Truth. Justice. Minesweeper.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Big action starting at midnight last night. Greyghost sprung all his traps.

Apparently he got a goldmine out of John - detailed financial and organizational information about Underhand's entire operation - and was now ready to cash it in. He spent all last week rigging things so that the only judges and district attorneys and cops on duty would be honest ones, ones that weren't in Underhand's pocket. And then he and a bunch of superheroes and a bunch of cops went out raiding.

And they got a huge haul. Cruickshank and I were in here working the phones all night. Cruickshank was arranging things with the cops and D.A.s' offices, and I was coordinating Greyghost and Bob and Prowl and Neontetra and One-Eyed Jack. They brought in a whole passel of corrupt cops and bankers and lawyers and judges and gangsters and racket guys and local politicians. They got Underhand's lawyer, Jonas Brand. And, to top it all off, the Mayor of Empire City, Gavin Garment. All under arrest.

With hard evidence, too. I spent quite a while compiling and photocopying the right paperwork and collating it into the right envelopes; one envelope per guilty guy. This is not only stuff that John provided, but also stuff that Cole found while in deep-undercover mode, stuff that Cruickshank came up with based on Underhand's responses to our Dieter Solarin activities, and stuff from Greyghost's informants.

The newspapers have been going nuts. All the arrests - a total of three hundred and seventy-one of them - have set off chain reactions all over the city. Stores and factories going out of business, buildings burning down, gang fights, suicides... Underhand's network must have reached pretty far.

This afternoon Greyghost and Cruickshank and I were sitting around the blue room taking stock of the situation. Operation Dustpan got almost all of Underhand's criminal empire, but not quite everything. Asskicker and Nametaker were still out there somewhere. Fountain, but it's not clear how much Underhand could count on him. And Underhand himself, whoever he is, of course.

Also Caroline Noah, whose name I had noticed in the Underhand file months ago. "What's up with her?" I asked.

"She doesn't seem to be guilty of anything. It's likely that she's Underhand's lover," Greyghost said.

"She's not Caroline No's secret identity?"

"She's an actress," Greyghost said. "Caroline No's real name is Jennifer No." Of course.

"I have news," Cruickshank said. "One of your guys called in with a phone number. He got it off the cellphone of a banker who blew his brains out this morning. I had my guy at the phone company run it down. Ever hear of anyone named Rafhaiel Thing?"

Greyghost stood up.


"His name is what?" I said.

Greyghost walked out to look at the fish. First time I've ever seen him take notice of the fish. Except it feels like I've seen him do it before. "Rafhaiel Thing is well known in high society circles. He's a hotel and casino owner and a philanthropist."

"You think he's Underhand, don't you?" Cruickshank said.


"Well, hell, I could have told you that!" I said. "Jesus! His name is Rafhaiel Thing! Look at this picture!" I spun my monitor around to display the picture I had just called up on SearchSquirrel. Big, handsome guy in a tux; dark hair and an eyepatch. Also, he had an artificial hand with some kind of cool gizmos built into it. "He's a goddamn James Bond villain! Of course he's Underhand! You knew that this guy existed, all this time, and you didn't put it together yourself?"

They looked at me for a second.

"Anyway," Cruickshank continued, "I called Cole and had him start surveillance on Thing. So we'll see."

Greyghost pinned us both with a glance. Which was cool, since we weren't standing near each other. "We're close. After all this time. We're very close."
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