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Date Posted: 12:07:29 04/30/05 Sat
Subject: Okay - Chapter 6 - Alternate Version
In reply to:
's message, "Okay - Chapter 6" on 19:00:09 04/22/05 Fri
Nikita couldn’t get past the first line in Ken’s file. Convicted of the murder of a child. Third Degree. Nikita thought that meant not premeditated, but she wasn’t sure. He was also convicted of battery and assault of a minor child that resulted in the child being in a paraplegic state for the rest of his life.
She flipped back to the front page. Ken was an excellent student in high school, and was a few credits short of an elementary education degree with a minor in special education. All of his student teaching evaluations had been excellent. Never married, he volunteered as a mentor in the Court Appointed Special Advocacy program, and had been a foster father himself several times, twice to children with special needs.
Nikita turned back to the coverage of his trial. He just didn’t seem the type, but she knew first-hand that looks could be deceiving. From what Section had uncovered, it seems as though a girl, 14, with a broken leg, was sitting in her wheelchair in the park near the shelter, waiting for a ride home. Two boys, both just weeks short of 18, allegedly kicked over her chair, knocked her on the ground, and proceeded to lift her skirt, preparing to rape her. Ken stumbled upon the scene, grabbed the first kid, and slung him over behind him and into the wall of the shelter. The boy later died of his injuries. Ken picked up the second youth by his ankles and tossed him over his shoulder, letting him hit the concrete. The kid was trying to zip up his pants, and didn’t put his hands out to break his fall. His neck snapped. Ken helped the girl pull herself together, put her back in her chair, and waited with her until her parents came. There was a phone nearby, but he made no effort to call for an ambulance.
Friends of the two boys testified in court that Ken had raped the girl, and beat the two kids who tried to stop him, killing one and breaking the neck of the other in the process. Unfortunately, the girl was unable to testify in her own behalf, as the event had traumatized her so that she would not speak, nor even point when asked who had hurt her. Ken had no other witnesses. The three teens who had testified on the boys’ behalf (even though none of them was ever in the park that night) refused to recant their testimony, and the judge was forced to find Kendrick Lockett guilty of Murder in the 3rd Degree of a Minor child, and Battery in the 1st Degree of a Minor child. There were no rape charges filed.
Ken was sentenced to prison without the possibility of parole. He spent the first six months in isolation. Child killers are not popular in prison, regardless of how old the “child” is and what the circumstances surrounding the crime might have been. After that, he “committed suicide” in prison and was brought to Section, where he excelled in all areas—except Valentine training. Nikita shrugged. Not everyone was suited to be a Valentine Op., including herself.
Putting Ken’s file aside, Nikita was pretty sure she had made up her mind. The “child” he had murdered had been an almost-adult thug would-be rapist. He deserved what he got. If that’s what really happened. She hadn’t found anything else in his police file other than a couple of speeding tickets and heck, who didn’t have a couple of those? She would give Ken a chance to tell his side of the story tomorrow. If he was who she thought he was, she had found the person she was looking for.
* * *
For the most part, the candidates had been isolated while at Section, but this particular morning found them all in the Section commissary. Ken thought if he had to endure one more story about Joanie and her nephew’s Ripley’ Believe It Or Not teeth, he was going to offer to be put into abeyance. Yes, the waiting was bad, but the company he was keeping was worse. Between Merry Sunshine and the Vapid Valley Girl, he thought he might actually lose his mind. He was both startled and gratified to hear his cell ring, and have Jason ask him to meet Nikita in the Perch at 10 this morning.
“Why you?” mused Joanie. “I interviewed first, I’m first alphabetically…”
:But I’m older and I’m taller,” explained Ken with a straight face as he went to answer the summons. .
“And he can write his name in the snow,” chipped in Megan, the first conversation she had contributed to in the last 24 hours.
“Are you serious? Do you think she just wants a guy?” inquired Joanie anxiously.
“Oh, she wants a guy, all right,” confirmed Megan, “but it’s not Kendrick.”
“Well, who is it? persisted Joanie. “Who’s the guy she wants?”
Megan’s wheels turned while she tried to decide whether to not to give the oh-so-obvious answer. Had the woman never heard of Magnificent Michael? Unfortunately for Joanie, Megan was in a bitchy mood this morning. “Maybe if you’d shut up once in a while and listen to someone else talk, you might learn something.”
Megan truly enjoyed the look of surprise and hurt on Joanie’s face before she left the table and sauntered back to her quarters.
* * *
Nikita asked Ken to tell her about the conviction that led to his being recruited by Section. He told her very politely to read his file. He had no way of knowing that Nikita had been brushed off by the best. “I want to hear it in your own words,” she persisted. Ken took a deep breath and began to recount, almost word-for-word, the news story rendition of the incident. Nikita put her hand on his arm to stop him.
“Look at me, Kendrick,” she commanded. He did, and found clear blue eyes boring into brown. It was as if she was trying to see into his soul, and it unnerved him more than just a little. He wasn’t used to being on this side of the interrogation. “I want you to close your eyes, and tell me exactly what you saw and exactly what you were thinking at that moment.”
It was fall--the air was chilly. He had taken a short-cut through the park to reach his apartment more quickly. He heard two men laughing loudly. It was not with pleasure. Then he saw a wheelchair on its side, the top wheel spinning crazily. Ken had worked with special needs kids for years, so he ran to see what he could do to help. Both of the thugs had their pants undone—it wasn’t a difficult leap to the logical conclusion. The first kid swung at Ken, who quickly dispatched both him and his partner.
Ken stayed with the girl until her parents came. By that time, she was hysterical, her speech was incoherent. Her father ordered Ken to move away from her, and called the police and an ambulance. Ken never said a word in his defense. He *had* committed the crimes of which he was accused. He knew he would never be allowed to work with children again, and he felt as though his life had no purpose anymore. At least in Section, he could help to bring down the child killers who deserved to die.
He looked at Nikita, who was looking back at him with a smile on her face. He had told her what she wanted to hear. In truth, she wanted to cry for him, but she kept repeating Michael’s mantra in her head: “Show no weakness. Show no weakness.”
Nikita stood and held out her hand. “Let me introduce you to the other key players of Section One.” Ken ignored her hand, but stood and followed her out of the office.
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