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Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:06 am
"Hey, Norman. I picked up dinner. One veggie sub with sprouts and one meat lovers delight with extra pickles." Jesse calls out as he enters command center. "Norman? Anybody home?" Jesse sets the sandwiches on the small dining table in Norman's quarters. Looking around he wonders where the heck Norman is. Norman had called Jesse earlier insisting the he come by after work to check out some new fancy equipment for Street Hawk. Norman was so excited over the phone Jesse doubted he would get a chance to eat his dinner. Now he's not even here. Oh, well. Might as well grab the opportunity to eat before Norman gets back. Jesse wanders over to Norman's refrigerator hoping to find a cold beer. No such luck. Bottled water will have to do. He sits down and opens the sandwich wrapper. Just as he is about to take his first bite, he hears the outside door open. "Hey, Norman. I picked up dinner. Where ya been?"
"The police station" Norman answers wearily. He sets a shopping bag on the table and sits down across from Jesse.
"The police station? What were you doing there?" Jesse asks around a bite of his sandwich.
"My car was stolen. I stopped at the market for a couple of minutes, came back out and my car was gone."
"Your car was stolen? The wagon?" Jesse aks unbelievingly. "What about the car alarm?" He peeks over into Norman's shopping bag. "Wine, bread, cheese, flowers? Hot date?"
Norman yanks the bag from Jesse's reach. "I'm supposed to meet Mona later tonight. And yes, my car was stolen. I, um, I didn't set the alarm. I was only going to be a minute." Norman sighs. "What a day. First my bank card doesn't work then someone steals my car. The police think it was probably kids going for a joyride."
"Cheer up Norman. Everybody has a rotten day now and then. Here. Eat your veggie sub. I got extra sprouts. The police are probably right. They will probably find it in a day or two. The bank thing is probably just a computer glitch. I'm sure you can straighten that out tomorrow. Now, tell me about this new project for Street Hawk."
Norman brightens as he relays the highlights of his newest modifications to Street Hawk's visor. "I have enhanced the visiual so that you will be able to see 360
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:37 am
It's an early start for Norman the next day. The date with Mona had had to be cancelled. He'd got to Mona's to find she had had to be urgently called into work. Dejected, Norm decided to walk home and get an early night.
Norm was still wondering who could possibly want to steal his car.
He'd had the station wagon for some ten years. He'd calibrated it himself and done all his own repairs and upgrades, including inventing a state of the art inflatable crash bag. On the outside it didn't look much but it was the first time he'd been without it.
The roads and streets around central L.A are busy with commuters rushing to get to their offices. Norman pays the cabbie and rounds the corner to where the bank has just opened its doors for the day. He gives a nod to the security guard as he is hussled inside by the throng of customers.
Eventually after what seemed like 10 minutes Norm approaches the cashier window and explains about the problem he'd had with his card the day before. The bank clerk taking the card punches a few buttons into their computer terminal bringing up Norman's account.
"I'm sorry sir, your account has been closed." she says dryly.
"Wait - closed? How can that be? There must be some mistake!" he says embarrassed, looking around.
He comes closer to the window.
"Uh, I work for the government, I get my checj in there every month. Would you be a dear and check again for me?"
The teller rechecks but only shakes her head.
"I'm sorry sir," the teller persists, "there are no funds left in that account. It was closed... let's see ... a few days ago."
Normans face turns pale and he is in such a daze he cannot see the people behind him inpatiently beckoning him to hurry up.
He suddenly realises and recognising the futility of his situation, and leaves the queue.
Flustered, Norm find a call box at the end of the street and using the last bit of change he has, dials Jesse's number.
Unfortunately Jesse has not so far turned in for work.
Typical, Norm thinks, a half past nine and Jesse hasn't even got in to work!
He decides to go and wait at the station for Jesse to arrive whilst he thinks through what may have occured.
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:00 am
Ten o'clock passes on Norms watch when he observes Jesse's prized yellow Mustang pull into the compound. He waves through the wire fence to attract Jesse's attention.
"Norm?" says Jesse. "What are you doing here buddy. How did your hot date go. Did she chuck you out?" he laughs jovially.
"The date? Oh, the date! A no show I'm afraid. Mona had to go into work, but ..."
"Oooh, the brush off!" Jesse jokes.
"Not now Jesse!_Hang on, brush off? You think it was a brush off?" Norm quizzed. "... Anyway, I've a big problem. You know my car was stolen yesterday? Well, I go to the bank just now and they tell me all my account has been wiped out! - I mean nothing left!"
"Ah, it's got to be a mistake Norm. Don't sweat it buddy. Look let me check in and I'll see if they've had any luck with your car and then we can go and see about your money."
"But wait Jesse, don't you have other things to do than help me?"
Jesse stops and turns to him.
"Ah, they can do without me. Rachel will cover with the boss, it'll be no problem..."
Jesse says putting on his jacket and enters HQ.
I wish I could get away with doing so little work, Norm thought to himself privately!
Norm waits impatiently at reception flicking through magazines, all the time watched suspiciously by the on duty cop behind the desk.
Jesse finally emerges but there's no smile on his face this time. He takes Norm to one side.
"What is it, is it my car? Have they found it?" Norm asks nervously.
"They've found it Norm. It's not exactly as you left it mind, but they found it a few miles south of here, just off the interstate."
"Not as I found it? They clipped my car?" exclaimed Norm, annoyed.
"It's a right off Norm. But that's not the bad news. It was involved in a situation. It seems someone claiming to be "Norman Tuttle" robbed a gasoline station last night leaving one guy dead, and one injured." Jesse continues.
"Norm, the police want to have a word ..."
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:51 pm
Jesse leads Norman to one of the interrogation rooms. "Jesse, I don't understand. I reported the car stolen yesterday. Why do they want to talk to me?"
Just then the door opens and Commander Altobelli enters. "Mr. Tuttle, I'm Cmdr. Leo Altobelli. I need to ask you a few questions. As Mach may have told you, there was an armed robbery involving your vehicle last night. The robber gave the cashier a note written on the back of a bank deposit slip with your name on it. Mach, vouches for you - says you are a friend of his, but I need to know where you were last night?"
"Yes. Jesse and I...we, um...we're friends. Well, let's see. I was here until around 6:30 - reporting my car stolen. I took a cab home. Jesse met me there for, uh, dinner. Then, since I didn't have a car, he drove me to a friends house - my girlfriend, Mona." Norman answers looking back and forth at Jesse and Altobelli.
"What time was that? How long did you stay at your...Mona's? Altobelli ask while making notes on a pad.
"I got there around 8, but I did not stay." Jesse looks surprised. "Mona got called into work" Norman explains. She's a research scientist."
"What cab company picked you up at Mona's?" Jesse asks.
"I, uh, didn't take a cab. I needed to think, clear my head, so I walked home." Norman answers hesitantly. Jesse groans and shakes his head.
"What time did you get home, Mr. Tuttle?" Altobelli wants to know.
"I guess it was around 9:30. I did some work then I went to bed about 11."
"Did anyone see you after you left Mona's?" Jesse asks.
"No. I guess not." Norman answers dejectedly.
Altobelli closes his notebook and rises to leave. "Thank you Mr. Tuttle. Since Mach is vouching for you, I am not holding you at this time, but don't leave town."
"Thank you. One more thing. I went to the bank this morning to straighten out a problem with my account. The teller told me my account had been closed two days ago. I did not close it. What is going on? Is this tied to the theft of my car and the robbery? Is is possible to get my car back?"
Jesse and Altobelli look at each other. "I don't know if this is all tied together, but give Mach the details on your bank account and we will look into it. I'm sorry, but your car is evidence in a murder investigation. It may be a while before you can get it back. We will be back in touch with you Mr. Tuttle." Altobelli motions Jesse into the hallway as he exits the room. "Do you believe him?"
"Norman? Yeah. Look Commander, I know Norman. He would not jay walk with permission. He has nothing to do with this. Someone is trying to set him up." Jesse replies emphatically.
Altobelli thinks about it for a moment. "Talk to him, Mach. See what you can find out. How did you two become friends anyway? He does not seem like the type you would hang out with. "
Jesse smiles as he answers "Motocross. You would be amazed what that man can do with a bike." Altobelli shakes his head and walks off. Jesse goes back into the interrogation room. "Come on Norman. I'll give you a ride home. We can talk on the way."
Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:43 pm
In Jesse's Mustang, Norman is talking very nervously, "Jesse, I don't know how this could have happened. One minute I'm minding my own business, the next minute someone's stolen my car and committed a robbery...a MURDER...and claiming I did it!"
Jesse, while enjoying the role reversal going on, is sincerely concerned about his friend. "I dunno, Norman, but I'm beginning to think that this business with your car is related to your bank account being closed down."
"How could they be related?" asks Norman, a puzzled look on his face.
"Well, Norman, you're a computer expert...you probably know more about this than I do."
"Know more about what?"
"It's kind of a new crime we're starting to see now...someone finds your social security number or bank account number, pretty soon they change everything over to themselves and take control of who you are. We call it 'Identity Theft'. Still, it's pretty rare and usually only involves money...I've never heard of someone combining it with framing someone for murder."
"So you think someone is trying to steal my identity?" Norman says in a pannicky voice.
"I don't know, partner...but for now you'd better keep track of where you are at all times, and have some way to prove it. I don't want another murder going down and your aliby is 'Duh, I was going for a long walk on the beach!'" says Jesse, jokingly.
"Yeah, thanks," Norman says, rolling his eyes.
"Oh, and one more thing..."
"If anybody asks, you used to be a motorcross driver."
"WHAT!?!" bursts Norman.
"Yeah...it might be good if we go out and give you some lessons so you can at least pretend you know how to ride a motorcycle."
"Uh uh, no way Jesse!"
"Well, we can worry about that later...first things first, we need to find out who closed your bank account."
Norman finally cheers up a bit, realizing he can do something to help his case, "Get me back to command center, I'll see what I can pull up on my computers."
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:14 am
When they arrive back at comman center, Norman heads straight for his computer. "What are you going to do?" Jesse asks.
"I'm going to try to get into the bank's computer system to see if I can find anything." Norman answers already rapidly punching keys.
"Uh, Norman, is that legal?" Jesse wants to know.
"Was stealing my car, using it in an armed robbery and taking my money legal? You know, Jesse, I am really starting to get angry . I feel so....so... violated. It's time to find out who is doing this and put a stop to it." Norman continues to stay focused on his computer.
"O-kay. I think I'll go over to the police impound lot and get a look at your car. Maybe there is something there that will give us a clue." Jesse throws his jacket over his should as he heads for the door. Just before opening it, he turns back. "Oh, Norman. Try to stay out of trouble while I'm gone."
"Funny, Jesse. Very funny."
At the impound lot Jesse approaches the desk clerk. "Hey, Ray. How's it going? The wife still letting you come home at night or are you sleeping in one of these cars?"
"You're a real comedian Mach. What are you doing down here in the junk yard?" The older guy behind the counter asks.
"I want a look at the wagon used in that robbery last night. Any chance the forensics guys are finished with it yet?"
"Brought it in a couple of hours ago. Not much to see, but take a look if you want." Ray points to his left. "It's over by the fence"
"Thanks, Ray. Tell Helen I said hello." Jesse heads out into the lot in the direction Ray pointed. Boy is Norman going to be upset when he sees this. The wagon is trashed. Jesse blows out a big breath, opens the door and gets in. He starts in the glove box. The usual items - never opened owners manual, a dried up ball point pen, a packet of tissues, the empty cardboard backing from a book of checks. Hmmmm. Altobelli said the hold up note was written on a bank deposit slip. Jesse sticks the cardboard in a plastic bag before turning his attention to the rest of the car. The floorboard is littered with junk mail - sales flyers, occupant letters, political ads. Did Norman leave these here? He decides to bag it and ask Norman. Something in the backseat catches Jesse's eye. A fast food bag full of trash from the meal. Not an unusual find other than the fact that Jesse knows that Norman hates this particular chain restaurant. There is something else also - gum wrappers. Norman doesn't chew gum. Jesse bags all of the items to take back to command center thinking about all the stuff the forensics team may have missed because they do not know Norman.
Jesse walks back into command center and deposits his bags on the console next to where Norman is still furiously typing. Norman glances over. "If you are going to clean out your car, at least put the stuff in the dumpster outside." He says disgustedly.
"This isn't from my car. It's from yours. You find anything yet?" Jesse ask looking over Norman's shoulder.
"My car? Why would that be in..." Norman looks confused then goes on to answer Jesse's question. "Yes. I found out the exact date and time my account was closed. Then I got into the bank's security cameras. Here is a look at the teller windows at that time." Jesse looks at the image on the screen. At one window is a woman with a baby on her hip. Another shows an elderly woman with her Queen Elizabeth purse. The next one has a business man with a briefcase. At the last window is a man in a hat and trenchcoat. A hat and trenchcoat? In Southern California?
"That looks supsicious. Can you zoom in on that guy?" Jesse asks pointing to the guy on the left of the screen.
"I can, but I cannot get a good look at his face." Norman answers manipulating the keys. "You know. I keep thinking there is something familiar about him. I just cannot place it."
Jesse notices something though. The guy is furiously chewing gum. He is just about to point that out to Norman when an alarm sounds. Norman looks at his monitors and turns to Jesse. "Another armed robbery. You had better suit up. The robbers are possibly driving another stolen car." Norman turns back to his computer as Jesse runs toward the changing room. Maybe they will get a break after all.
Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:14 am
Once suited up, Jesse bounds out of the changing area and mounts Street Hawk. Norman manipulates the controls closing the launch tube and opening the Maxi sign. Street Hawk flys out of the building on a course to intercept the robbers. "Jesse, the getaway car is a green minivan. They were last seen heading north on Wilkerson. We should be able to intercept them at Hampton. I'm locking in the coordinates now. Hypethrust cleared and counting - 5...4...3...2...1." The bike accelerates rapidly navigating the city streets with precision. As they near the intersection, Jesse decelerates and makes a right onto Wilkerson. There is no sign of the getaway vehicle.
Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:30 pm
After talking to several residents at the apartment complex, Jesse heads back to comman center. "Hey, Norman. You come up with anything on the computer?" Jesse calls as he enters the building.
Norman turns from his computer console. "Not much. I tracked Phil until a couple of months ago. Then he just seemed to disappear - no payroll records, no credit cards, nothing. The last address I found was Reno, NV. There was nothing from the apartment complex address either."
"You might be looking under the wrong name. Try Norman Tuttle." Jesse replies.
Stunned by Jesse's last statement, Norman stammers, "What are you talking about? Why would I look up my own name? What's going on?"
"I talked to some of the residents at The Colony apartments. Their newest neighbor is a man by the name of Norman Tuttle."
"How is that possible? This is crazy! Why would anyone want to steal my identity? Why would Phil do this?" Norman wonders aloud.
"What happened to Phil after you took the promotion?" Jesse asks.
"He continued to work for the research center until his grant got pulled. His specialty is cybernetics. He then he has bounced around from place to place trying to find someone to support his research." Norman answers.
'Hmmm. Sounds like a guy that might have a chip on his shoulder" Jesse adds.
"You bet I do." Startled, Jesse and Norman whirl around at the sound of the man's voice to find themselves facing a nondescript, bespectacled man holding a gun furiously chewing a piece of gum. Addressing Jesse, "Put your weapon on the floor and slide it over here. Nice and slow." Jesse complies with the man's request. "Nice little set up you've got here Norman. All this nice equipment for your research. I'm really going to enjoy making use of it. All holed up here alone, no on will ever know it's not you."
"Phil?! What...How did you find me here?" Norman asks trying to take in the whole of what is happening.
"I followed you here. I've been learning about you." Phil answers. Jesse and Norman exchange a look. Does he know about Street Hawk?
"Well then you know that the medical research Norman does here is very important." Jesse says trying to get the guy to reveal what he knows.
The man looks pleased. "Went over to medical, huh? Well that will make it that much easier for me to take over."
Jesse and Norman share another glance. Phil apparently did not do all his homework.
Pointing the gun at Jesse the man orders "Hand Norman your car keys." Jesse slowly removes his keys from his pocket and hands them to Norman. "Now. Both of you move toward the door. Slowly." Phil picks up Jesse's gun and sticks it in Norman's back. "You try anything Mr. Cop and Norman dies with your gun."
"You won't get away with this, Phil. Jesse will know I'm gone. He's an important part of my research team." Norman tries to convince crazy Phil as they head outside.
"Your friend won't be able to tell anyone anything. This is a bad neighborhood. Bad things happen - muggings, shootings, carjackings. Happens all the time. Even cops are not immune to random violence. Get in the car Norman. Driver's side." Phil orders turning the gun toward Jesse. As soon as Norman closes the drivers door, Phil fires his weapon. Jesse falls backward to the ground.
"Jesse!!" Norman cries. Phil jumps into the passenger seat and points the gun at Norman. "Drive." Norman looks at Jesse not moving on the ground and at Phil with the gun. If he is going to help Jesse, he has to stay alive. He shifts Jesse's car into drive and pulls off.
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:49 am
Jesse groans and tries to sit up holding his side. Man that hurts. He looks down just to make sure the bullet did not penetrate the bullet proof vest. No blood. That's a good sign. It still packed a wallop though. If Norman wasn't such a Nervous Nelly, Jesse could be dead right now. Ever since he had signed on for Street Hawk, Norman has nagged him about wearing the vest while on police duty. Jesse resisted. I mean, he isn't working the streets anymore. But Norman insisted that as long as Jesse carried a gun and did investigations, he is putting himself in the line of fire. The government wants their property protected. As a street cop, Jesse knew the importance of wearing a vest everyday even though they are bulky, hot and irritating. It could mean the difference between going home or not. Jesse finally relented to Norman's request after Norman designed a lighter weight, breathable version. It's hardly noticeable, and it just passed the ultimate test. This could be fantastic for police and armed forces every where.
Jesse pushes himself off the sidewalk. Right now he has to find Norman. He pushes open the door to command center and staggers in. Stopping to catch his breath and think for a moment, he hears a beeping sound coming from Normans computer station. Looking up, Jesse notices a blinking dot moving across a map of the city. Jesse looks at it for a moment and it suddenly dawns on him - it's Norman. Jesse rushes over to the console. He must have put some sort of tracking device on Jesse's car. Thinking that over, Jesse gets a little peeved about the invasion of privacy. "That Norman. If he lives through this, I'm going to kill him." Jesse dashes off to the changing room. He has to hurry to catch up to Norman and Phil.
Bank at the computer terminal, Jesse, dressed in black, watches the screen again. The blinking dot has headed out of the city into the hills. Suddenly it stops. What's out there? Using his two finger method of typing, Jesse taps at the computer keys. An address appears on the screen. It's a toxic chemical disposal facility out on route 3. Jesse punches in the code to unlock the launch tube doors, grabs his helmet and races for the bike.
Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:41 am
Driving away from Command Center, Norman keeps replaying over and over in his mind Phil firing the gun and Jess falling to the ground. Was Jesse wearing the bullet proof vest like Norman had begged him? Did it work? Is Jesse ok? Will he figure out the tracer on the car and find Norman?
"Where are we going?" Norman ask the man beside him holding the gun.
"Don't worry about it. Just turn when I tell you. You'll know when we get there." The man replies.
"What's this all about, Phil? Why me? Are you really still mad about that promotion?" Norman wants to know.
"I'll tell you what this is all about. You got that promotion and your career took off while mine went down the tubes. Here you are with your fancy lab and government funding, and I can't even get anyone to talk to me about my research. You bet I'm still mad. You even got Mona. Well not anymore. I'm taking what should have been mine." Phil raves.
"Mona? What does she have to do with this? I never knew you were interested in Mona."
Phil continues his rant. "Of course you never knew. After you got that promotion, she wouldn't give me a second look. Turn in here."
Norman slows the car and turns into an old hazardous waste disposal facility stopping in front of an abandoned warehouse. Waving his gun, Phil signals for Norman to get out of the car and they enter the building. Phil is really nuts. Norman has to keep him talking a little longer and pray Jesse is on his way. "Phil, this is crazy. You can't get away with this. Someone will find out eventually. You won't be able to impersonate me from behind closed doors long. People will get suspicious."
"It's amazing what they can do with plastic surgery these days. I know you Norman. I bet you have not taken a vacation or sick day in years. You are going to take a little time off to grieve your cop friend. The scars heal and I come back and take over." Phil explains.
"What...what are you going to do with me? Someone will eventually find my body." Norman asks trying to keep Crazy Phil talking.
"Nah. I shoot you and dump you in one of these barrells. Nobody will ever think to look until there is nothing left to find." Phil answers proudly.
If he gets out of this alive, he is definitely taking some of that vacation time, Norman thinks as he looks around for an avenue of escape. He looks back just as Phil raises his gun and smiles.