Spitfire walked into the kitchen to prepare some coffee to sip as she watched the morning news in her apartment. “Show Channel 6 News in the living room,” she called, and the large screen in her well appointed living room immediately came to life.
“Good morning Richmond!” called the morning anchor of Channel 6 News. “Our breaking story from overnight is the attempted mass escape from the Richmond City Jail in Shockoe Bottom.”
In the middle of her morning routine, Spitfire nearly dropped her coffee. “What is he up to now,” she muttered under her breath. “Display in the kitchen.” The video screen in the kitchen came to life, showing the morning news.
“Overnight, unnamed sources from the Quest Security Services managed jail indicated that a freak power outage caused all of the secured doors within the jail to open simultaneously, allowing prisoners freedom from their cells. More troubling, however, the prisoners had access to weapons. The same unnamed sources indicated that the arming of the prisoners was due to the lax security at the overcrowded facility and an environment of corruption among the Quest guards.
“Documents obtained exclusively by Channel 6, however, provides evidence refuting these unnamed sources with hard facts. In these documents, city Sheriff Leroy Pullman, working in conjunction with Lonestar, arranged for the security breach at the jail, freeing and arming the prisoners. We turn to Marita Parrish for the details. Marita?”
The screen changed to show a slender black woman, dressed in a bright red, skin tight dress holding a microphone. In these modern times, such devices are completely unnecessary, but it seems that newscasters needed something to hold in their hands to look official. Sometimes old customs live on. Behind Marita was the front of the city jail and scores of other reporters. A mass jailbreak is national news.
“Yes, Paul. New evidence acquired by our exceptional news team revealed that the jail’s security system was purposefully hacked by none other than local rival Lonestar with assistance from our own elected official, Sheriff Pullman. Now, it is only good fortune that a special security audit team was on site at the jail when the breach occurred. Quest Security’s Captain Katherine Parker had this to say.”
The screen cut to an image of Katherine, perfectly presented looking more like a model than a policewoman, standing at a podium with the familiar stylized “Q” corporate symbol behind her. “If not for the swift actions of our security audit team, scores of extremely dangerous rapists and murderers would be back on the street terrorizing families. Unfortunately, there were several casualties, however, those brave Quest officers who faced the hoard of armed criminals stood their ground professionally and restored order to the facility.” The scene switched back to Marita.
“When asked about the newly acquired evidence showing the payoff to Sheriff Pullman from Lonestar VP Michael Goldstein, Captain Parker said that Quest’s priority at this point is assuring the safety of the citizens of the city. She added that if asked by the city council, Quest would aid in the investigation, but recommended that such an investigation would be better served by state and federal law enforcement agencies and an independent third party.” The screen switched again, revealing Marita on the left and the news anchorman Paul on the right.
“Marita,” asked Paul, “what of rumors that the city council has already contacted an independent third party?”
“Yes, Paul. I just received an official statement from the city council naming Colt Security Services as the firm leading the investigation on behalf of the city. As you know, Colt provides security to the Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, HRVB, metro area, the company’s largest security contract.”
“Isn’t the city council concerned about bringing in another potential competitor in an already inflamed situation?” The older, white news anchorman leaned in, giving the appearance of being intensely interested in the staged conversation between himself and Marita.
“Paul, my sources within city hall tell me that Colt has no intentions of expanding their contracts within Virginia, given the firm’s extensive contracts with several federal, military, and local organizations. Colt is moving quickly, and has in fact already acquired space at Richmond International Airport and named Ranger Ian O’Brian as the lead investigator.”
“The airport, Marita?”
“Yes. Ranger O’Brian’s support team will be based there, under the jurisdiction of the Federal Facility Security Administration so as to not be influenced by either Lonestar or Quest.”
“Marita, there were deaths at the jail?”
“Many deaths in the early part of the riot, though exact numbers are not available yet. There were also two or three explosions from within the facility based on eyewitness accounts. While the families of the inmates have expressed concerns, I think our viewers can all agree that keeping those violent criminals in the jail, no matter the cost, was in all of our best interest.”
“Absolutely,” Paul replied. “What of Sheriff Pullman? Given the evidence, has the city council decided on a course of action?”
“I’m told the city council has not made a decision on how to proceed with the city’s sheriff, but Mayor James was quoted as saying he was in contact with Virginia’s District Attorney to determine what legal action can be taken. Sheriff Pullman has yet to comment.”
“Well, Paul, clearly these new developments will play into any decision by the city council regarding the Lonestar contract which is set to expire June 30th.”
The screen switched again, showing only Paul. “Thanks Marita. I’m sure you’ll be following this story with great interest. Well, today’s weather looks to be perfect-”
“Mute. Where’s Grummish?” called Spitfire to the air.
From a disembodied voice in the room, “Mr. Grummish is not at the facility. His calendar indicates he is in Johannesburg.”
“Really?” Spitfire chuckled softly. “Well, least it’s not my problem.” she muttered as she finished preparing her coffee.