Heroes Reborn e-book: Dirty Deeds excerpt from Stephen Blackmoore
In order to bridge the gap between the original Heroes and the new NBC series Heroes Reborn, while also providing backstories for several new characters, NBC has teamed up with German publisher Bastei Lübbe AG for a series of six tie-in e-books, with the entire series launching Friday.
The third tie-in e-book, Stephen Blackmoore’s Dirty Deeds, delves into the background of corrupt LAPD officer James Dearing, who sold out fellow evolved humans for profit. Check out an exclusive excerpt below — Dirty Deeds will go on sale Friday, along with the five other books in the series. Stay tuned to EW for more sneak previews.
In a lot of ways they’re opposites. Gallegos is a big guy, bigger than Dearing by a couple sizes. Dearing is all hard angles – lean muscle, flinty eyes, sandy brown hair. Gallegos is made of waves and curves. Rolls of muscle and sinew, long black hair pulled back in a ponytail, a swollen, bulbous nose from too many punches. Dearing can’t tell if the guy should be a luchador or playing guitar for a mariachi band.
“We need to talk, Hugo.” Dearing heads into the chop shop, eyes wary for any of Gallegos’ crew, but the two men are alone in the garage.
“Detective Murphy tattled, didn’t he?” Hugo smiles with too many teeth. Makes him look like a monkey. It’s all a goddamn game to him. He doesn’t get that if the wrong word ends up in the wrong ear, it all comes crashing down.
“You want to tell me the hell your problem is?” Dearing says, getting in Hugo’s face. “We have an arrangement.”
It’s an arrangement that’s worked out well so far. Dearing and his men give Gallegos information, Gallegos gives them money. It’s that goddamn simple. Dearing does not, and will not, kill his own people.
Gallegos’ smile somehow gets even bigger. “Big, scary policeman’s grown a conscience. Fine. Don’t do it.”
For the better part of a year, Dearing and two of his men, Murphy and Evans, have had an arrangement with Hugo that’s put a lot of money in all their pockets. Gallegos is one of Sinaloa’s L.A. shot callers, a man who works the drug trade the way a sales exec copes with a flagging market. With marijuana next to legal and nobody doing cocaine anymore, the cartels have moved into cheap heroin, sending it up from Tijuana through San Diego to points north.
That’s all fine and good. Dearing doesn’t much care if a bunch of junkies who can’t get their oxy move on to something uglier, as long as he gets his cut. But Hugo is proving to be an ambitious little prick. His request that Dearing, Murphy and Evans kill a Narcotics detective for him makes it apparent that their control is slipping. And they can’t have that.
“It’s not about conscience, you jackass. It’s about exposure. Your money’s good, Hugo. But it’s not that good.”
Hugo steps back, puts his hands up. “I get it, man. Too risky. Wish you’d reconsider. Be a shame if the press were to hear about our little arrangement.”
Dearing stares hard at him. He knew this was coming. He has been talking about it for the last couple of weeks with Murphy and Evans. Taking bets on when Gallegos was going to snap and do something stupid. Dearing figured it would be today. Guys like Gallegos always pull this crap sooner or later.
“You’re gonna wish you hadn’t said that,” Dearing says, stepping back and drawing his pistol.
Gallegos picks up a rag from the workbench, wipes grease and oil from his hands. “Oh, what, you gonna arrest me?”
“No,” Dearing says and pulls the trigger.
Or at least he tries to. Searing pain engulfs his hand as dark blue crystals appear around the pistol and grow across his fingers like in a time-lapse film, encasing his hand in stone. The stone is cold, so cold it burns. He can feel his skin blistering. He cries out from the pain and tries to drop the gun, but it’s stuck fast to his hand in a prison of dark blue stone.
Shock. Then anger. “You’re an Evo,” Dearing says through gritted teeth.
“Damn right, puta. Whatcha have to say to that?”
“It’s going to make this next part a lot easier.” Dearing flexes his fingers with unnatural strength and the stone cracks, splinters. It shatters into a hundred razor-edged shards. The gun is still frozen, but at least his hand is free. Gallegos’ jaw goes slack and his eyes bug out like a fish. The look of surprise is almost worth the pain. “What, you think you’re the only one around who’s got powers?”
“But you’re a cop.” “
Yeah. Means I’ll get away with it.” He throws the stone-locked gun at Gallegos, missing him. The gun embeds itself three inches into the brick wall, sticking hard, its stone shell cracking. Dearing jumps at Gallegos, his strength shooting him across the room at inhuman speed.
Dearing takes a swing, but the air in front of him turns into a solid sheet of blue rock, deflecting his fist and shattering when he hits it. Cobalt blue shards scatter across the room, peppering Gallegos’ face. His surprise gives way to pain as the shards draw blood.
Gallegos rolls behind the gutted Mustang he had been working on, but Dearing doesn’t let him stay under cover for long. He grabs the front end of the car with one hand and yanks, casually throwing the car out of the way and onto its side with a tremendous crash of metal and glass.
Which turns out to not be the best idea. A dozen needle-sharp stone projectiles the size of tree branches shoot toward Dearing’s face, and he’s not fast enough to duck them all. One skims along the side of his skull just above the ear, digging a long furrow across his scalp. The rest embed themselves into the wall behind him like javelins.
Dearing recovers quickly, steps in, feints with his left, and when Gallegos ducks, he catches him in the chest with an uppercut that shatters ribs, pops a lung and sends Gallegos flying across the garage. His body slams into a workbench, scattering tools. He starts to wheeze, hands clutching ineffectually at his chest. He tries to stand but only manages to fall onto the floor, cracking his knees on the hard concrete.
Any second now he’ll turn purple and start suffocating to death. He looks up at Dearing with bugged-out eyes. He’s mouthing something, ‘Please’ or ‘Help me’, maybe. Dearing isn’t sure.
Dearing considers just letting him die that way but decides against it. He’s a bastard, but he’s not that big a bastard. Besides, he doesn’t want to watch it. A bullet in the head is one thing. A slow death by asphyxiation is just torture.
He picks Gallegos up by his neck, drags him over to the back wall of the chop shop and slams his head deep into the wall. Once, twice, three times. The back of Gallegos’ skull shatters, craters into the brick, blood and brain oozing out like a burst ketchup packet.
Gallegos’ body spasms, eyes rolling back into his head, legs and arms jerking as the nerves misfire. He goes still, his body hanging limply from the broken skull lodged in the wall.
Dammit, Gallegos. Stupid bastard. Why couldn’t he have made this simple? One bullet is all it would have taken. Dearing had it all planned out. Shoot Gallegos, drive out to a spot in the desert he’s already got picked out where he can dump the body. But now he’s got a slice in his head he’ll have to explain and all this mess. The first person who comes in here is going to know an Evo destroyed the place.
He needs to clean this crap up fast. Some of the blood on the floor is his. His fingerprints are going to be on the Mustang. There’s only so much he can do to hide his presence here, and it won’t be enough. SID, the Scientific Investigation Division of the LAPD, is going to be crawling all over the scene. Even if he gets Gallegos’ body out of the garage, provided he can find all of the pieces, there’s no way he can clean up the scene enough to hide what’s happened. They’re going to know an Evo was here. And there’s plenty of forensic evidence to show he was here, too. It’s a lost cause, but he has to try anyway.
He reaches for his gun to pull it out of the wall and has a thought. Gallegos has been slowly attracting more interest from Narcotics. They’ve been poking around him for a while now. Waiting for him to screw up. They’ve suspected he’s a shot caller for some time, but they haven’t been able to pin anything substantial on him. That’s less down to Gallegos’ skill or good fortune and more to Dearing and his men’s ability to bury evidence.
If they’d thought Gallegos was an Evo, they’d have jumped on him a long time ago. He’d be sitting inside a concrete bunker somewhere, or under a surgeon’s knife as they pried all the secrets from his genes. It’s an ugly world for his kind. Dearing thinks it isn’t entirely undeserved.
Ever since the June 13th attack in Odessa that killed so many people, Evos have been seen as monsters, enemies, mankind’s greatest threat. They’re synonymous with terrorists.
Evos lose their rights, have to be registered, are constantly tracked. Finding work is difficult. Finding a place to live is even harder. They can’t have government jobs, can’t join the military, can’t run for office.
Can’t be cops.
Which is why Dearing has stayed hidden for so long. He likes being a cop. It’s not about justice or righting wrongs. It’s about power. The power of authority, to come and go as he pleases, to get away with damn near anything. Even murder.
He’s not about to give that up. Whether it’s for being a crooked cop or for having super-strength, he’s not going to let anyone find him out and take his life away from him.
If Dearing scoops up and buries Gallegos, or even if he leaves him stuck in the wall like that and bails, there will be questions. Questions that will lead back to him.
But what if he doesn’t do either?