|Triumvirate and Entente
Author: Jave Harron PM
In 1908, a series of murders prompt a Chinese American detective, British occultist, and German monk to unravel an international conspiracy that pits the old Great Powers against the new. Completed!Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Adventure - Chapters: 7 - Words: 11,409 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 06-29-06 - Published: 01-28-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2100149
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Triumvirate and Entente
May 29, 1908
San Francisco, California, USA
To private investigator Jeffrey Taylor, the day was completely and utterly boring. Other than being the anniversary of when the Ottoman Turks finally finished the Byzantine Empire, nothing exciting was happening. His second story office was fairly cool, while the sun beat mercilessly down on the streets outside.
It was one of the days that made the detective regret he had moved here from New York City. New York, while it was far from perfect, was still a bit more tolerable to Jeff. New York had its elevated railways, the new bridges, modern infrastructure, and generally friendlier people, or arguably, less racist ones. Outside in San Francisco, however, there was all sorts of things Taylor wasn't to crazy about: afternoon sunlight, smog, immigrant gang wars, racist workers, and other, less pleasant things.
The private eye had moved back under suggestion from his late adopted father, Scott Taylor. Memories of his father, and his stories, filled Jeff's mind. Taylor was a successful East Coast businessman, but one with a strong social conscience. He had been an active member of New York's progressive movement. A photograph on his desk showed his father standing next to Seth Low, the semi-legendary New York progressive.
Interestingly enough, it was under Low's suggestion that Taylor went to San Francisco in the first place. The mistreatment of blacks by the Ku Klux Klan in the south was known to the northern reformers, for the most part. However, there was another type of violent racism still very prevalent in the nation few cared for: Asian immigrants on the west coast.
Scott Taylor had sagely noted that the incidents perpetrated on the Asian immigrants were very similar to the Klan's activities in the South. However, many progressives did not see Asian immigrants as a cause worth pursuing. After all, some of the same officials who had voted against the Jim Crow laws had also voted for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Thankfully, Low and Taylor were not the opportunistic political scum of that variety.
Taylor had arrived in San Francisco in 1891, and saw the violence firsthand. A Chinese family was simply walking on the same street as the mob when the incident happened. The mob began to insult the "feminine yellow man" with the "dress and ponytails," and then beat him to a pulp. They forced him to watch as the mob gang-raped his wife, then slit her throat. The man died a few hours later, but there was a survivor. The couple had a child, who had hid in an alley while the mob did their deed.
The San Francisco police had done nothing to stop the incident. No members of the mob were ever tried or convicted. No suspects were ever held. The only effect this savage event had on the city was a small editorial in the rear section of the San Francisco Chronicle, entitled: Brave Citizens Triumph Against The Yellow Peril. This, however, was only one event.
The event that outraged Taylor, however, was the fate of the orphaned boy. The civic system did not care to adopt him. Even the religious orphanages claimed they were "already full of yellow urchins." Since Taylor was not married, nor had any children of his own, he adopted the young boy and moved back to New York City.
Taylor named the youth "Jeffrey," after an old friend of his, and began to home-school him. Taylor valued an education, but not many schools would accept a non-white student. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, as his father often said. Jeffery soon found himself reading thick tomes of history at a young age. Science, technology, and math were key parts of his education, but Jeffery's passion was deductive reasoning and philosophy.
Jeff normally read materials well beyond what most of his white peers would be reading. The fact his father did not care much for the stringent religious standards of the Victorian age had allowed Jeff access to more controversial literature of the era. Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, Darwin's The Origin of Species, and other thick tomes were Jeff's preferred reading.
Nor could many of Jeff's peers speak other languages fluently. Many of Taylor's favorite writers were in German, from Kant to Nietzsche to Einstein. Jeff recalled his father's words on all the languages of the world. There was Latin ("The mother of all the Western languages"), German ("A strong language, where every word is mighty"), French ("A disgusting mutilation of sound, created in an equally repulsive nation"), Japanese ("A language that will be more important in the future"), Russian ("A language that takes both from East and West"), and finally English ("A hard language, but one that drives the major nations of the world.")
One part of his education Jeff had been grateful for was self-defense training. His father showed him boxing and wrestling techniques from a young age, so the boy could defend himself fairly well. While he was no match for a professional boxer or experienced street fighter, Jeff was certain he could hold his own. The fact his father had bought him his own revolver at age twenty was something he was constantly thankful for. It was also the time, however, his father was killed.
The story of his father's death and his decision to become a private eye were things he did not care to remember. Jeffrey drew that same revolver, a Belgian-made Nagant M1895. The seven-shot revolver was chambered for the new .22LR cartridge. It also was silenced. While a silenced revolver would normally be impossible, a locking firing chamber of the weapon allowed it to shoot quietly, and even underwater. It was underpowered for use on humans, but combined with the silencer, it was a silent and handy little number. While it normally couldn't stop a running man if shot in the chest, it could stop a running man by hitting them in the kneecap.
Taylor fired the revolver at a target on the wall, the daily newspaper. Even from across the room, Taylor could read the bullet-riddled headlines: "Heathen Savages Murder US Troops In Philippines." Most papers cared about the Filipino insurgency. Calls from citizens and politicians to "civilize and Christianize the savages" now filled most of the editorials.
Never mind the Philippines is already mainly Catholic,he mused.
Then again, he could hardly blame the Filipinos for attacking American troops. After all, the Spanish-American War was fought for false reasons, all exaggerated by the press. The public sentiment, combined with the American desire to join the Imperialist Club, brought a smirk to Jeff's face. The Filipinos had been promised immediate independence if they helped the Americans against the Spanish. However, after the Spanish were gone, the US decided to stay.
The Filipinos got pissed, and we respond by gunning down children, Taylor mused.
Tales of soldiers shooting the Filipinos over ten they found didn't surprise him in the least. The fact the press downplayed it and ran stories on "civilizing the primitives" was equally unsurprising.
Wouldn't surprise me if this is a forgotten chapter in American history,Jeffrey thought.
The irony of the nation, originally rebel colonies, trying to set up colonies of its own was ironic enough for Taylor. Still, Filipinos, like the Chinese, were another part of the Asiatic demographic. And with the recent defeat of Russia in the recent Russo-Japanese War, the caricature of the menacing Easterner was back, with his "feminine" pony tail, yellow skin, grinning buck teeth, and animalistic desire to ravage white women. The idea of yellow peril were in full swing with a good part of the Western world.
Jeff Taylor's thoughts were interrupted by a rapping at his door. "Come in!" he instinctively said, putting his revolver back in his pocket.
Can't scare away potential costumers with this,he thought.
Just then, a woman walked in, and Jeff knew life was about to get a lot more exciting.