Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Shot Through The Heart"

Thoroughly bored and swiveling around in her office chair, Erika von Meer listens to Griffin Martel drone on and on to the Meeramar employees about the recent break-in and resulting increased security measures.

Griffin: And I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, I am fine... a little unsettled but fine...

Erika rolls her eyes as KJ shows up, taking a seat beside her.

KJ: Did I miss anything?

Erika: A vintage whine from Grif - what are you doing here?

KJ: I had some extra time and thought I'd swing by for company morale, that kind of thing - where's dad?

Erika: He and Doug had some real business to take care of

Griffin: (Strutting around the employees) The good news in all of this is that nothing of importance, work-wise, was taken

Erika: Heh, he only lost some money and a watch - both of which he can easily replace... his pride is another thing

KJ: How did you know?

Erika: Know what?

KJ: Griffin didn't want anyone to know what was taken from him - he didn't even file a police report

Erika: (Catching herself) I've known the man, in every way, since we were born - I can easily deduce what he's hiding... and he's now wearing the watch I gave him three Christmases ago

KJ: (Smirking) Damn, Sis, you are in the wrong profession - you should be a detective

Erika: (Raising an eyebrow) I'm sure law enforcement would just love to have me

Griffin: (Banging his fist down on a desk) And I promise every one of you that this kind of harrowing experience will NOT happen again!

Erika: (Under her breath) PLEASE, Griffin, grow a spine

KJ: (Hearing what she said) Cut him some slack, Rik, you weren't there - it was pretty nasty the way he was tied up, and it could have been a lot worse

Erika: How's the security guard doing?

KJ: Better... he has a moderate concussion and the details are still fuzzy as to what went down

Erika: He didn't see his attacker?

KJ: No... at least not a clear face - he mentioned something about a hood

Erika: Huh... well, I suppose that's typical for a robbery

KJ: What I don't understand is why wait until Griffin was in a high security building? - it would have been easier to just jack him in a dark parking lot or something

Erika: Obviously, the building wasn't secure enough

KJ: I know, that's why I initially thought it was an inside job, someone trying to pirate corporate secrets

Erika: What changed your mind?

KJ: Griffin - he swears to me that nothing was touched... she went right for his watch and money

Erika: (Coughing) SHE?

KJ: Yeah, he definitely said it was a woman's voice although she tried to disguise it... he's not sure but he thinks he's heard it before

Erika: (Stiffening) Really

Griffin: (Concluding his address) Once again, we deeply appreciate and value your continued loyalty to Meeramar, I am more than confident that this was an isolated incident and it is indeed safe to come to work... thank you and goodnight!

KJ: (Flipping open his cell phone and dialing) Hey, Morrigan, it's Kage - look, I'm so sorry Isaacson was a jerk tonight - how about the two of us going for a hike this weekend? - call me back, 'bye!

Erika: What happened with Zach?

KJ: We were all having a good time until Eyes started ragging on her about not drinking beer - wow, I'll tell ya, she sure shut everyone up and slaughtered the happy mood with her response!

KJ looks off and shakes his head. There is a silent pause.

Erika: (Impatient) WELL?

KJ: Hmm?

Erika: What did she say?

KJ: Oh... it's a long, ugly story - let me try to sum it up in a sentence... she was involved in a drunk driving accident when she was a kid, her brother was killed and her mom's head ended up in her lap, something about Neil Diamond, and beer was the root cause

Erika: DEAR GOD

KJ: I know, I thought she was joking at first... you know how writers love to tell stories... but I recognized from the expression on her face that she wasn't

Erika: Did she leave right after that?

KJ: Pretty much - Gracie said she took off for Saint Brendan's... probably to pray for some new friends

Erika: (Getting up) You know what, I forgot to check with Shelby on some lab results, please tell Grif...

Griffin Martel now approaches them.

Griffin: You can tell me yourself, Rikka

Erika: I apologize but I must get going

Griffin: (Grabbing her elbow) Whatever it is will have to wait

Erika: (Snapping it back) Excuse me?

Griffin: We have some business to take care of

Erika: Look, I was here all evening

Griffin: And that's why you can spare another ten minutes... for me

Erika: Fine

KJ: (Winking at his sister) I'll see you two later

Erika glowers at her brother as she follows behind Griffin.

Outside in the church parking lot, Morrigan and Joenne Mirabello continue their conversation.

Morrigan: Joenne, I really do not appreciate cryptic warnings - what are you talking about?

Joenne: Who is "Bouillabaisse?"

Morrigan: Answer my question first - I want to know why I can't go inside the church?

Joenne looks around and pulls Morrigan over to hidden archway.

Joenne: It is not safe for you inside

Morrigan: (Growing frustrated) YES, you already established that by saying I should "value my life" - WHY?

Joenne: I have reason to believe something is going to happen here tonight... in fact, I'm most certain of it

Morrigan: What?

Joenne: Nuh-uh, I answered your question, now tell me who Bouillabaisse is

Morrigan: It's an important informant for a future KCON story, I cannot reveal the identity and I cannot say another word - in fact, WHY am I saying ANY words to a temp secretary?

Joenne: You sure enjoy the question, "why"

Morrigan: It's my job... it's my life

Joenne: (Irritated) FYI, I am A LOT more than a temp secretary!

Morrigan: I'm starting to figure that out - here's a new question for you - WHAT are you then?

Joenne: Your one true ally in this town

Morrigan: (Shaking her head) Oh, Ms. Mirabello, PLEASE - this conversation is about eight seconds away from ending

Joenne: Let's just say we have a mutual enemy in The Clergy

Morrigan: What in the hell are you talking about? - I have no problems with this church!

Joenne: Not THIS clergy... THE CLERGY - at least, that's the nickname we've given them - they have some ancient Latin title but it's easier to call them "The Clergy"

Morrigan looks completely baffled.

Joenne: How about "Hooded Goons?" - does that ring a bell, Morrigan?

Morrigan: (Catching her breath) Oh

Joenne: (Doing a pirouette for emphasis) Yep

Morrigan: How much do you know?

Joenne: PLENTY, I dare say more than you at this point

Morrigan: Care to share?

Joenne: Not here, not now

Morrigan: (Rubbing her head) Here we go again!

Joenne: What do you mean?

Morrigan: Is that all you know about... "The Clergy?" - is that it?"

Joenne: Why? - is there more I should know?

Morrigan: (Evil grin) Not here, not now

Joenne: HA - I'll be sure to tell my superiors that

Morrigan: Something tells me these "superiors" are concerned with more than the copying machine

Joenne: Let's just say that a certain segment of the United States government has taken notice of Duquesa Bay recently... and it's not for the waterfront property

Morrigan: Tell me, is Justine in on this, too?

Joenne: NO, my sister is NOT involved nor does she need to be... is that understood?

Morrigan: Of course

Joenne: So, do you trust me?

Morrigan: How about a firm "maybe?"

Joenne: Hey, I took a big risk in revealing myself to you here tonight - please get back in your car and go home - we'll rendezvous in a few days

Morrigan: CALL me, don't IM me!

Joenne: (Quizzical stare) Whatever

Inside the parish hall, Hector Tapia speaks with Carmen and Frank Fiore as the church business is concluded.

Carmen: (All smiles) Padre Juan was telling me about a significant anonymous donation made to Saint B's yesterday and that they have generously agreed to split it with "Our Lady" - we can finally get the air conditioning fixed!

Hector: (Grumbling) I already fixed it

Frank: You TRIED to fix it

Hector: (Looking at his watch) Morrigan should have been here by now, I wonder what's keeping her?

Carmen: It's probably for the best that she doesn't come here - we don't need news people poking around our ancestors' burial grounds

Frank: Isn't it her job to poke around?

Carmen: When there is a STORY to be told - the Chumash resting place in the Kiyomis has already been told and retold

Hector: Maybe she's approaching it from another angle?

Carmen: We don't need KCON's angle of exploitation

Hector: Ms. McBride is NOT that kind of journalist, Carmenita, you have my word on this

Carmen: Hmm... and what "word" is that, hermano?

Frank: (Chuckling) Can I pick it out?

Hector: (Sighing) I'm going to go check for her outside, please do not leave here until I return

Carmen: Diez minutos solamente!

Hector nods to his sister as he heads for the door. Exiting the side entrance, he spots Morrigan getting back into her car.

Hector: MS. MCBRIDE, WAIT

Morrigan: (To herself) Aww, damn!

Hector jogs over to her car.

Hector: I was just coming to see where you were - why are you leaving?

Morrigan: I'm sorry, Hector - I ate some bad pizza and I'm not really up to this right now

Hector: I'm sorry - I think Father Greg has some antacid, let me go see

Morrigan: (Starting the engine) UM - no, really, that's OK - please tell your sister I would love to reschedule in the next few days but I genuinely need to go home... now

Hector: (Somewhat hurt) Alright... please feel better soon

Hector watches Morrigan drive off and heads back towards the church. He is distracted along the way by a broken sprinkler head. Over the next several minutes, he goes about fixing it when a loud bang suddenly cracks the air. The screams of a woman quickly follow.

Hector: (Running inside the church) CARMEN... CARMEN

Carmen: HECTOR, COME QUICK

He runs into the chapel and finds a handful of people gathered around a fallen priest.

Carmen: FATHER GREG HAS BEEN SHOT

Hector: DID ANYONE SEE WHAT HAPPENED?

Carmen: NO, WE ALL RAN IN HERE AFTER WE HEARD THE BANG

Hector kneels next to the bleeding man and finds no pulse. He tries to put pressure on the gaping chest wound but, in his mind, he knows it is futile.

Hector: CALL THE POLICE

Carmen: (Sobbing) Gladys is already doing that

Frank: (Hobbling towards the door) I'M GONNA GET MY RIFLE OUT OF THE TRUCK - THE SHOOTER MIGHT STILL BE IN HERE

Hector: SIT DOWN, FRANCIS, YOU'LL ONLY BE IN THE WAY

Frank ignores him and disappears behind the ornately carved oak door as Carmen begins to pray. Moments later, the Fiore patriarch returns with a Smith & Wesson revolver.

Hector: DAMMIT, FRANK, PUT THAT AWAY, WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE TROUBLE

Frank: (Inspecting it) It's not mine

Hector: What do you mean?

Frank: Padre Juan and I found it on the church steps

Hector: And now your prints are on it... PERFECTO

Carmen: PLEASE, PLEASE, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HELP FATHER GREG?

Hector: (Taking her hand) Help is on the way... but I'm afraid it's too late

Carmen looks down at the blood on Hector's fingers and runs out of the room, wailing with the other women.

Casually taking a seat on the leather sofa inside his office, Griffin motions to Erika to join him. There is a small, candlelit dinner laid out on the table.

Griffin: Crab salad... your favorite!

Erika: (Tempted by the meal) Griffin, I honestly don't have time for this

Griffin: I am making you find the time

Erika: I thought you said this had to do with business?

Griffin: Everything we do affects our family, ergo, it affects the business

Erika huffs and takes a bite of the salad.

Griffin: I need you...

Erika: GRIFFIN

Griffin: LET ME FINISH... I need you to work with me on a very important project - I was hoping your brother could handle it... but you know KJ

Erika: What does this involve?

Griffin: Sit and relax, eat your salad, I have a video presentation that will help make sense

He turns on one of the video monitors on the wall and it shows a security camera view of the interior.

Griffin: Whoops - forgot to get rid of this first

Erika: (Slightly recognizing it) What is it?

Griffin: The intruder who attacked me the other night used a video loop on the surveillance tape - fortunately, the electronic equipment required to pull it off was left behind during the excitement - it's only a matter of time before my people track down its source

Erika: (Almost dropping her fork) That's fortunate

Griffin: (Resetting the monitor) Ah, this should do it

Before he has a chance to start the tape, the monitor is on regular television. Flashing across the screen is a breaking KCON news story.

Erika: (Eyes lighting up) WAIT... DON'T SWITCH IT YET

Griffin: But...

Erika: (Grabbing the remote and turning it up) SHHHHH

Dan Henshaw is on screen with an image of Saint Brendan's church in the background.

Dan: We have breaking news at this hour - a reported shooting has taken place at Saint Brendan's Catholic Church where at least one person has been killed - we are expecting more details any moment now as...

Griffin: GREAT, that's all this town needs

Before he can say another word, Erika bolts out of the room.

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