Chapter 3

in Peacekeepers

Location: Jul II
In-Story Timestamp: September 2505
The sirens wailed into the night as the firefighters struggled to contain the burning inferno, which raged in the schoolyard. The fire was persistent and it proved difficult to get any of the children out. Everywhere along the Dividian district of the city, the sirens of ambulance wailed as police officers were transferred from one hospital to another. The biker gangs had long disappeared and split up into their respective undergrounds. On the Dividian side, parents ran to the schoolyard, hoping to find their child alive and safe. Unfortunately, all the praying in the world would not give them their child back. One after another, the charred remains of small children’s bodies appeared from the first of the buildings where the fire had been contained.

What little police detectives remained after the operation scrounged around the scene, looking for evidence, which could give them links as to who was behind this. It was the first time they had seen the biker gangs working so efficiently, with such coordinated purpose and it worried them. The weaponry which they had been given was out of the ordinary, the weaponry was simply too good and there were few people with enough cash on the planet to pull something off – most of them were Dividians. Already, barrages had to be set up to ensure that onlookers wouldn’t get in the way of what was clearly the worst crime scene in years. Cameras from news stations were also around, the hover-bots flying around the scene.

Near the crime scene, a tent with religious symbols had been set up to deal with the parents and their pain. Anguished moans and sobbing emanated constantly from the tent, as psychologists tried to help them overcome their grief – if that was even possible. The parents were given the strictest of intimacy, as police officers ensured no video cameras tried to sneak a peek at their reactions. It was a heart breaking moment for all involved, more than a hundred children were dead, their school obliterated and the police for once couldn’t remain neutral for many of their own officers were also dead.

The limousine pulled out of the over-highway, as it took a right at the intersection that lead towards the inner city. It had rushed as quickly as possible to get back to the city, having come from the other side of the planet after a Planetary Council session of no real importance. The limousine was well over the speed limits, as it made a right, and a left, and began passing ambulances, which were rushing to the various hospitals of the city. Firefighting vehicles too were beginning to move away from the epicenter of the scene.
"What have we got so far," Nley Jaquan asked as he looked over the briefing for the first time.

"We have no idea who did it," One of his counsellors replied.

"No idea who did it or no idea who coordinated it?" Nley Jaquan looked back at his counsellor.

"Biker gangs did the hit, but we're absolutely certain they were supplied by someone with a lot of cash and the right means." 

"We got banged real good based on the first reports," Another counsellor spoke up, "All our hospitals are working as hard as they can - all patients they've been getting are in critical condition." 

"How could we have not seen this coming?" 

"As I said - someone with a lot of cash, and the right means." 

Nley Jaquan sighed, "Casualty reports? We got any?"

"They haven't seen any survivors coming out of the school yet - The school had one hundred fifty seven children, only kids that survived were about a dozen Rosebourgs and six Terrans." 

"They chose their targets?" Nley looked up shocked at the racial component of this crime.

"Yes sir, it's clear that they were in there to kill us, and only us."

"By our faith -"

"The Chief of Police has been on the scene since the report of the school explosion, he says it's been a brutal crime... and also..." The counsellor's voice lingered not wanting to report.

"What?" Nley quickly picked it up, "Come on tell me. I need all the facts at our disposition."
"They're going to do some autopsies, but they think... they think these children were put through some... stuff before they blew up the school."

"What do you mean stuff?"

"Stuff sir ... sexual stuff."

"They were raped?" Nley Jaquan didn't waste anytime getting to the point.

"We think so." 

"They were raped?!" His anger was welling up.

"We think so," The counsellor repeated.

The sounds of the wailing siren could now be heard quite well inside the limousine, as it approached the street where the school was located. The mayor looked at his advisors with a lost look, as he tried to imagine what had gone on in that school. He couldn't believe that someone had had the audacity, much less the will to go through something so brutal - so inhumane as this. He wasn't sure what he was supposed to be feeling, but the moment he stepped outside the limousine he would have to look as though he knew exactly what to do - his reaction to this latest tragedy could cost him the elections. The limousine stopped next to one of the police cars, as immediately some of the camera-bots began to over around the limousine.

"Anything else I should know?" Jaquan asked his counsellors as he prepared to step out of the car.

"Nothing that we know so far." 

"Sir?" One of his counsellors spoke up.

"Yes?" 

"We should consider getting - asking for riot police from the other cities." 

"Why?" He wasn't making the connection.

"The people are going to get wing that this was done by biker gangs of probable Rosebourg and Terran origin." 

"And?"

"Someone's going to want revenge."

"You're thinking race riots in my city?"

"I think it'd be wise to heed the warnings being set out to us by the Viziers."

"Make the request," Jaquan nodded - his counsellor was right, if the Dividians did get wing of just how brutal this attack had been, it was clear that there'd be riots in the street.
The door to the limousine opened, and within seconds there was a massive outpouring of questions slamming against Nley Jaquan. Nley Jaquan! What is the City's response to the problem? Nley Jaquan! What do you have to say about early reports that Rosebourg biker gangs are behind this? Do you think other terrorist attacks are about to happen? What is your reaction! Nley Jaquan pushed back the hover-bots, as he tried to make his way towards the Police Chief who was also working on the investigation. It was the first time Nley had seen the Chief working on the scene - his simple gray uniform hid the amount of experience that the Chief had. He'd been a police officer for many years, taken out of the field simply because someone had judged him too old.

"Chief," Nley Jaquan looked at the cinders - the fires had been contained...finally.

"Mr. The Nley," The Chief nodded, looking at the reports from some of his subordinates.

"How are you doing?" Nley Jaquan asked stupidly.

"I've just lost about half of my police force to some biker gangs, and you've just lost a school and hundred or so children," The Chief replied coldly.

"I'm sorry it had to happen in our city."

"Why didn't we see it coming?" The Chief asked rhetorically, looking at the remains of the administration building, "Why didn't we see it coming!" 

"My counsellors are thinking someone with money." 

"That's fa' sure!" The Chief walked over to a temporary table the police had set up, pointing to some of the metal remains they'd manage to dig out from the burning inferno, "That's the casing for one of the bombs they used - damn powerful stuff if you ask me."

"The investigation?" 

"Look - we're looking at...months... maybe years before we find out who did this." 

"Well you know what they say about these high emotion cases." 

"I know..." The Chief looked over as another charred remain came out - a child, the Chief looked away,"I can't look at those anymore." 

The Nley looked at the remain, his eyes opening wide in terror, "...My lord in heaven." 

"Sir, if you don't want to remain haunted for the rest of your days, I'd suggest you go find somewhere else." 

"In normal circumstances, I'd disagree with you."

"These aren't normal circumstances," He pointed at the building, "Normal people don't do that," he said scornfully.

"Chief... find those responsible, and bring them to justice." 

"You know I will." 

"Chief," He bowed.

"Mr. The Nley," The Chief nodded, looking over at one of his officers,"Get these fragments to the lab, I want to know who made it, where it came from, and how it got here!" 

Jaquan struggled to phase out the loud sirens that were still wailing across the school courtyard. Jaquan looked down, streams of bloods appeared from the school buildings - a traumatic reminder of what had gone on inside. Jaquan sighed, unbelieving that it had happened in his city - a normal city even if it had two ghettos in close proximity of one another. A murder here, a rape there - that was normal. Not this.. targeting so many children - at once - that was not normal. Jaquan walked over to the tent, entering it silently and being immediately greeted by the wails of parents who simply couldn't understand.
"My boy!!! My sweet little boy!" One of the parents screamed out.

"Where's daddy, mommy?" One of the child inside the tent asked - looking at his mother who was also beginning to cry again.

"Daddy's not going to come back, my child." She struggled to find the words to answer to her child's request.

"Why mommy? Why?"

"Because." She cringed, trying to fight back the tears, she held her child protectively.

"Nley Jaquan," One of the parents - who seemed a bit less distraught than the others came over to him, "How could this have happened?" 

"We're not sure." Jaquan tried to reply, his eyes welling up with tears at the sight of all these parents in mourning.

"We've been told the Rosebourg and Terran kids are alive?" 

"Apparently so." 

"Why? Why their kids and not ours?!" One angry voice shouted out.

"There's a lot we still have to figure out. But I promise you, we'll get you the answers you seek if it's the last thing we do."

One of the parents, a single mother walked over to Nley Jaquan and looked at him in the eyes. Her eyes were red, having cried so long. Her hands wrapped around the mayor, the Nley of the city, as she sobbed on his shoulder uncontrollably. Jaquan wrapped his arms around his elector, trying to console her as best as he could, repeatedly saying it's going to be all right. Jaquan stayed with the parents for as long as he could, until he had to finally come out, and face the hover bots.

"As you can see, you are standing on what is the worst crime in the history of this planet. The City sends its wholehearted sympathies to the parents and the families of the children and the police officers who lost their lives today in this cruel, this cowardly attack upon our city. We will find those responsible, we will bring those responsible in front of our justice and they will face the harshest sentences for their acts of cruelty. We will not rest until we've found them, we will not stop grieving until we have found them, this I promise you. May our Viziers stand with us to fight this new evil that has descended upon our city." 
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