Star Performance
Chapter 05

Copyright© 2011 by Ernest Bywater

Sydney

The trip to Sydney from the rural city they now live in is about half a day’s drive, but Hal wishes to arrive early and refreshed on the day. So they leave home just after lunch on January 19th and they’ll be staying at a nice hotel in the Blue Mountains just short of Sydney. They’ll finish their trip the next morning. They all want to go, so they’re taking both cars. Hal prefers this because it gives them some transport back up for any potential problems on the way there and on the way back. It also gives them some flexibility of private transport around Sydney. The initial distribution in the vehicles has Liz, Else, and Freda in The Blue Beast with Jo, Jenner, Julie, Greta, and Hal in The Black Beast while Hal and Freda are driving. When they stop in the mid-afternoon Liz switches places with Jo. Liz and Else drive the rest of the way to the hotel. All of them enjoy the five star luxury of the hotel they stay in.

The next morning they get up to have a good breakfast before they leave to be just in time to follow the tail end of the peak hour work traffic into Sydney. Jo, Else, and Freda are in The Blue Beast. When they near Parramatta Jo rings Hal to tell her the three in The Blue Beast wish to go visit some other places while Hal and company go to Little China. They’re checking if anyone wishes to swap vehicles to go with them. There’s no passenger changes so they agree to meet at the hotel in Parramatta later in the afternoon because Hal expects to be tied up until late in the afternoon.

Chinese Checkers

When they enter the local area known as Little China the girls in The Black Beast are very interested in the way the signs and streets change character. The name Little China isn’t an official name or title, just what the locals started calling it some years earlier. A lot of Chinese migrants started to settle in and around the small shopping centre in this suburb. As time went on more Chinese settlers bought the houses nearest this centre of shopping catering to the Chinese. There is an area in the inner Sydney area known locally as China Town, but the area around Dixon Street is almost all commercial and it’s more of a Chinese commercial and entertainment area. Little China is a set of shops in the middle of a residential area so it’s got less of the contrived commercial look to it and it has a more natural feel. Even so, the traffic in the shopping section is heavy like in all local shopping centres and parking is at a premium.

Hal spots a parking spot just a few shops past his first destination so he directs Liz to the spot. While she parks he has a better look around the street, and he isn’t happy with some of the things he sees. They have to walk about one hundred metres back to their destination.

Not liking the look of some of the people on the street Hal turns to the girls, “Look, there’s a few people out on the street I don’t like the look of. Stay here in The Beast with the doors locked until I come back and say you can get out. I’ll just go and check things out.”

“Hal, will you be OK doing that?” Liz asks, “If the trouble is racial or ethnic based you may be more vulnerable than I am.”

He smiles and surprises them with, “If it’s a racial, ethnic, or cultural based problem I’ll be a lot safer than you are. I’m known and well liked here.” While their eyes go wide he gets out of the van and he shuts the door behind him. While he waits to hear the door lock, which it does, he slips a ring onto the ring finger of his left hand. The ring is a sapphire with a white Chinese dragon holding a child inset into it. This ring was presented to him by a very prominent member of the local Chinese community nearly four years ago and it helps to identify him as someone the local Chinese Community sees as a special person.

When Hal walks down the street he nears several young men who look hard and tough. They’re giving a very old Chinese lady outside a shop about halfway to his destination a very a hard time. His approach is noted by the young men. A few of the other shopkeepers and locals see him too, and some start to whisper amongst themselves.

Using a friendly voice Hal asks, “What’s the trouble, Granny Mă?”

The old woman turns to Hal with very wide eyes. The young man nearest her pushes her back down on her seat, “You go nowhere, old woman, not until you pay up the rent you owe.” Hal is still moving closer to the woman and he’s almost beside her.

Song Mă looks up at the young man, “I’ve told you before. I rent nothing from you or the jackal you serve. You’ll get no rent from me.”

The young man snarls while he draws a knife from his pocket, “I told you the last time, pay up for renting the street access to the shop or we cut you. You’ve not paid, so we’ll see how you like being cut.”

The young man talking has his back to Hal because he’s sure his many friends will stop Hal doing much. Hal left his cane in the van and the young men had all seen Hal limping down the street so they think he’s no trouble. On reaching the pair just as the young man swings his arm back with the knife Hal reaches out to grab him by the back of the shirt collar and his belt. Hal heaves the young man up and backward while he spins on his right foot. Hal lets go of him after turning to face the street, thus heaving the man through almost two hundred and seventy degrees. The young man’s friends draw their own knives when they see Hal reach out and they move faster toward him. The one Hal is holding has his feet about a hand’s width above ground and is facing toward the street when Hal lets go of him. The man is travelling fast when he passes through the circle of his approaching friends then he comes to a very sudden stop as he slams face first into the light pole on the edge of the footpath. All hear a crunch when he hits the pole and he wraps around the steel pole.

The first of the other five men reaches Hal just as a van pulls up in the street and six more hard looking young men get out, drawing knives while they charge across the road. In his own van the girls are scared for Hal so Liz calls the police on her mobile phone to tell them about the many men with knives attacking her cousin in the street. She gives the rough location in South Street by giving the street number of a shop opposite. The police promise to send cars and ambulances to help them and they warn the girls to stay in the van for their own safety.

Liz turns back to watch the fight, and she gets the biggest surprise of her life. All the girls go very wide-eyed while they watch the short fight.

Hal doesn’t try to punch his way out of the fight since he figures he needs to clear a space around him. So when the first attacker reaches him Hal knocks the arm with the knife to the side, grabs the man by the front of his shirt and his belt then he heaves him up and away as hard as he can. The man is lifted up to head height and thrown into the side of the brick shop front. Hal smiles on hearing bones snap when the man hits.

The next two arrive together. Hal knocks a knife arm away when he hits the man hard in the centre of the chest to hear bones break just as he feels a sharp pain in his left side. As that man is knocked backward away from him Hal turns more toward his left. He sees a smiling Chinese man holding a knife stuck in Hal’s side. Hal reaches down to grab a tight hold of the hand on the knife with his left hand because he doesn’t want the man to move the knife about. His right hand comes around to grab the man’s arm just above the elbow. After a little more pressure there’s a loud crunch when Hal breaks the man’s elbow. The man screams while Hal pries the fingers off the knife before punching him in the face. However, the man moves and takes the punch to his throat. Hal looks up to see who’s next. He smiles on seeing one of the attackers trying to move back and throw up at the same time. Granny Mă is holding her broom with the bristles to her while the end is shoved into the man’s stomach so he’s doubled up over it and not looking well.

Hal’s smile widens when he takes in the wider picture. He can now see what surprised the girls a moment ago. When the extra young men came from the van the locals came out of their shops to swarm over them. One on one the locals are no match for any of the young men. But there are so many of them and all of are wielding brooms and anything they could grab. Like a swarm of locusts they descended on the young men to bash them as hard as they can. When the men go down they get kicked.

Police sirens can be heard approaching the scene. Hal gives out an odd loud screech. It has an odd singsong pattern to it but it can be heard above the noise of the melee. When the noise level goes down he calls out in English and then in Mandarin, “It’s over, run away, get out of sight before the police arrive to arrest you. Go.” They all stop to look at him for a moment. Suddenly the street is empty except for Hal, the downed thugs, and Granny Mă.

Four police cars arrive from four directions with each racing in from a side street. They come to a halt. A moment later three ambulances turn into the street. All of the emergency vehicles drive to the combat area and stop. When the police get out to look at the many downed thugs they shake their heads in wonder while they try to work out what happened.

Hal calls out, “This woman and I need medical attention, please.” Two paramedics race to them while a few more start checking the thugs in the street. One looks up and speaks to a policeman before moving onto the next. Looking at one of the cops Hal calls out, “Can you please go up to the black Tarago van to tell my friends in the van I’ll be going to hospital and they should go there now?”

“They’ll need to be interviewed about what happened!”

“So will I, but I’m sure we can all be interviewed while the doctors treat me at the hospital.” The cop nods his head yes and he goes to the van. He gets the names of the girls for his notebook and he offers to lead them to the hospital when he goes there in a few minutes. Liz accepts the offer of a guide.

In a few more minutes Hal and Granny Mă are in an ambulance being taken to hospital. There’s not much they can do for Hal until they get an x-ray and they know what internal damage has been done. But they do monitor him all the way because they’re worried about internal bleeding. Granny Mă’s cut isn’t that bad, but it needs some stitches so she’s going to the hospital to get that done. When their ambulance pulls out Hal can see only two of the thugs being loaded into an ambulance while the rest are being covered with blankets where they lie.

Hospital

On the way to the hospital Hal calls Greta to tell her, “Tell the others not to give any statements until I say they can, please.” She agrees to tell them and they agree to keep quiet until then. When they arrive at Westmead Hospital Emergency Room Granny Mă and Hal are taken to treatment rooms. The team dealing with Granny’s cut soon have it cleaned, stitched, and bandaged. Meanwhile Hal is taken for x-rays and returned to ER. They need to operate but Hal is not in any immediate danger or dying and he’s still under eighteen. Thus the hospital needs some forms signed by his parents before they can operate.

Hal asks, “Does Doctor Mason still work here?” The nurse admits he does still work there. “Good, get him to come down to sign the papers.” She gives him a strange look. “A few years ago I was here for some work on my knee. At the time Doctor Mason was given a power of attorney to authorise medical treatment for me. It wasn’t time limited and it hasn’t been withdrawn. So he’s still authorised to approve anything I need in the way of medical treatment.” The nurse goes to her desk to make a phone call.

A few minutes later a very short and dumpy man in a doctor’s white coat walks in, “Well, Hal, what have you done now? I suppose we have to rebuild your knee again!”

“No, Stoney, this time it’s a knife wound and they need approval to operate.” He pulls out his wallet to extract a list of medications. He shows it to Dr Mason, “This is my current list of drugs.”

Dr Mason reads the list while he slowly shakes his head then he looks up and says, “You’re not going to like this.”

“I know already, I was warned when they made the last set of changes a few months back. No general anaesthetic at short notice. The cutter will have to go in while I’m awake with only a local.” The girls had arrived soon after Hal did and they’re standing in the room listening. They all go a bit pale and wide-eyed as Hal is casually talking about having his side cut up while he watches and is wide awake. Ouch!

Dr Mason and a couple of other doctors have a short discussion before he’s happy and he signs off on the papers. He gets Hal to sign beside his name as proof Hal knows what was happening and agrees to it all.

One of the doctors starts to give Hal a number of local anaesthetics around the site of the wound. It’s not easy since they haven’t removed the knife yet. It’s been left in until he’s in the operating theatre since it’s blocking some of the damaged areas from causing any more infection or internal bleeding. While they ready him for surgery Hal asks, “Can Greta scrub up and come in as well. I think I’ll need some moral support for this one, and having my girlfriend hold my hand should help.” The doctors smile and nod their agreement. She smiles as well.

Ten minutes later Hal is lying on the table in the operating theatre when the doctors start to operate. He has a strong hold on Greta’s hand while he looks at her and she’s squeezing his hand while she watches the doctors at work. She wants to be a doctor when she’s older and she’s fascinated with the operation. It’s funny, in a way, Hal doesn’t want to watch and she does. But holding her hand and looking at her helps him to deal with the situation. The local anaesthetics deaden the area a lot but he can still feel them at work, it’s just not very painful to him.

Outside the operating theatre the policeman is having a hard time getting the girls to tell him anything. He puts it down to them being worried about what’s going on in the theatre so he tells them he’ll be back and heads off to deal with some other aspects of the case.

Just over an hour after entering the operating theatre Hal is being wheeled out. The doctors have sewn everything back up. No serious damage, but a few things were nicked and needed to be repaired, which they did. Dr Mason says, “Not like new, but almost as good as, and will be like new in about seven weeks when it’s all healed, Hal. See your local doctor when you get back home and have him decide when to take the stitches out. In the meantime, no major exercise or you’ll destroy our work. Try to take things easy for a while. In an odd way this damage was more serious than your first visit, even if it is a lot less. Take care my young friend. We’ll keep you until lunchtime tomorrow.” Hal nods to show he understands then he’s taken to the recovery ward.

Recovery Room

Once Hal is set up in a bed in the recovery ward with monitors the girls come in to see him. Song Mă is with them, she’s first to speak, “Well, Bailong, I see your visits are still as dramatic as before! How long are you here for?”

“Granny, it’s not my fault you attract vermin to your shop. I came to be on hand for the start of the New Year celebrations. I felt I should be here since it’s the start of the Year of the Dragon.” She gives a slow nod in reply. “What were those vermin up to, Granny?”

“About six months ago some evil men moved into the area. They do some sort of odd business from a table in the White Dragon. Those men force people to pay them money so they won’t be harassed by them. That has started up only last month. The young men work for the evil men. There’s three evil ones with about twenty of the young men.”

“Hmm, I must speak with Jun Bao Wáng, Zhu Wáng, Ji Wáng, and the senior members of the local committee about this. When you get back to your shop please arrange for them to visit me today.”

She nods, “Yes, Bailong. I’ll do as you ask. They’ll be here to see you later today or early tonight. Knowing Jun, she and her father will be here as soon as they know where you are. By now they must know you’ve returned to us, even if it’s for a short visit.” The girls give him an odd look while this talk takes place. Granny Mă turns and leaves the room to go home. Like most of the shop owners she lives above her shop.

The girls spend the next few minutes reassuring themselves Hal is OK and will be released tomorrow. They’re concerned about the short time in hospital. He takes time to tell them the damage is minor and they just need to be sure there are no repercussions from the operation before he can leave. They all laugh when he gets to one part of his instructions from the chief surgeon involved, “Doctor Hall said I wasn’t allowed to run for four months and to walk slowly for the next month or so,” Hal reports, “I laughed and I said if I could run in four months I’d be very surprised. He gave me an odd look until Doctor Mason told him about my knee. Then we all laughed at the old joke.”

A few minutes later the policeman returns to ask about getting statements now. All of the girls turn to Hal and he says, “Constable, before we get to that I need to speak with your Divisional Commander.” The cop’s eyes go wide and he’s about to speak when Hal adds, “If he’s not readily available can I speak to your shift supervisor or a sergeant. I think we need to come to some special agreement on how to deal with this first. By the way, how did things go with those thugs?”

“Just a moment while I call in to ask for a sergeant. I already feel out of my depth on this one. Of the twelve young men in the street ten were dead at the scene and the other two died while you were in the theatre. I’ve now got two stabbings and a dozen homicides to deal with but the local detectives don’t want to know about them.” He leaves the room to use his radio to ask for a visit by one of the supervising sergeants.

The policeman returns and they all chat about safer matters while they wait. About fifteen minutes later an older policeman with three stripes on his sleeves walks into the room. He looks at Hal and he groans while Hal smiles.

Police Sergeant Ingham slowly shakes his head, “Hal Smith, I should have known it when they mentioned the location and the trouble.” The girls and the constable all give him an odd look. “The last two times you were in my life it took me months to clear up all of the paperwork.”

“Sure, and the last time resulted in your promotion to sergeant. I’m sure Paula was happy with that.” Ingham nods yes. “You can’t blame me for the scum that wanders around the place. It’s not my fault if it crawls under my shoes and gets stepped on.” This has the listeners wondering just what they’re going on about.

“Well, what are you in hospital for this time? Been playing tag with the trains again? No, it can’t be that because I’ve not heard of a station closure today. OK, what do you want?” The girls all wonder what caused the remarks about trains and stations and how they relate to Hal. He’s not told them much about his life in Sydney before moving west to their city.

Requests

“I got stabbed in South Street.” Ingham’s eyes go wide and he groans again. “I urgently need to talk to your Divisional Commander about how we’re going to handle this to minimise the friction.”

“Hal, many things have happened while you’ve been away. We’ve a new Commander and he’s not happy with that place at the moment. There’s no way he’ll agree to any of your special deals or actions, no way. What sort of trouble do you see occurring?”

“If you go in to push everyone to get statements and reports of what happened there this morning you’ll only cause trouble. It needs to be glossed over and all but forgotten. The thugs need to go through the Coroner’s Court fast with a simple ruling of Death by Misadventure While Committing a Crime. We don’t want any locals involved at all.”

“It’s not going to happen that way. I know it would be best, but the Commander is after a promotion so he won’t wash this away. Not when he has a chance to get into the troubles there hard.”

“You’re sure I won’t be able to convince him otherwise?” Ingham nods his head yes. “Damn. Greta, please pass me my wallet. Liz, can you see if you can get a land-line in here for a telephone call. This one has to go on wire because too many people can listen to a mobile phone call.” Both police look surprised while the girls hustle to do as he wants.

A few minutes later Liz walks in with a phone on the end of a very long extension lead. She places it on the rolling table over Hal’s bed. He picks up the receiver to dial a number, he gets a recorded message giving him the phone number he’s calling from and it’s a land-line number.

He looks at the card that was well hidden in his wallet and he dials a number on it. Ingham is very interested in this because all he can see on the card is the New South Wales Police Crest and a name printed on it with other details. Personalised cards are issued only to the most senior of officers. People like Divisional Commanders and up. The girls are surprised about the business card as well, because it’s not Barnard’s and they didn’t know he had another. He had it well hidden as if he didn’t want anyone to know he had it. The phone rings a few times and all can hear a man’s voice when it’s answered, “Yes. Who is this?”

“Hello, Sir. My name’s Hal Smith. I know you won’t recognise my voice since we’ve never met or spoken before. But we have a mutual friend in common. A certain person who I never spoke to a few months ago and they never spoke to you. As none of us ever spoke or met any of the others we were never able to pass along a certain recording that doesn’t exist since I never made it. I still feel the safest approach is from the next street through the fences that aren’t there, either.” Hal stops talking and there’s a long pause while the person on the other end thinks about this to put the clues together. He soon works out this is the one Barnard got the recording from. There’s just too many things mentioned only those three know. He wonders what this is all about now.

The silence is broken, “I see, Mister Smith. To what do I owe this call, and how can I help you?”

“I would think, considering your position, you’re already aware of an incident that occurred in Little China this morning in South Street. I wish to speak with you about that. I need to have the police make an active decision to not investigate it any further. I also need to speak with someone in regard to what special concerns they have about any matters in Little China at the moment. Can you assist with this, please?”

“Why should we not investigate the deaths of a dozen people?”

“They were thugs who’ve made the world better by leaving it. Any in depth investigation will only increase the tensions between the police and the locals. With a little help from the police on this I can get those tensions lowered and I can probably help you with any other problems there.” All in the room give him odd looks.

“That sounds very good. But you don’t sound Chinese so how can you help with things there?”

“Do you have a liaison specialist advisor who grew up or lives in Little China?”

“Yes, I do. We were discussing this morning’s incident when this phone started to ring. Why?”

“Ask him if he thinks it good to have the Bailong helping you?”

“Oh, I’ve heard of him. He has a lot of influence for a myth.”

“Ah, but the myth has a living form in Little China. A live person who’s seen as the embodiment of the mythical Bailong and has been named so.” The girls remember what the old woman called Hal so they stare at him. This is not lost on Ingham and he wonders what links they’ve just made that he’s missed out on.

“I see. How does this apply to what you want?”

“Do you remember a gentleman by the name of Chéng Wáng?”

“Yes, I think we all remember and miss him, he was known down there as Emperor Wáng until he was murdered by some bigots from the White Right group. Then we thought we’d have a major race riot when the news came in, but the two who killed him were killed by a local in self-defence, at the time. What’s that got to do with you?”

“I suggest you get out the paper file from the police archives to read the sealed section. You’ll need the password Carnage Khan to get access to it, that’s Khan as in the Mongol leader Kublai Khan.”

“Hmm, and I should take your word you have the correct password and have a right to know it?”

“It’s stored in the same building you’re in,” this lets the other police know the man he’s talking to is in the Police Headquarters Building, “and the last I heard it was in a special vault on the fifth floor. It won’t take you long to go down and ask for the file. Once you’ve read it much will be clear to you. I don’t want anything we say being heard on a mobile phone. I’ll call you back in about forty-five minutes. That should be long enough for you to read the file and check things.”

“OK, I can live with that. I wouldn’t even consider this, except for how much good came out of the last contact we didn’t have with you.” They both laugh at that and they hang up.

Visitors

The girls and Ingham all speak over each other so it’s quite a racket. The noise stops when they’re all surprised by an early teenage Chinese girl racing in to dive on the bed to hug Hal’s right side. When she raced in she cried out, “Bailong, are you really all right?” A serious looking Chinese gentleman follows her in.

Hal smiles, “Yes, Jun, I’m OK.” He looks around the group while he introduces everyone to everyone as he introduces Jun Bao Wáng and her father Zhu Wáng to the others. He looks at the man, “Zhu, what’s this about some evil men setting up in the White Dragon?”

Zhu glances at the police. Ingham smiles and says, “We’ll duck out for now, but I’ll be back for that phone call. OK?” Hal nods yes and both police officers leave the room.

“Bailong, some months back three men came in and started sitting in a corner. They order drinks and snacks so we can’t eject them. Within the restaurant they do nothing wrong for which we can kick them out. I believe they deal in drugs at the table, but I can’t prove it. They also give orders to the young thugs you had trouble with this morning. They are most upset about that. Twelve of their twenty thugs are now dead. In the short time since that incident three more of the thugs have been seriously hurt. No one saw anything, not even the other thugs with them. They are now down to five young men who are active and three are here in the hospital. Their injuries are such they will not be of any use as thugs later. They are trying to recruit more young thugs and are even in discussions with some of the gangs in China Town. I, and the other civic leaders, are doing all we can to discourage those from Dixon Street to move out our way. How much good this will be is unknown.”

“Let those in Dixon Street know the Bailong now moves against these people and he will have the New South Wales Police with him when he moves. They won’t like that sort of interest.” Zhu smiles while he nods his agreement to pass the message on.

The girls are very wide-eyed about all this. Just then Jo and the twins arrive in the room. Jo smiles on seeing where Jun is. She smiles, “Well, Jun, still marking your territory, I see!”

The young Chinese girl smiles, “Yes, Bailong is mine! I will bear his heir. I will be his wife. Being a good wife I’ll allow him to have a few concubines if he wishes them. But I will bear his first born.” She turns back to Hal. “Am I clear enough on this for you, Bailong?” He shakes his head real slow at her vehement final comment. He thought she might be over this by now, but it’s now worse than when he left. He looks up at her father for support.

“Don’t look at me! This is way beyond us both. Her grandmother and mother agree with her, so I don’t have a chance to interfere. I’m not stupid enough to cross three generations of women in the one family! Anyway, it’s all your fault and responsibility!” Hal frowns at him. “I believe the term you Westerner’s use is ‘a Chinese Obligation.’ This meets all the set terms of such, and more so than most.” Hal sighs and relaxes back into the bed while the rest laugh at the situation, even though most don’t get the full joke because they don’t know the full story.

“OK, Zhu, business first. Please call and get both your solicitor and my solicitor to come out here now. Ask them to bring an expert on criminal law rules of evidence with them.” He nods yes. This will be easy as both solicitors work for the same firm. As Zhu leaves Hal turns to Jun, “Jun, you have to stand up to have a serious talk with Greta. She’s my girlfriend.” He laughs out loud when the thirteen year old Chinese girl gets up to drag Greta off for a serious talk about Hal. Jun only just comes up to Greta’s chest and would weigh about half her weight. Jun is a small and thin Chinese girl typical of her ancestral province.

The rest of them bring Jo and company up to date while the two girls have a serious talk. They return about the same time as Zhu does. Hal looks over at the two smiling girls and he gives a mild groan. It seems they’ve come to some sort of an agreement on his fate. He sighs and surrenders to his future when he decides to leave it all up to the ladies now, because it’s clear they’ve got it worked out.

Special Plays

The office of the solicitors isn’t that far away and when their best clients call they’re quick to respond. They arrive about fifteen minutes after being called. That gives Zhu and Hal just long enough to discuss what they want done and how they’d like it done. On their arrival the solicitors are told what the two men want and they’re asked if it can be done. Some discussion occurs and a legal way to do what they want done is worked out. The solicitors then borrow Hal’s table to set up two laptop computers while they prepare documents for signature.

While the legal eagles work away on the paperwork Hal spots the two cops waiting just outside the doorway. Hal smiles and picks up the phone. He uses the redial facility to call the number he called earlier. The phone rings and is answered on the first ring. Hal is surprised to hear a woman’s voice when she says, “Who’s calling, please?”

“This is Mister Smith.”

“Oh good,” it’s clear she thinks it’s a false name but she’s doing what she’s been told to do. “Now I can be done with watching this phone and get some work done. He left here in a great hurry. He said to tell you he’ll see you as soon as he can get there. That’s all I know and all I’m allowed to say. Have a nice day, Mister Smith.”

Hal half giggles when he says, “Thank you. Have a good day, Miss.” He hangs up and he looks at Ingham. “I’ll let you decide if you want to hang around. The State Crime Division’s Commander is on his way here as we speak.” Ingham gulps at learning who Hal had called earlier. He knew the recipient was senior, but this man is one of the busiest and most powerful officers in the force as well as being the most hard worked. Technically the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners are more powerful because they’re senior, but this man has the most political pull and the most effect on the real crime fighting in the state. Ingham just nods yes while he thinks about waiting around. If his presence isn’t wanted he could end up at the remotest station in the force. If they don’t mind him being on hand he could be involved in some of the most important police work he’ll ever have a chance to do. After a few minutes thought he decides to hang around just in case he can get a chance at some real police work of the type he joined the force to carry out. He hopes to be able to do some real worthwhile police work for a change.

The solicitors have finished their paperwork so they hand them to Hal and Zhu to sign, six copies of each one with an original signature while they sign several other papers. Soon after they finish signing the papers the Commander of the State Crime Division walks into the room. He stops to take in the people in the room. The policeman of Chinese descent with him stops to stare at Hal and the men beside his bed when he recognises Mr Wáng and the top solicitors in the area.

Both policemen also smile at Hal’s situation. When Greta and Jun returned to the room they took up positions on Hal’s bed. One on each side with Jun on his left because she has less weight to disturb the injury. They’re both snuggled up to him with an arm across his chest. Hal isn’t sure what to make of it, but he just goes with the flow.

Hal smiles and waves his left hand to a clear space on his left when he says, “Afternoon, Sir. Welcome to my madhouse. Please pull up some vacant space and join the discussions.” Both men give the ring on Hal’s hand a good look. The Chinese advisor nods to his boss when Hal lowers his hand to rest it on Jun’s thigh. “The reason I wish to speak with you is I want the police to not question anyone except myself and a few other witnesses present here about this morning’s incident in South Street. I want the matter quickly swept under the carpet. If you go in and ask too many questions we may have a riot.”

“Give me something to convince the local Divisional Commander to agree, please.”

“The police want to get into the area to shut down the heavies that were involved in that melee this morning. But an investigation won’t get you anything other than trouble. All of the heavies there stayed there and are now dead. So you can’t get any more out of them. All you’ll do is upset the many locals who came to my assistance. I want them left alone. Also, my understanding is the real reason the police want into the area is they believe some drug dealing is going on there.” He looks at the police and he gets some small nods of agreement. “Good. My friend here, Zhu, the father of the young lady keeping my left side warm, runs the White Dragon Restaurant and Club. He believes three men who spend a lot of time in the White Dragon may be dealing but he has no evidence and no reason to eject them. So we’ve come up with an idea.”

At this point Déshí Zhào, the lead solicitor, steps forward and says, “The owners of the White Dragon Restaurant and Club have concerns some men may be dealing in drugs on their property. They do not wish to have their other clients disturbed or troubled. But they also recognise a need to work with the police against such an evil activity. To this end they’ve given us instructions and asked us to prepare and serve you with these documents.” He holds out the papers the solicitors signed. “They ask you to have police search dogs examine the White Dragon. If they show a drug reaction to a person or area they wish you to conduct a further search of the immediate area or person involved. They do not wish you to disturb their other customers in any way at all. You are not to touch or further search anyone unless the dogs give a drug reaction to them. You are to ignore anything else you may become aware of, except where it relates to a person the dogs show a drug reaction to. In short, they want you to have the dogs clear the place and show you anyone handling drugs. You will ignore everything else except those involved with drugs. The reason for wanting you to ignore other matters is they know a few of their patrons gamble amongst themselves for small amounts of money on traditional Chinese games like Go and Mah-jong. They do not want these people disturbed because of this personal recreational game which is a minor breach of the state laws. Do you understand this request and will you abide by it?”

The Commander smiles while he nods, “Yes. I understand. I’ll see my men adhere to what you want, provided we can go full out with anyone we find with drugs above a personal use amount.”

“Yes, if they have more than is allowed for personal use we expect you to arrest them then to use it as the justification to search their belongings in the White Dragon and the area within a metre of where they are to find evidence to get search warrants to search their personal property elsewhere. But the limits I just mentioned are all you search in the White Dragon.” He gets a nod yes in response while the official requests are taken. The Commander looks at Ingham and the policeman from this morning then he nods toward the door and he leads them out.

While the police leave they hear the Commander say, “Sergeant, how many men can you get to the White Dragon within the next few minutes?”

Hal smiles when the police leave faster than the rush they arrived in. He nods at Zhu, who makes a call to his staff to have them warn the regular patrons about the police visit about to happen. As the solicitors start to pack up Jun takes one off to a corner to speak with him. After a moment he calls over the other two. The four of them have a rather intense discussion for a few minutes before the solicitors leave.

Personal Arrangements

Jun walks back to the bed to lean over to have a quiet talk with Greta. Both girls smile and nod yes. Hal has a very bad feeling about this. The two main females in his private life, apart from his close family, have been talking together and smiling after talking to solicitors. That can’t be good for him or his peace of mind. His mood seems to be picked up by the others as all are watching and waiting to see what happens next.

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