“…..and so, for her efforts in breaking up this most notorious of gangs, this Order of Merit award goes to Sergeant Lucy Bateson!”
The assembled crowd applauded as the uniformed female officer mounted the dais, shook hands with the commissioner and received the scroll. In the year since she had joined the Dayton force, she had been responsible for breaking up some of the more persistent criminal gangs in the area, seemingly single handed. The people in charge may have wondered how she got her results, but the results were what counted.
Lucy marched down from the stage, her dark hair neatly fastened in a bun under the peak cap of her regulation uniform. The blue serge moved with her trim body as she regained her seat at the front of the assembled group, a slight smile playing over her lips. One thought was in her mind at that point – “If they only knew…..”
She had arrived from the city of angels some twelve months earlier, with a record for her no-nonsense approach to law enforcement and her long string of results. The reasons for her transfer were made clear to her that first day, as she sat in the Captain’s office.
“Sergeant Bateson, we have a real problem in this town.” The Captain sat back in his seat, the thinning grey hair lying across his head as she sized up the smartly dressed detective in front of him.
“Really, Captain? What would that problem be?”
“We have a crime wave that seems to show no signs of stopping – three major gangs and no way of bringing them down. That’s why we asked the LA force to send you to us – you seem to have a knack for getting in and weeding out the criminals. Do you think you can help us?”
Lucy rubbed her chin with her hand. “Tell me more.”
The Captain tossed a fat file over the table. “Read the info, then get on with your work. You report directly to me on this one.”
“We’ll be there to help you take them down, but according to your CO you work best alone and deep cover. Do what you have to do.”
Lucy stood up, smoothed down her grey skirt and took hold of the manila folder. “Leave it to me, Captain. I’ll report in when I’m ready to take down the first gang.”
It took two weeks for Lucy to make contact with her first target – the Lyle Ladies. Four women who specialised in knocking over the local businesses, with violent intent. She reckoned they would be the most open to her plan – especially as one of their main rivals were another group on her list, the Duke Boys.
“The Female of the species is more deadly than the male,” she said to herself as she walked into the neighbourhood bar the Lyle’s liked to use as their base of operations. Despite the dim light, everyone turned and looked at the blonde haired woman, in leather jacket and jeans, who closed the door behind her and walked up to the bar.
“Adams,” she called out to the barman, who pulled a bottle from the fridge and handed it over. In a back corner, four girls were looking intently at the stranger. Eventually, one of them stood up and walked over. About six foot, shoulder length dark hair, t-shirt and jeans – Lucy had dealt with her like before.
“Same for me,” the woman said as she walked up to the bar and sat next to Lucy.
“I heard someone was offering to deal with the Duke’s. That wouldn’t be you, would it?”
Lucy put her bottle back on the table. “I might be – if the price was right.”
“How do I know you’re on the level?”
“Well, you could ask the O’Malleys of Bel Aire – oh, you can’t – they all disappeared.”
The dark haired woman took a drink. “I heard that – any idea what happened to them?”
“I may have – but that is a story for another day. The thing is, what is it worth to you for the Dukes to disappear?”
The Lyle girl took an envelope out of the back pocket of her jeans and handed it over. Lucy opened the paper, peeked inside and placed it in her own pocket.
“Look out for the paper on Sunday – it may be of interest to you,” she said as she stood up, finished her drink and walked out of the bar. The girl watched her as she left, then nodded to one of her partners, who stood up and followed Lucy from a safe distance.
“Will someone shut that bitch up?”
The masked man grabbed a cloth from the sink drainer, stuffed it into the grey haired woman’s mouth and used a zip tie to secure it in place. She and the other two female staff members were sat on the floor, their wrists secured in front of them and their ankles bound together with zip ties, while the Duke boys carried out the robbery,
The bookies had been cashing up for the night when the three lads had burst in, grabbed the manageress and the tow assistants and frog marched them into the back room. All three were wearing grey blouses and skirts, with flat shoes and scarves around their necks. The two younger women had their scarves in their mouths as gags, but the manageress had until a moment earlier being ungagged so that she could give the safe combination. Now she stared at the three masked men who were emptying the contents of the safe into their bags.
It was a complete surprise to all six of them when the local police burst in, literally catching the gang in the act of leaving with the money. The staff were quickly released, statements taken and the three Duke boys carted off. The manageress made sure her staff was safe, before calling to tell her daughter she would be home a little later and not to worry.
On the other end of the line, the woman who took the call said “Thank you – everything will be here when you return,” before returning the receiver to the holder. She turned and looked at the pyjama clad girl, sat in the chair and secured in place with layer after layer of silver tape.
“Your mother did what she needed to do,” she said through the stocking mask. “Just stay calm – it will all be over soon.”
“I don’t know how you did it, but you did it – congratulation, Miss Bateman.”
Lucy raised a glass to the assembled quartet, and took a drink of champagne. “Given what the police found at their homes, I don’t think they will bother you for some time.”
Sandy Lyle shook her dark hair. “So, what else can we do with you in terms of business?”
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something. For now, think of me as a consultant – a brain to pick over for planning. Now,” she said as she picked her bag up, “I’ll wait for my retainer to be paid each week. Fail to pay it, and who knows what may happen?”
She walked out of the bar, her heels clicking on the floor as she sashayed over to the door, and then left the gang staring after her.
“Are you seriously going to pay her?” One of the girls said to Sandy.
“For now – but I’m keeping an eye on her….”
“One down, three to go – congratulation, Sergeant!”
“Thank you Captain – as you can see, my methods work.”
“How on earth did you find out they planned to hit the bookies that day?”
“I have my sources. If that is all?” Lucy stood up and made her way out of the office, stopping at her desk to make a phone call.
“Madame Syn? I think I can help you to deal with a problem with Lyle – can we arrange a meeting?”
For the next two months, the Lyle Girls seemed to have a run on the store robberies in Dayton. They seemed to run with impunity, the local force unable to stop them. This helped them to grow in their own confidence, seeking to do bigger and more “profitable” jobs until they decided to try a local bank.
Lucy met with the Lyle Girls at the bar to “have her brain picked” as she so eloquently put it.
“Our plan is simple – we plan to take the family of the manager hostage the night before, two of us watch them while the other two take the manager to the bank and empty the safe before the staff arrives. What do you think?”
Lucy looked over the diagrams they had spread over the table in the quiet nook.
“They seem complete – but why do you need my help?”
“We’ve never tried anything this big- we’d like you to be there with us.”
Lucy looked over the plans, than nodded. “All right – I’ll come to the house the night before, and stay with the wife and daughter while two of you go to the bank. When do you plan to strike?”
“Friday – Saturday is late opening.”
“All right then, Friday. I’ll meet you here.”
Maggie called up the stairs.
“Have you finished your assignment yet, dear?”
“Just about Mum – I’ll be down in a minute,” Julie replied as she glanced at the clock on her desk. “Ten O’clock,” she thought as she stretched and yawned, before turning the computer off and heading down the staircase. A drink of milk and then bed, she thought as she tugged at the sleeve of her t-shirt.
Walking into the kitchen, however, any thought of sleep was driven from her mind as she was grabbed from behind and a gloved hand pressed firmly over her mouth. A female voice hissed “Keep quiet” as she was pushed into the main room, where her Maggie and her husband were watching the television.
“Oh my god!” Maggie screamed as Julie was pushed into the room, followed by five women in black boiler suits. Balaclavas covered their faces, and leather gloves were on their hands. Each was armed with either a gun or a knife, as they stood over the family.
“Shut the fuck up,” Sandy called, “and none of your bastards get hurt. Sit down, hands on your heads, and don’t move, speak or even shake unless we tell you. Understood?”
“What do you want,” Maggie’s husband shouted as his wife went over to hug her daughter. Lucy walked over, and clubbed him on the back of the head with the barrel of the gun she was holding.
“We told you to shut up!” Sandy said. “Now, sit down and keep stumm.”
Julie and Maggie sat next to their father, the tears from Julie starting to stain her t-shirt which had a picture of a man and woman hugging on the front. Maggie was wearing a white polo neck sweater and slacks, while her husband was still in a shirt and tie.
“You come with us,” Sandy said as she hauled Maggie’s husband to his feet. “Take care of these two while the two of us talk to him.”
As Sandy and one of the other Lyle’s took him out of the room, lengths of rope were produced from a rucksack and Judy pulled Julie to her feet, turning her round to face her mother and forcing her wrists behind her back.
The clock struck two in the morning as both Maggie and Julie saw their father being taken out of the house by the two Lyle girls. They were sat back to back on the floor, their wrists secured behind their backs with rope and their upper bodies almost mummified in layer after layer of rope, pulling them so tightly together they could hardly breathe. That had to be through their noses anyway, as thick white clothes had been passed three times around their mouths and jaws to gag them. They were sitting cross-legged on the floor; their ankles bound and rope from each of their necks running down to their ankles so that they had their heads bowed slightly.
The two remaining Lyle girls were sitting watching them, while Judy stood in the doorway looking over the assembled group. They all sat in silence as the clock slowly ticked round, until Judy stiffened.
“What’s up?” one of the others whispered, but Judy put her fingers to her lips and left the room for a moment. The two Lyle girls stood and trained their weapons on their hostages; each wondering what was going on.
Maggie looked round when she heard a muffled gasp, and nudged Julie in the back. Both stared on, wide eyed, as two black-clad Asian women crept up and slapped cloths over the mouths of their guards. Both tried to shake off their assailants, but soon they were crumpled to the floor, unconscious, and the captives watched as their captors were themselves dragged out of the room.
Judy watched the Lyle girls as they were carried out of the room, and spoke into her mobile phone.
“Captain? Get to the First National now – two of the Lyle gang are there attempting to rob the vault. Send a car round to the manager’s house as well. I’ll check in with you in the morning…”
SENSATIONAL ARREST AT FIRST NATIONAL BANK!!
Notorious Lyle gang caught in act of robbery!
Family of bank manager rescued after terrifying ordeal!
“As promised, Madame Syn, the Lyle gang have been neutralised.”
The red-haired woman sat on the other side of the desk from the elderly Asian woman, who was reading the paper. Dressed in blue silk with gold patterning, she placed the paper on her desk and looked hard at this woman.
“You did indeed, and I am most impressed.” She passed a black briefcase over to the visitor. “You will find everything here.”
“What happened to the other two?”
“We will find them more – strenuous duties. Will you be willing to continue to work for us?”
“On a consultancy basis, yes.” Judy stood up. “Good Day, Madame.”
“Sergeant, I don’t know how you did it, but you did it.”
Judy was sat opposite the Captain in his office, dressed in a dark grey skirt and jacket with heels.
“Thank you, Sir. I now have made inroads into the last remaining group, and hope to make progress there over the next few months. How are the banker’s family?”
“They will recover – I wish you could have warned them…”
Judy shook her head. “Not possible – my cover would not allow it.”
“Do you sometimes wonder if you going native?”
“That’s a strange question to ask – why?”
“We checked into Ms Lyle’s accounts – they have been steadily cleared out over the last few months. Also, we only got two of them – the other two are missing. Do you know anything about this?”
Judy stood up, flushed with anger. “Are you saying I stole the money? As to the other two, I left the room to call you. When I came back, they had disappeared – maybe they absconded with the funds?”
“Sit down, Sergeant Bateson. Of course I don’t think you took the money – but how long before you can deliver Madame Syn to us?”
“Patience, Captain, patience,” Judy said as she left the office.
The year turned as the gap left by the apprehension of the Dukes and the Lyles was filled with peace and prosperity for the smaller businesses and banks. As the police force knew, however, crime goes on in many forms – and the head of this more private branch of the business was the woman known as Madame Syn.
To the general public, she ran the local Chinese supermarket, but behind the scenes she was responsible for more of the so-called “white collar” crimes. Fraud, extortion, prostitution – she had a hand in all of this, and yet no trace of her could be found to follow.
Judy had realised this, so by establishing herself as a consultant she had proven her worth, especially when she had delivered the Lyles up to Madame Syn to get her revenge for muscling in on her territory. Now, in return for a retainer of some substance, she was acting as an alert for when police got too close, as well as suggesting new areas to work into.
Eventually, she called the Captain.
“Captain – I think we may be ready to take Madame Syn down, and I have the evidence you need, but it’s going to be a rough ride.”
“In what way?”
“I need to show her that she can intimidate you – which means we need you to….”
“Look, Captain, I’m sorry. Just go with whatever happens, and you will get your reward. All right?”
The line went dead, and the Captain sat back, wondering what she meant by the comment.
“On special offer today – a free blouse with every Lagerfeld trouser suit…..”
Yvonne was looking through the dresses in the department store, and selecting some to try on. Satisfied with her choice, she headed towards the changing area.
“Two items,” she said to the young Korean girl who was at the doorway, who nodded and handed Yvonne a tag, before directing her to an alcove next to the entrance. Entering and pulling the curtain closed behind her, she hung the dresses on the hook and looked at herself in the mirror.
For a woman in her early fifties, she looked good in her brown leather skirt and jacket. Turning her back to the mirror, she started to examine the first dress, not noticing the mirror sliding out of the way and two masked women standing there.
The first indication she had she was not alone was when a piece of white tape was slapped over her mouth, cutting off any screams as she was pulled back by the two assailants and the mirror slid back into place. The Korean assistant came in, retrieved the dresses and pulled the curtain back into place.
“What the hell do you mean, my wife has gone missing!”
“Just that, Captain –her car has been found abandoned at the West Mall. Do you want us to check your house?”
“What the hell do you think!!!!”
The officer backed hurriedly out of the room as the telephone rang.
“Now, now, Captain,” a voice with an Americanised Chinese accent said, “You need to watch your blood pressure.”
“Who is this?”
“That’s not important. What is important is this – we have a visitor with us that you know. Hold the line please….”
“John? John, they’ve got me tied up and mmmpphhhh”
“So, Captain, if you want to see your wife again, you will call off the guards you have at the Waldorf at ten o’clock tonight. Do not, and your wife takes a permanent vacation.”
The line went dead, and the Captain sat back. On the other end, Madame Syn looked at the trussed and gagged woman sitting opposite her, and the red headed lady that stood behind her.
“Make the Captain’s wife comfortable, and then come back – I wish you to accompany us tonight.”
Judy nodded as she signalled to two guards, who effortlessly picked Yvonne up and carried her to a room where she was placed on a cot. The ropes around her chest held her arms tightly in place, and her legs were secured with ropes around her thighs, calves and crossed ankles, even around her feet to hold her shoes in place.
As the door closed, she looked round the dimly lit room and saw that she was not alone. Propped up against the wall was another woman in her early fifties, whom she recognised as the wife of the General Manager of the Waldorf hotel. She had obviously been taken from her bed, as she was still dressed in a long blue silk nightgown with rope all around her. On the opposite side of the room was a younger woman, dressed in a black sleeveless dress with knee length fabric boots. She too was securely bound and gagged, but Yvonne had no idea who she was.
The hours passed, until the door was opened and Yvonne saw the red haired woman walk in with four masked guards. “Take these three to the van – Madame wants them taken elsewhere,” she said as the guards picked the other two women up and carried their struggling bodies out of the room. Judy walked over, and whispered into Yvonne’s ear.
“I’m Sergeant Judy Bateson, on special assignment for your husband. I’m sorry this has happened, but play along and you’ll be all right.”
“What is she doing?” One of the guards said as they walked back in, and Judy slapped Yvonne across the face.
“She tried to kick me – ensure she is especially secured before I come.”
The Waldorf Hotel was one of the more upmarket establishments, as the name suggested, but this night the 15th floor was the venue for a very special and exclusive dinner, being held by Senator Haynes. Security was meant to be tight for the occasion, but the General Manager had seemed slightly distracted by other events, so when the precinct Captain called to reassure the senator all was well he had been reassured.
The guests were sitting around talking when a gong was sounded, but rather than the dinner gong it turned out to be something else instead. A gang of armed black clad men burst in, and surrounded the room as a masked Asian woman, dressed in a long sleeved green dress, walked into the room.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” she said with an Americanised accent. “This, as they say, is a robbery, and to assure your co-operation the good Senator has an announcement to make. Senator?”
“I’m sorry, my friends, but they have my daughter hostage. Please, do whatever they ask….”
The Captain was sat at his desk when the phone rang.
“Captain, it’s Bateson. I have your wife and two other women, and Madame Syn’s base has been neutralised. Move in on both locations.”
The Captain slammed down the receiver, and shouted “COFFEY!!! GET YOUR ARSE IN HERE – WE HAVE A GO!!!”
“Thank you Senator – now all sit down and place your hands behind your chairs.”
As the Asian woman looked on, the guests had their hands secured with zip ties behind the backs of their chairs. Her attention was diverted, however, by the introduction of a series of canisters into the room, out of which a grey gas started to emanate and quickly spread across the floor.
As guests and captors alike started to cough and splutter, a horde of armed police burst in and shouted “Police – nobody move!”
Sergeant Bateson stood up at the end of the ceremony, and walked over to the Captain.
“Congratulations again, Judy – we found enough to put that woman away for a very long time.”
“Thank you, Captain. Now, I fear I have to leave – my attention is needed in LA again.”
“Of course, of course – you take care of yourself now.”
Judy saluted, turned and walked away from the throng, as Yvonne walked up to her husband.
“A very brave woman, that one.”
“Oh, I agree – I just hope she manages to survive. I’m sure she has a plan for that, anyway.”
Three days later, Judy drove up to an office block on the outskirts of the city, and walked through the door.
“Good morning,” she said to the receptionist. “I am Judy Bateson – I have an appointment.”
The receptionist nodded, as Judy walked into the nearby lift and went to the third floor. There waiting to meet her were two women. The taller red haired woman was in a light summer dress, while the blonde haired one was in a tan jumper and slacks.
“Judy, now nice to see you again. How was Dayton?”
“An eventful year, thank you Madeline,” Judy replied as she shook the taller woman’s hand. “Susan – how was the wedding?”
“Wonderful, thank you. Madame sends her compliments on a job well done.”
“It was my pleasure, Susan. She can begin to take over Madame Syn’s operations at any time.”
The three made their way into a private back office, as the television screen in the corner showed coverage of the successful clampdown in the Dayton crime spree…..