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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
After Lane placed his finger against the fingerprint reader, the red indicator light turned green and the door opened with a swift “click”…
With that, he quickly scuttled inside and closed the door behind him as soon as he entered.
Upon entering, he noted that the interior of Brooke’s room was a mirror copy of his own as well. There were two rooms and the entrance led straight to the living room.
Since it was midnight, the room was pitch-black. The windows that were left open allowed faint traces of light from outside to slip inside, which offered just enough light for Lane to see the shape of the room.
There was a black leather couch in the living room with a glass coffee table set in front of it. On top of the coffee table was a large ashtray as well as two laptops.
The ashtray was nearly filled to the brim with cigarette butts.
Brooke had always liked smoking. This was intel that he had gathered for some time.
Lane moved past the living room and went for the dining room. He quickly noted that the dining table was wiped clean. This level of tidiness was almost unnatural.
Lane knew that Brooke never let the maids enter the room. He always cleaned the room by himself. Someone who always stuck to a schedule and kept his room in an orderly manner was a terrifying person…
After that, he looked at the two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms did not have a bed and instead had it substituted with two bookcases filled with books. There was a wide variety of books which ranged from politics magazines to scientific articles, to historical documentation.
At last, he went to the master bedroom. As soon as he pushed open the bedroom door, he was greeted with the faint smell of cigarette smoke. The bedroom was a little messy with clothes and socks were thrown over the ground. Even the bedding was thrown onto the ground and the pillows were slightly yellow.
Even with this brazen display, it was still much better than the condition of most bachelor’s bedrooms.
Lane went around in the bedroom, taking caution to not touch anything for fear of Brooke noticing somebody had entered his room. He planted a bug underneath Brooke’s bed then surveyed the room again before finally deciding to take apart the bed lamp and install a mini camera in the base of the lamp.
Lane’s movements were extremely agile. It was clear that he had prepared for this day for some time.
A rice grain-sized hole was drilled on the right side of the base of the table lamp. The hole was facing the bed and was just large enough for the camera inside to capture the view outside.
After the work was done, he quickly restored everything to its condition before he entered. Then, he went to the living room again. This time, he propped up the leather couch and ripped off a small section on the bottom of the leather couch to install another bug.
Right after he planted the bug, he suddenly heard a swift “beep” coming from the direction of the entrance!
Lane was horrified. He immediately went straight for the bathroom and closed the room as stealthily as he could!
He was able to respond so swiftly because this was something that he had accounted for as well. Since their suites were designed similarly, that meant the design of the bathroom should be identical as well. He could prop himself on the ceiling of the bathroom with his arms and legs pushed against the walls.
This way, Brooke would not notice Lane as long as he did not raise his head upon entering the bathroom.
After entering the bathroom, Lane immediately acted according to his plan and hid on the ceiling, and silently waited.
“Tap, tap, tap…”
The heavy thuds of footsteps slowly approached and went past the bathroom entrance.
Lane held his breath and waited silently.
When Brooke previously entered his room, he paused for a brief moment.
Brooke stopped because the first thing he noticed was a tiny bamboo stick that had been snapped in half lying on the ground.
Brooke immediately sharpened his senses.
After he closed the door, he went for the living room and turned on the lights first.
The room was in the same condition as when he left his room. There were no signs of anything being trifled with.
Brooke suddenly turned around and barged into the bathroom.
After surveying the bathroom left and right, he saw that it was empty.
After that, he went to inspect the library as well as the bedroom and once again did not detect anything suspicious.
The sharpness in his eyes slowly faded away. After closing the lights in the living room, he returned to the bedroom.
When Lane heard the receding footsteps, he breathed a silent sigh of relief. He slowly inched down the ceiling of the bathroom and put his ears against the door to listen for any further movements.
Time slowly passed by. After nearly two hours, Lane tip-toed out of the bathroom and to the entrance.
He held his breath and slowly wedged the door open until there was just enough gap for him to hop outside, then he promptly shut the door.
After this, he took another deep breath to compose himself. After shooting one last glance at the door, he quickly went back to his room.
Unbeknownst to Lane, as soon as he returned to his room, Brooke’s door opened slowly. Brooke peeked outside from the tiny gap of the door and glared at Lane’s room for what seemed like forever. After that, the door shut with a swift “click”…
Over the next few days, Lane would connect to the listening devices planted in the room whenever he could. However, his findings were rather disappointing since neither the listening device nor the spy cameras could find anything worthwhile. Brooke only lived a regular, disciplined life like a retiree.
Every morning, Brooke would have his breakfast in the dining hall, then head to the gym. By noontime, he would return to his suite to shower and browse online to look at whatever current affairs were trending. This usually lasted until nighttime where he would have dinner and return to his bedroom and read on the bed, then fall asleep usually around ten.
The only times where he would break this fixed routine was when the BHB Combative Police Force had a mission.
However, the BHB Combative Police Force usually did not issue a lot of missions. Unless it was some sort of criminal activity that had a significant impact on social order, otherwise, the police would not bother the BHB Combative Police Force. This meant that they were only dispatched on missions on average every four days.
For some reason that Lane could not put his finger into, Brooke always executed these assigned missions flawlessly and behaved by the book. He had never made the occasional mistakes that Lane remembered he used to make nor did he use the public relations team of Blacklight Biotechnology to cover up whatever slip-ups there were. What was presented before Lane was a picture-perfect superhero, the embodiment of true justice!
As the days of surveillance went on, Lane found himself getting agitated. After nearly a month without any significant discoveries made, he started to doubt himself and wonder if he had been mistaken about Brooke all this time. Perhaps Brooke was a true superhero after all.
Compared to Brooke, the other two members, Blake and Hodge, were a closer representation of an ordinary person. Especially Blake who regularly expressed his interest in engaging with his fans and always brought back a different woman every night and lived the high life.
Outside of work, Hodge behaved just as much as anyone would expect. He was a shy and gentle boy who did not do much other than spending time with his beloved wife and did not meddle in business he knew he should not.
After more than a month of this, Lane knew that the batteries in his devices were about to be drained completely. Just as he was debating whether he should swap out the batteries, his hard work had finally paid off. He finally spied a secret call.
It was a call Brooke received while he was doing his usual Internet browsing in the living room. His ring tone was the tune of nostalgic old jazz, then Lane caught Brooke’s deep monotone voice from the listening device:
“Hey, the police set up a big operation tonight so don’t go to Grimm Street for the exchange. Change to Bartlett in the suburbs instead. I’ll inform them of the change of venue using other channels…
“The time remains unchanged, midnight two o’clock.
“Yes, things are more tense than usual recently. If you don’t want any trouble, then do as I say, got it?
“If you don’t do as I say, I can always consider finding someone new to replace you, don’t challenge me…”
After that, the call ended.
Lane’s expression was a mixture of surprise and joy as he began jumping up and down excitedly. He knew it, Brooke could not be the picture-perfect hero he made himself out to be!
“Does this mean that Brooke has been covering for the criminal gangs?”
Lane recorded the conversation and kept repeating it, trying to obtain more information from the short conversation.
It was clear enough that Brooke was utilizing his network in the police force to tip the gangs of any sudden developments. This message alone should be able to sabotage his persona. This was also evidence to be used in court to ensure he may never come back from this scandal!
Lane was growing more excited with every passing second as he thought of this. He quickly booted up his computer and searched for the keyword “New York City Bartlett”.
After half an hour of thorough investigation, he finally found the place. The so-called Bartlett turned out to be the suburban area in Queens, New York City, a neighborhood primarily inhabited by black people. Bartlett was one of the unlisted illegal bars in the area.
After digging up all this information, Lane knew it was time to act. He made a phone call. “Ms. Austin, I’d like to apply for a patrol mission in New York City tonight.”
“Tonight? I’m afraid there’s no time. You guys have a press conference at the police station tomorrow. There’s a rehearsal for it tonight.”
Austin was the manager of the BHB Combative Police Force. She was the designated lawyer of Blacklight Biotechnology, primarily tasked with cleaning up their mess.
“Sorry, please understand, I need to do this tonight.”
Lane quickly explained that he had finally found a lead so he could not let this chance go. “Could you make a formal request with the higher-ups, please?”
Austin, who was seated in front of her computer in the office, stuttered and hesitated. She frowned and was about to turn down the request, but she suddenly received an email notification.
Austin opened the email and was mildly surprised by what she saw. “Uh, Lane. I’m not sure why you want to go on a solo patrol tonight, but I just received an email from the higher-ups that the press tomorrow is canceled.”
“That’s great news, Miss Austin.”
Lane was relieved to hear this. He then hung up and went to change into his prosthetics.
Several minutes later, he stepped out of the changing room. He was now clad in his all-black armor. The young man’s face was colored with determination.
“Hey rookie, where are you going?”
As soon as he stepped out, Blake suddenly appeared and asked suspiciously, “What is this, you finally changed your mind? You want to hit the bars now? You don’t need the combat suit for that now do you?”
“No, I’m just uh, heading out on a mission.”
Lane did not say much to the unreliable Blake and quickly went to the elevator.
After taking the elevator to the garage, he picked a motorcycle that was designated for carrying out police missions which color matched the armor he was wearing. He drove it to the gate.
A “beep” sounded from the gate in front, followed by an electronic voice which announced, “Combat armor number 0004, vehicle number 331, designated mission: patrol mission, officer Pedro Leon, permission granted…”
The gate opened slowly.
Lane’s hand firmly grasping the throttle gave it a quick twist and charged out of the BHB Combative Police Force station…
It was midnight.
Lane was fully decked out in a suit of intimidating mechanical armor as he stood on the rooftop of a building.
This was the western suburbs of Queens and a short distance further ahead was a nameless neighborhood where the unlisted bar called Bartlett was located.
This black neighborhood also had an unrecognized name - Martin Luther King Avenue.
Martin Luther King was a black civil rights activist who once gave a famous speech - “I Have a Dream”. After leading the American Civil Rights Movement, he was regarded as a leader by blacks all over the United States. Many black communities had since then petitioned to rename their neighborhood’s main street after the great Martin Luther King.
By the end of it, Martin Luther King Avenue had become what was the equivalent of a social phenomenon in European and Northern American metropolises.
While it would be unfair to say that all gathering places in black communities were associated with crimes, drugs, gangs, and violence, it did occur in a significant portion for them. This place was one such example since even though it was midnight, many people could be seen coming and going around the dark corners.
When it came to communities like these, even the police would not dare trespass unless they had intel on the locals or whatever gangs were operating inside them. During the nighttime, more than half of the district became lawless lands, fertile for the growth of crime…
When Lane saw the activities occurring along the sidewalk, his first thought was a common joke in Northern America: a white man called his black friend and said, “Hey I think I got lost in Martin Luther King Avenue, what do I do?”
The black friend responded without a second thought - “run”.
Lane shook his head to put these thoughts out of his mind. In the past, he would never come to a place like this simply because it was too dangerous, but now that he had become a bionic police officer, there was no longer a need for him to be afraid.
After that, he glanced at the watch and saw that it was almost the appointed time. He headed back down to the ground floor and got onto his bike which he parked in a secluded location.
The motor engine was started and he headed to Martin Luther King Avenue…
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