by Hitman 44077
“He was aiming to slap her again, Wally, when she managed to raise her hand to block the blow. Not thinking, she deflected the blow with her left hand, the one in the cast. She then grabbed Paul’s gun from its holster to protect herself and took off. She came over here and told me all that happened, and we both agreed that she’d file a restraining order against Paul in the morning — today,” Patty Spivot finished, placing her hand on her head and closing her eyes.
His demeanor troubled, John Flint reluctantly replied, “I found out myself right before Patty called you, Wally, but I was unaware just how long this has been going on — or how violent this has turned out to be.”
Wally West stood there, taking in everything he’d just learned. As a crime-fighter, someone with super-powers, there was always the bigger scheme of things to deal with. Whether it was trying to stop some foe who sought death and pain, battling enemies from various alien worlds or timelines, or doing what one could to halt natural disasters in the making, the hero did what he could to save the day. How could it then be that something such as this, the physical and mental abuse of Angela Margolin, someone he regarded as a friend, could come to pass? Should he have done more, pursued it in a more vocal manner? And just how could she — who wanted nothing more than to be free from the man she had tried to love — now be the one suffering the consequences of her escape? No one expected such a thing to hit so close to home, no matter who they were.
“This…” Wally said, trying to conceal his seething anger as best as he could, “…this is just wrong — completely and utterly unforgivable. Yet she’s the one in jail. How? Why?!“
The civilian-clad speedster shook, angry at Paul Margolin for obvious reasons, angry at the CCPD for arresting Angie, and angry for not second-guessing himself and trying to do more. Whether it was justified or not, he felt some type of responsibility for Angie’s situation.
John understood what was going through Wally’s mind. “I’ve seen my share of this over the years, Wally, and it’s never easy to deal with. As an officer, and now as a detective, you try to dull yourself to what you’ve seen — the bruises, the wounds, even… the bodies. Sometimes… it’s very hard to keep objective when you’ve seen so much, but justice is something that we adhere to. Even when all we want is cold revenge against people who do this.”
The police detective’s words reminded Wally of the thoughts that had been going through his head while walking home just a few minutes earlier. No easy answer — how true. People like that need to be put away. They’re just as bad as any super-villain I’ve faced, Wally thought grimly before replying to John, “I understand where you’re coming from. We fight the same fight, John — a fight for justice and to enforce the law. What I need to know now is why she’s in jail, and why Paul’s still free.”
John was blunt with the details as he answered Wally. “These are the facts: In the middle of the night, while you were dealing with Firefist and the carnage he unleashed, Paul filed a report with me. He claimed that he and Angela had an argument at their home. He then decided to try to smooth things over with her by talking to her at the police lab. Things grew heated again, words were exchanged, and it escalated to violence.”
“On whose part?” Wally asked, controlling his feelings.
“In his words, Angela,” John answered, who now doubted what Paul Margolin had told him hours earlier. He continued to speak. “He showed me his hand, which had some cigarette burns. He also had several broken fingers, which were examined by a doctor. He even claimed that she stole his gun and threatened to kill him, and by finding his gun in Angela’s car, it seemed to confirm that part of his story.”
“Far be it for me to act as someone with a medical license, John, but I find it hard to believe that Angie’s deflecting Paul’s slap would result in broken fingers. Maybe one or two, but just how many fingers were fractured?” Wally asked, unconvinced by Paul’s account of the story.
“All of them on his left hand, aside from his thumb,” John answered.
“Interesting,” Wally observed, placing his hand to his jaw in thought. Almost immediately, he asked another question. “I know from my meeting with Paul that he had a smoking habit. Angie, to my knowledge, doesn’t smoke. How do you suppose that he received cigarette burns to his hands when he’s physically stronger than Angie? Once again, maybe one or two burns to the hand, but you say there were several?”
“Several,” John agreed, nodding his head in agreement, not with what Wally had asked, but rather the point Wally was making. Patty piped in then as well, as she realized that there was more in the way of clearing their friend.
“Heck, the police lab’s a virtual crime scene, since that’s where their fight took place! If he was smoking or had his hand burned there, then there has to be some sort of cigarette butt. And if there is, then there could be either charred tissue or even a fingerprint from Angie!” she exclaimed with hope.
“Exactly!” Wally chimed in. “That’ll help Angie, but someone’s got to convince her to speak up. I know it didn’t help her to wait until this morning, but I believe if she came clean about what she’s been living with, then there would be enough to hold Paul until something conclusive either proves his case or helps reveal Angie’s innocence.”
“And maybe the other should keep tabs on Paul, just in case he has something in mind,” John suggested. “He’s smart. He proved that by rising to the rank of detective. He could cover his tracks easily.”
“Then I’ll tail him,” Wally said, narrowing his eyes. “You talk some sense into Angie, John, and when you’ve completed matters in the police lab, you join him, Patty. This cannot be accepted, much less tolerated.”
“Sounds like a plan,” John said to Patty. “Then–” he started to say, but noticed that Wally West was no longer standing with them. “Boy, he’s like that often?” John asked Patty.
“When it’s a serious matter, always,” Patty responded, reassured that their friend would be helped through these dark hours.
Elsewhere within the city, at a Central City Police Station, a woman in her mid-forties wearing winter apparel walked toward the service desk calmly, though she appeared nervous. She pushed some of her graying brown hair from her face and stopped. “Excuse me,” the middle-aged woman asked the female officer that was stationed at the service desk.
“Yes? Can I help you?” the brown-haired officer asked pleasantly.
The middle-aged woman started to respond, even as she started to shake, “I — I need to… I need to file,” she stammered, even as she grew more nervous and paused.
The female officer grew concerned and spoke to the middle-aged woman. “Ma’am, are you all right?” she asked her.
The woman closed her eyes tightly and shook her head to signal no.
The female officer spoke calmly as the middle-aged woman wiped some tears from her eyes. “Ma’am, we need to know why you’re upset,” she said, concerned. “You need to calm down and tell us so we can help.”
The middle-aged woman slowly calmed down and managed to speak. “My husband is self-employed as a carpenter. He works varying hours, but he did some work at a home yesterday afternoon.”
“OK, go on,” the female officer urged.
“He… he didn’t come home last night,” the middle-aged woman said as she grew fearful yet again, her voice quivering. “He doesn’t stay out all night. He’s faithful, you know? This isn’t like him!”
“You’re here to file a missing persons report, ma’am?” the female officer softly asked.
“Yes, yes,” the middle-aged woman said. “His name’s Gerald Lubinski — my husband. I’m Roberta — Roberta Lubinski.”
“OK, Roberta, I’d like you to take a seat. I’ll find a detective for you to speak with, and we’ll go from there. OK?” the female officer asked.
“Yes. Thank you,” Roberta said graciously before sitting down near the service desk.
In Washington, D.C., the large figure of an African-American woman sat inside her office, searching through various dossiers. She thumbed through each one, then compared notes with a list on her desk. She’d been up quite some time, as evidenced by the yawns she had every few minutes. The name on her desk was Amanda Waller.
Hmm, she thought, bored of the dead ends she’d been hitting for the last few hours, you try to find potential agents, people with the expertise that would benefit Task Force X, yet there don’t seem to be enough viable candidates within custody. And now, after what happened during the invasion affair, we’re in need of people to step up.
Amanda flashed a quick smile, something quite rare for such an individual who proceeded with her life in the most serious of fashions, placing it behind her first duty — serving her country. That’s one way of putting things, isn’t it? Amanda thought before the smile quickly faded and her game-face returned. The loss of Slade Wilson’s services hasn’t helped in this search, after he received a presidential pardon. (*) I need people who will guarantee success, not throwaways who’ll only get themselves killed.
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Invasion Homecomings, Epilogue: Recovery.]
Suddenly, Amanda’s phone rang, and she quickly picked it up. “Yes?” she asked, her voice devoid of emotion. The voice on the other line responded, which prompted Amanda to respond with pure respect.
“Hello! I’m surprised to hear from you today!”
The conversation continued as Amanda made some small talk with the person on the other line. Eventually, its tone became serious as the person on the other line got down to business.
“I see. Obviously, I can see why you’re concerned. And I think it’d be in everyone’s best interest to handle this matter as quickly as possible. Yes, I’ll handle it personally. All right. Goodbye, Mr. Attorney General.”
With that, Amanda hung the phone up. When the head of the Department of Justice calls you, you treat it in a manner as if it were the President himself, she thought as she picked up the phone receiver and pushed one of the buttons. It instantly connected her with the extension she sought.
“This is Waller,” she said in her usual gruff manner. “Prepare the helicopter. I have an appointment in Central City. Have some soldiers on hand to make the trip with me.”
“Affirmative,” the voice on the other line responded as Amanda hung up the phone.
“Good,” Amanda said, placing her hands together in a pleased manner. “And to think this just fell into my lap. It certainly helps me, and right now, that’s all that matters.”