Three Weeks Later, Steele's Home Office
The 1st Lieutenant sat down at his desk; he'd be eligible for promotion soon enough. Soon, he'd be going to Ranger School. While his own record was in front of him, a sneaking inkling welled up inside of him.
"Yes. See it for yourself. See who Iam. And what you are planning to propose to…" Remy heard Keith's voice again.
"Show yourself, and we can look together. Unless you're ashamed." Immediately, Keith appeared with a serious, somber look.
"I am dead and paying for the sins committed in life for eternity. You have a chance to alter your own fate. Open her files. See her for who she is." Keith said.
To even Steele's surprise, he did just that. "See, you damned redneck fool? her record is impeccable-" Steele lost steam when just how manyincidents Kathy was involved in popped up onscreen.
First the incident with DS Jefferson, where she called him a nigger in front of the entire female bay, resulting in his worst smoke session. It was a good thing that the press wasn't visiting that day. Captain Milton Bell refused to discipline Kathy for this, blaming Jefferson instead.
This wasn't the last time Kathy's racism surfaced. She was hazing smaller, weaker non-white recruits. Steele felt his Masai DNA boil with insult at seeing the reports that Kathy spewed no end of slurs whenever she could get away with it. She made a habit of bullying men she knew would never hit a woman over words.
Kathy maxed out the APFTs, but she was otherwise a mediocre soldier-an attitude problem and had trouble following simple of orders. Just when Steele began to wonder how she wasn't discharged yet, he noticed something that almost made his heart sink out of his chest- the incidents involving the numerous sexual harassments claims she filed.
There were quite a few, but the one that stood out the most was the report against Kevin Stark. That was the one that made it to trial. All 12 others who caught charges resisted arrest and required lethal measures to restrain them, or died of mysterious circumstances in the brig. It was clear just whyKevin Stark avoided disaster as he did once Steele looked into Kathy's superior officers. Suddenly, it was obvious how Kathy was selected for Ranger School.
Steele had enough when he saw the incident during her one and only deployment for the Rangers. He kicked the computer screen, having seen enough.
"You see, Steele?" Keith asked. "It is all right there for you to see. Look at what all she has done, and tell me this is a woman you want to marry, sire children with. Is this a woman you want to leave alone with your sister?"
"Reverend Buchanan preached that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. The future isn't set in stone, and Kathy's actions are in the past. And in the past, they will remain with you!" Steele declared.
Keith gave Steele a look of pity before he faded away.
Holding Facilities, Maximum Security Floor Underground
The metal cell door opened with a whoosh, the detoxifying gas filling the room as Steele stepped into the room with a chair in hand to observe his captive. Restrained with reinforced cuffs and his leg in a brace was Jay Razor. Jay was one of the more dangerous of the prisoners held in Steele's private prison. As a rule, no guard was to approach him alone and unarmed. But Steele didn't care today. Jay looked up at him with an unreadable look. Setting the chair before Jay, Steele sat in front of him with a glare.
"Kopski is dead." He finally said. "You're released from your contract."
Jay didn't answer.
"Who are you really working for, Dobbins?" Steele called him by his actual last name, dropping any formalities.
"It's just business. Nothing personal." Jay finally said. Despite the fact Kopski hired Jay take out Kathy, Steele didn't have any personal animosity towards the former Special Forces veteran.
"My old man could easily have hired a man of your talent. You would've been set for life. Private security offers many opportunities for former special forces veterans that they can't find elsewhere in the civilian sector."
Jay scoffed. "Don't get ahead of yourself, kid. You're still a pup. Even with one injured leg, I still had you on the ropes. You've got talent and I respect that. But that's just it. Talent. You're an amateur at best. You don't do what I do and walk away without lifelong consequences"
Steele frowned but said nothing as Jay continued. "I just don't know why you go to such lengths to protect this woman. Do you really not know who she is? Are you really going to throw away everything you have, everything your father worked tirelessly to build for junior- all for her? She isn't just beneath you. She's an animal. A wild brute beast. And like any beast, she will be to be hunted down, captured, used, and abused by the very same men she swindles."
Steele's look darkened at the insult, but Razor continued.
"Don't fool yourself, kid. You've worked too hard, gone to great lengths to distinguish yourself from your old man, to earn the respect of your peers, to prove yourself a self-made man. And you're going to throw it all away- just for her love?"
Steele stepped forward and grabbed Razor by the collar, but the older man continued, unfazed. "Come on, Remy. You're smarter than that. Don't pretend to be that witch's plaything." He didn't seem taunting. He seemed sad. "You already have one innocent man's blood on your hands and I know it's not going away soon."
Steele's eyes widened in surprise at the unexpected turn of events. "Are you talking about Wes Rogers?"
Jay chuckled ominously in response.
"I was visiting the gym and found Wes attacking Kathy. He would've killed her had I not taken him out." Steele said, surprised Jay knew about his killing of Wes.
"Rogers left the AB and lived clean for years. He's been working his ass off to keep those two clowns off the street life. He won't tolerate guys who even look at a lady the wrong way. Are you so naïve as to believe he would do a 180 and make a pass at your girl? You've been played for a fool. You can't save Wes nor erase his death from your conscience. But you can save yourself. There is only one way out."
Steele released his grip but Jay remained standing. "I had the courtesy to let you stay until you had fully recovered. Don't abuse it." He left.
A week later at Kathy's (formerly Butch's) Off-Grid House
Kathy tilted her head back and sighed, feeling the shower water run down her toned, curvaceous figure. She was still more than a little nervous from what had happened. Steele placed guards at her house for the first two weeks. She had finally calmed down enough to feel comfortable. Keith had not appeared before her since the incident. A part of her feared that since Zach had seen the visions, that he would be persuaded to turn on her. But with Steele still on her side, she had little to worry about from a mere hireling like Zach.
The shower water abruptly turned off. "The hell?" Kathy fiddled with the knob. Nothing. She fiddled some more. Still nothing.
She stepped out of the shower and put on a bra and nightgown. She plugged in the dryer and turned on the switch. Suddenly, the power went out.
"What the shit?" Kathy snapped in annoyance.
Something huge and strong slammed on the door, causing Kathy to cry out in fear and fall to the ground. She cowered on the ground as whoever was on the other side slammed the door harder.
She scrambled to her feet.
SLAM! SLAM! SLAM!
Kathy swallowed hard, her heart thundering as she tiptoed towards the door. The noises stopped. She put her ear towards the door- and screamed when a fist smashed a hole through the wood, narrowly missing hitting her as she stumbled backwards. An arm reached through, unlocked the door, and threw it open. The attacker charged in wrapped his powerful hands around her throat and slammed her against the wall. Her eyes had now adjusted fully to the darkness enough to see who it was, but she didn't need to. She already knew who it was. Keith's blue eyes burned evilly into Kathy's huge, frightened eyes.
"IF STEELE IS TOO COWARDLY TO PUT YOU OUT OF YOUR MISERY, I'LL DO IT MYSELF!" Keith Jones tightened his grip on her, lifting her off the ground with his immense strength. Kathy's vision swam as she gasped for air. The skinhead laughed maniacally, sounding very much like the Tekken video game character of his namesake.
"I was a predator in life. Breaking bitches like you was child's play. I deserve hell for each and every victim. But I think the powers that be might just overlook things this time. You are one plaything I am going to enjoy breaking. It's what you deserve. Such a shame we didn't exist in the same timelines."
Kathy's feet flailed, trying desperately to free herself. Keith laughed again, then he let out a choked gasp and dropped her when a stray kick hit his groin. He doubled over in pain. Kathy fell to the ground gasping and coughing.
"You hit me! How?" Keith gasped. "How is this possible? The boundaries between the parallel universes cannot break!"
Kathy kicked him in the chest as hard as she could, knocking him down. She mounted him and grabbing him roughly by the collar and punching him again and again and again. Keith didn't even fight back this time. He was too shocked by the fact he somehow managed to physically manifest in Kathy's world as opposed to being a ghostly specter.
"WHO ARE YOU!?" Kathy shrieked. "HOW DID YOU ENTER MY WORLD!?"
-To be continued in part 2