Winterhawk took the folder and opened it, spreading the papers across
the bed. There were five of them. I glanced up at Jean. "It's okay," she said.
"It'll take you a couple of minutes to read them all. I'll wait." She settled
back in her chair.
I moved over and sat on the edge of the bed; 'Hawk was still sitting
up near the head of it. I picked up one of the papers and looked at it.
I read it over once, then looked at it more carefully. It read:
"...'Hawk?" I said slowly.
"Yes." His voice was distracted. He put down one of the papers and
picked up the next one.
"Please tell me this isn't what I think it is."
"What do you think it is?" he asked in the same faraway tone. He seemed
totally absorbed in his reading.
I looked at Jean, then picked up one of the papers 'Hawk had put down.
This one was for a human male, age approximately 11. Under "Notes," this
one had "Client waitingmay take a month or two before acceptable
condition is achieved. Rm. 4, Elysian." His transfer date was listed as
"11/19/54." I looked at Jean again. "This..." I paused, holding up the
paper. "This sounds like they're kidnapping people and harvesting
them for parts."
Jean nodded solemnly. "That's what I think too. It's a pretty sophisticated
organlegging operation, from the look of it. They get their subjects through
clinics in bad neighborhoods, after checking to make sure that the subjects
don't have any family who'll look for them. That's just conjecture, of course,
but it makes sense. There's got to be somebody at General in on it, of
coursethey've got to be able to mess with the records there so they
show up as dead. Once they transfer them over to Simmons, it's easy. You
can't identify ashes, so all they have to do is say 'Oops, they've been cremated.'
Naturally, they usually wouldn't even have to do that if they're
dealing with the people I think they're dealing with. How many homeless
Barrens people have anybody who'll come over to a funeral home to see about
"Not many," I muttered. "Especially if their friends or family or whatever
gets screwed around with at the clinic and told that the person checked out,
or never checked in in the first place." I waved the paper in my hand. "They're
doing this with kids?" Having grown up as a kid in the Barrens, this
hit close to home. There were enough predators who preyed on orphan kids around
there without scumbags grabbing them for their parts.
'Hawk, who had continued to read while we were talking, held up another of
the sheets. "Look at this," he said. "I think I've found our man Tommy."
I took the paper and looked at it. Male, age approximately 25, human. The
Notes read: "Abnormality discovered during routine testing. Needs more
investigation before releasing for use." I looked at Winterhawk
quizzically. "I don't see"
He pointed at the word abnormality. "Don't you? It sounds to me
like they did a blood test on him and discovered something they didn't expect."
"The treatment," I said, light dawning.
"That may have saved his life, if we can get to him soon enough," 'Hawk said.
"Heregive me that back. What's the transfer date?"
I looked at it. "Today."
"Then we might not be too late," he said. He addressed Jean: "Have you deduced
where they've been taken yet?"
She shook her head. "No. I only had time to glance over those records. The
organlegging operation is what I'd been expecting all along, so it wasn't too
much of a surprise."
I picked up the 11-year-old kid's record. "This one says, 'Rm. 4, Elysian.'
Winterhawk shrugged. "Never heard of it. Except in the sense of Greek
mythology, and I don't think that's what we're dealing with here."
Jean was thinking. "I've heard the name..." she said. "But I can't remember
where. Give me a minute, and maybe it'll come. It was a long time ago."
I was already at the room's telecom unit. Miraculously, it worked. I
called up the directory and did a search on "Elysian." The only match I
got in the greater Seattle area was "Elysian Greek Cuisine," in Bellvue.
I relayed this information to the others.
"I don't think they're grinding people up and making gyros out of them,"
'Hawk said. He turned to Jean. "Do you?"
She shook her head, her concentration obviously elsewhere. "What? Oh...no.
I don't think so. I hope not, since I've eaten there a few times."
I began pacing around the small room. "So what can we do? We're wasting
"First thing is, we need to get cleaned up and get some clean clothes,"
'Hawk said. "And if Ms. Wallace doesn't remember what she's trying to
remember in the next few minutes, we need to pursue other avenues to
"I don't think we should go home," I said. "They already blew up your
car. What if they know where we live?"
'Hawk nodded. "Yes, good point. Well, we'll have to do something. Can't
go out in public looking like the aftermath of a car accident. Then we
can decide what to do next." He pointed at my wristphone. "Why don't you
ask Harry about Elysian while I go grab a quick shower." Without waiting
for an answer, he disappeared into the bathroom.
I sighed. Since I didn't have a better idea, I punched in the fixer's
number. I wasn't crazy about calling Harry; he always seemed to be
either asleep or with a commercial companion, neither of which he liked
Surprisingly enough, this time he was neither. The phone was answered
on the second ring, and Harry's face appeared on my wristphone's tiny
"Harry. It's Ocelot. We need a little help."
Harry sighed. "What is it this time? Vehicles? Artillery? Companionship?
The fixer looked at me funny. "Okay, information. By the way, anybody tell
you you don't look so hot?"
"Yeah, well, you'd look like this if somebody just tried to blow up your
car and kill you too." Before Harry could reply, I said, "I need some info
about a place called Elysian. Don't know if there's more to the name. And
I don't think I'm talking about the Greek restaurant that's in the telecom
"Elysian..." Harry paused. "Elysian...Sounds familiar. Can't place it
right now, though. Let me get back to you, okay?"
"Please hurry it up, Harry," I said. "It's important. Life or death."
Harry snorted. "You guys are always so melodramatic. I'll get back to ya
as soon as I got anything." He broke the connection.
Five minutes later, Winterhawk emerged from the bathroom. He was still
wearing the same grubby clothes, but his hair was wet and slicked back,
and the smoke from the car fire and blood from the shrapnel wounds was
gone. "Feeling much better," he announced. "Get anything?"
"Harry's calling back," I told him. I unstrapped my wristphone and
tossed it to him. "He said he'd call when he finds something. I think I'll
take your advice."
When I had finished my shower and left the bathroom ten minutes later
('Hawk was right: I did feel better), 'Hawk was just thanking Harry
and breaking the connection on my wrist phone. He tossed it back to me.
"Harry said the only Elysian he could find, except for the place in Bellevue,
was someplace called Elysian Fields. It's about twenty minutes outside
Seattle. He says it's some sort of private hospital for rich corp types.
They don't advertise because they do all their business by referrals and
word of mouth. Very exclusive, and very expensive."
"Yes!" Jean exclaimed. We'd almost forgotten about her. "That's it! I
remember now. We did a piece on them about a year agojust a little
satirical filler thing about how rich corpers can go there to get the some
of the best care in the world while people in the Barrens are dying for
lack of medical facilities. Never actually went up there, though. We tried,
but they wouldn't let us in. We figured it wasn't worth sneaking in just
to see a bunch of rich fat guys in hospital johnnies, you know? Not for
a puff piece."
"So...let me get this straight," I said, gathering the papers and putting
them back in the folder. "These Elysian guys are kidnapping street people,
faking their deaths, and stealing their body parts to use in rich corp
bastards?" My hand tightened on the folder so hard that it started to bend
in my grip.
"That looks like about the size of it," 'Hawk said softly. He reached
out. "Give me the folder, Ocelot. There's no point in taking out your
anger on it. That's not where it should be directed."
For a long time, I just stood there, clutching the folder. I could feel my
face reddening with a flush of anger; my temper rose at the thought of
those rich, pasty corporate assholes once again using the little guys off
the street to further their own aims. That's what they did. That's what they
always did. I caught myself thinking that we ought to just go find
Tommy and then go blow Mr. Johnson away. He was a corper too. They were
all alike. Scum. Every last friggin' one of 'em. This was just the latest in
a continuing series of events that proved it.
"Ocelot..." Winterhawk's voice was quiet, soothing. He still held his hand
out, palm up, waiting.
I sighed loudly, slapped the folder into his hand. "Yeah. Whatever." I
tried to get control over my temper by taking several deep breaths. It worked
pretty well, but not completely. Flopping down on the nearest bed, I said,
"So, what's our next move?"
'Hawk turned to Jean. "Do you know where Elysian is?"
She nodded. "Not exactly, but fairly close. And I can find out by calling into
my office system. We keep files on all the stories we do."
"Then I suggest you do that," Winterhawk said. "From the sound of things, we
don't have much time."