Part 14

by CM Towns

   Fliopt walked up the stairs to the office above the club. The Harkin heavy by the door opened it and greeted hime.
   Once inside Fliopt said, “Good afternoon Mr. Millar and Miss. Caffrey. Where are we today?”
   Mr. Millar was a professor of archeology and Caffrey was an assistant of his. Millar was a tall, slender man in early fifties while Caffrey was short, a tad overweight and in her twenties. The two were abducted by Fliopts crew to help with his search.
   “This search you have us on is all for naught. All you have to go on is a photo of a statue taken from almost two years ago plus directions made useless with all the destruction and construction around neighboring areas,” Millar said.
   “That photo is the real thing. I had it checked by pros,” Fliopt spoke.
   “It might be real but I can’t find this thing for you.”
   “Aren’t all you archeologists suppose to be adventurers? Solving riddles and questions? Like that one guy-Illinois Jones,” inquired Fliopt.

   “You mean Indiana Jones,” corrected his Harkin heavy.
   “Yes! Him!”
   “That’s a fictional character,” Millar said.
   “I know that but the general idea is that people like you-look for things like this. Searching and digging up. Big mystery needing to be solved,” Fliopt replied.
   “Things like this? This statue is-I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said holding up the photo.
   “Most humans haven’t. What am I kidding, very few living things have seen it.”
   “What is it then?” Millar asked.
   Fliopt shook his head. “That does not concern you. What concerns you is helping me find the statue.”
   “If I had some idea of its origin I could possibly track information about it and that could speed up this search,” Millar responded.
   Fliopt thought about that and felt the Professor made a good point. He nodded and moved over to the couch to take a seat.
   “Okay…,” he started, “Have you read those books by Blackwell. Specifically in regards to the origin of magic?”
   “I’ve been meaning to,” he said.
   “I have,” Caffrey said. “One being of complete power who created the universe and on one planet in each system laid a temple with what your people call the Wise Masters.”
   Fliopt pointed to her.
   “So this statue is related to that? Barritis it was called, right?” inquired Millar.
   “Yes. Or related to the origins of the temple. That statue is important. I want it,” Fliopt said.
   “How do you know exactly that this thing is related to that?” Millar further questioned.
   “Seriously? I’ve been to the temple. Not just Barritis but also Madelist on my home planet. The symbols-the ancient letters are similar. The symbols on the statue prove its relation,” explained Fliopt.
   Caffrey took the picture and looked at it carefully.
   “If this statue is from the temple how did it get to New York?” asked Millar.
   Fliopt opened his mouth, paused, and finally said, “I don’t know. I don’t care. That’s not the important thing.”
   “Think about that. Someone had to have taken this statue. Was it after the government searched and seized from the temple? Was it before that? How did it get here and why is it under Manhattan?” Millar went on.
   Fliopt got up from the couch and answered, “Look-Professor, these are all excellent questions. Ones that I briefly thought about but chose to disregard because ultimately I don’t care. I don’t give a damn how it got to Manhattan-I give a damn that its in Manhattan. That I can take it and use it.”
   “These symbols…” Caffrey said putting down the photo and looking through the notes, maps, and photos that were given to them.
   “Right here!” she pointed.
   Fliopt looked at the paper the assistant was pointing to. It was a report from one of his men he had not properly read but did glance at. He knew the marking looked familiar but was distracted at the time.
   “Graffiti, close to the 1 line-St. Nicholas. Hmmm…”
   “These markings are similar…” Millar stated the obvious.
   “Ha! Another-but this one is…” Fliopt considered the distance between the two. It was along another subway system heading south.
   “But this brings up another question-who would do that? Leave similar markings throughout the Manhattan underground? There is a lot here that makes little sense,” Millar said.
   “I know that and-as I stated a few times already-I DON’T CARE!” Fliopt said looking at the maps his men had made.
   “This picture was taken by an urban explorer. Why didn’t he return for the statue? Why is someone making similar markings?” Millar asked.
   “Damn it! listen to me! I don’t know. Who cares? We got a lead. We got a trail! This is great! Keep it up Caffrey, you actually contribute,” Fliopt said.
   “This statue is dangerous isn’t it? Some sort of weapon?” asked Millar.
   “Possibly. Hopefully. I’m criminal so that’s the plan and if not I’ll use it for something criminal like.”
   “I am not going to help you retrieve a weapon,” Millar said.
   “You know what happens if you don’t help us, right? Or do I have to run through that again?”
   “You were going to kill us anyway,” Millar said.
   “Actually I wasn’t but if you believe that-” Fliopt pointed to his Harkin henchman who pulled a gun and blew the Professors head off. Blood, bone, and brain matter flew all over. Fliopt stumbled back as Caffrey screamed.
   “Really!? Really!? I was making a point of what you could do! Damn it! Just-I got blood on this nice suit,” Fliopt shouted.
   “Sorry sir,” he said.
   Fliopt walked over to the mess and said, “I got maps and photos here that we need! Seriously think about that next time! However beautiful shot. Now, Miss Caffrey…?”
   Caffrey was in shock. Trembling and she suddenly regained the ability to scream.
   Fliopt grabbed her and said, “Settle down! Go get yourself cleaned up. Maybe take an hour or so to rest. We’re going to need you. Or might need you. Anyway-you do as your told, we will let you go. Consider this whole scenario an accident. You and me are golden? Right? Got it?”
   Caffrey shook her head that she understood.
   “Great. So, you can go through that door down the hall to the room I’m using. Wash up in there. Like I said, take a little time, my men will clean this mess up. Then back to work. Okay?” he said and she nodded. Fliopt patted her shoulder and watched as she headed through the door.
   Fliopt snapped his fingers and said, “Get one of ladies up here to guard her and some of the guys to clean this up,” he looked over to the mess and added, “And call Liola and tell her to pick me up my dry cleaning.”