Chapter 7: White Rose
“Sir, the police have arrived so we had to stop our investigation,” a man in a suit reported on the phone.
“Damn it! Do you have any idea how important that thing inside the suitcase was? ‘Course you don’t!! Screw this, just bring that kid here and find out who the hell betrayed us!!!”
It was early morning and the sun had barely risen, causing a dull gray sky. That day, at a construction sight, when the workers were about to start work, they came across three gruesome bodies.
In fact, it was hard for them to call them bodies. Each one appeared to have been mauled beyond recognition. Each had large pieces of flesh torn off and huge scratches across their faces and bodies. Blood was all over the construction site.
The first thing they did was call the police, who had promptly closed off the site as a crime scene.
“What do you think, boss?” a young policemen asked his superior, whose most prominent features were his brown overcoat and his scruffy beard. Anton Millstun was this small town’s chief of police.
They were used to little cuffs happening here or there, but nothing on this sort of scale.
Kneeling down he started to look at the blood.
“Did you take a DNA sample of all the blood you could find?” Anton questioned.
“Yup, they’re already testing it and should come up with a few things soon. Hopefully we already have them on file.”
“If my guess is right, it looks like we have a little gang war going on. Someone transporting certain goods, a trade gone wrong, and an empty briefcase. In that case, chances are good we already have their prints in the system.” And yet there was one thing Anton had no answer for yet. Why had the transporter left behind the briefcase?
“You mean, these three corpses were the attackers, boss?”
“Transporters usually travel alone, since it’s easier to blend in that way. From what we know the gangs mostly use teenagers and young adults, none of whom would dress as flashy as the victims. Still, this makes it even more bizarre that a transporter could kill three armed thugs.”
“Unless of course, the one transporting goods was something they didn’t expect. An Altered,” a female voice concluded.
Turning around, the two of them saw a middle-aged woman and man walk underneath the yellow tape. Neither one was dressed like police. They were in uniform, although it looked a little bit fancy for one to be wearing it out in the open.
The uniforms were grey in colour, with gold around the edges where the trim would be. It was tight fitting while still allowing for free movement, expandable and most importantly breathable. What stood out most though, was the crest on their left chests.
A silver rose with a sword going down the middle, clearly showing who they were and where they had come from.
“Damn it, what are you guys doing here? It’s too early to say for sure that this is an Altered case!” Anton stood up to complain.
The handsome middle-aged man with the strange uniform, whose name tag read Frank Hue, had short black hair and a serious look to him. When Anton looked at him, he felt a slight shiver go down his spine because he felt nothing. There were no emotions emanating from this man. Despite the gruesome state of the victims he didn’t even blink an eye.
At least with his female partner, Sadie Nimper, she displayed an arrogant air of importance. Unfortunately, she seemed to not be shy about it either.
“Look, Mr. Millstun, even a toddler could tell you at first glance that this crime scene could only have been accomplished by an Altered,” she berated the local chief of police. “The two of us will take over this investigation from now on. I expect you to support us, as is your duty.”
Without waiting for a reply, Sadie was off to talk to the others about the evidence that had been found so far.
“Sir, are they really members of that White Rose?” The young policeman whispered to not attract the attention of the scary looking female.
“Yes and unfortunately that means they’re in charge,” Anton replied, clenching his fist and walking away. He had never liked their attitude and how they behaved as if they were above the police force.
Anton wasn’t upset because they outranked him. No, it was because they genuinely behaved as if they were superior beings. “Heed my advice boy, never fight with them. I’m sure you know this already, but both of them are Altered.”
With the introduction of Altered, it was unfortunately a sad reality that certain people would try to use these special abilities and powers for no good. As the police’s simple guns wouldn’t do much when faced with an Altered, the government decided to combat fire with fire.
The Altered Investigation Force was established, more commonly known as ‘White Rose’.
The next day, the sound of the alarm woke Gary up. Instinctively he hit the big snooze button above it, to turn it off. He felt horrible, and his head was pounding with a strange pain.
‘Seems like I feel asleep after all,’ Gary thought.
He had hardly gotten a wink of sleep. Less because of all that had happened to him ever since yesterday’s cursed transporter job and more because he had been too scared imagining what Daimon would do to him… or to his family.
‘I have to make sure, they never find out about this place,’ Gary reminded himself, when his thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a strange scent entering his nose.
Like a dog, he started to unconsciously sniff about in the air and followed the origin of the scent. That’s when he noticed his bully rumbling. He was extremely hungry after last night.
Eventually he arrived in front of the fridge. Opening it, he found a fresh uncooked steak sitting in a small pile of blood.
Before he knew it, his hand had already reached out and grabbed the piece of meat. He lifted the whole thing up, about to place it in his mouth.
“Ewww!” Amy shouted. “What are you doing? That’s still raw!”
Hearing the voice of his younger sister, Gary snapped out of it, realising he had been about to eat a raw piece of uncooked meat. Caught in the act, he quickly placed it back in the fridge.
“Now we’ll have to eat steak tonight with all your germs over it! Did you even wash our hands before? Look, they’re covered in blood,” Amy continued to complain. “Mom was saving that to treat us tonight! You should know how rare it is that we get to eat something so nice!”
To make matters worse, his mother entered the room, drawn in by the commotion.
“What are you two arguing about so early in the morning?” she asked with bags under her eyes.
“This doofus just tried to eat raw steak!” Amy shouted pointing at him.
Gary’s hands were shaking. Everything was kind of getting to him and now he couldn’t even control his body…
“I’m sorry,” Gary apologised as he ran past the two of them and headed to the bathroom. “I’ll buy a new one, I promise.”
When he entered the bathroom, he looked at himself in the mirror, half expecting to see someone else, but from the looks of it, he was still the same. The only thing ‘wrong’ with him was his fast beating heart and the system was there to tell him.
Then he noticed something else, his bloody hands that had touched the steak were in his mouth. He pulled them out quickly, but it was already too late. When he had checked the system he had licked them clean, and he could still taste it. Even worse, he enjoyed this aftertaste.
After spending some time inside to regain his composure, Gary finally left the bathroom and went to join the others for breakfast. The TV was on while they ate. Amy refused to talk to him and was just giving him the cold shoulder.
Similarly, his mother had also stayed quiet. Gary was unsure whether it was because she was mad at him or just too sleepy.
In front of him was a sliced ham sandwich. It didn’t take long for him to finish it, and afterward he decided to check the status of one of his quests.
[28/2,000g of meat consumed]
The single slice of ham only weighed 28 grams. If possible, he would like to test if completing the quest would give him the promised exp, and if he could eventually level up just like in those games.
Unfortunately, there was a large barrier. Meat was expensive. He still had the 500 dollars of upfront payment in his pocket, but this amount of money could help their family a lot.
“In recent news, it looks like the Altered Hunters have struck again. This time killing an Altered in his own home. Just like in previous cases, their calling card had been left in the victim’s household.”
‘Altered Hunters, huh?’ Gary thought. If he really was an Altered, they might be something he needed to worry about in the future.
Not everyone liked the idea of Altered existing. Those Altered Hunters seemed to believe that this kind of power should either be something that everyone should have access to or no one.
“In other Altered-related news, three mutilated corpses have been found at a construction site in the small town of Slough. The extent of their wounds suggests that an Altered had been involved, in what the police currently assumes to be a gang trade gone wrong.”
“According to the found evidence, all three deceased have successfully been identified as members of a certain gang. Although the blood of a fourth person has been found at the crime scene, the police have been unable to find the corresponding person, currently believed to be the killer Altered.”
“The police have offered a reward for any hints leading to…”
Gary had stopped listening to all the words after the news.
‘Great, now the police are after me as well…’