there is no comeback from the magic as it only dealt with the creation of the poison, it wasn't involved in the subsequent use. Just a direct magic cannot be used to kill a person."

He jumped on that immediately, "You said direct magic ... what about indirect magic?" It was surprising that he could talk casually about magic at all, given his fast introduction to the fact.

I went through the story of Sar'ha and Red'n and how she used three spells to trap and finally kill her opponent, I ended with, "So yes, the Art can be used to kill, although only indirectly, a deadfall, a deep hole, or even creating a fish tank full of water around a person. Yes it can kill, I can kill should the need call for it, but I'd much rather save a life than waste it." I said seeing where he was going with his thoughts.

"So coming back to my question, why did you agree to D.I. Jarvis' request, you could have ignored it?" He asked.

I nodded, "Yes, I could have, but I want to have friends in the police and if I can show myself to be dependable, well then they might begin to trust me."

His eyes narrowed at my words, "And just why would you think that you'll need the police? What are you planning?" He asked me.

"I want to create a school, for children and adults who can use the Power or the Art or whatever you want to call it. I'm going to need some place where the creation and use of fireballs would be ignored. Failing that, if the police are aware that strange things are going to happen then they will be able to defuse any complaints that might arise," I said, creating a pot of tea and two cups in front of us, I poured out a cup for me and one for him, "milk or sugar?" I asked and receiving a request for milk and no sugar this was soon added. "You see there is also a finer control for the Art, some months ago I couldn't even do this, but I've learnt and I want to teach others to do the same."

"And where is this school going to be?" The Chief Constable asked while I sipped my tea.

I shook my head, "I've no idea. I was going to start looking around for something when I got the phone call from Jarvis, talking of which..." I picked up my cell phone and pressed a call number, I listened for the answer before I handed the phone to the Chief Constable.

"Hello ... Jarvis? Yes, yes I'm fine, I'm with Mr. Beaker ... Nothing, we're just in conference at the moment. How's Richardson? ... Yes ... yes ... good, prognosis? ... That's excellent. I'll be back soon at the Station?" he looked at me and I nodded, "Good I'll see you there." He hung up and handed the phone back to me.

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