A Criminal Investigation

From the log files of Karl Nash.

Joe Fortson found me at Hanna’s shortly after I sent Summer, Ryu, and May out looking for Jaisa and Emily. He was carrying a heavy plasma rifle and accompanied by his Bot R. Dan Daily. I knew better than to warn him that plasma rifles were too dangerous for use in town. I was just about to go over to the community building to inform Reye that Joey Dawson had turned up, and that his mother was here with him,. After that I had planed on doing a quick survey of the storm damage before heading over to the Biolab. From up here on the high ground where the First Inn was situated it was impossible to tell how much if any damage had been caused by the wave that had just rushed up river and dissipated most of it’s energy trying to make the falls in front of Liberty City run backwards. That plan was put on hold while Joe told me about the Washington kid and Kathy Osborne.

It was just as well I hadn’t left yet because Andy Stuart showed up while Joe was finishing.

“Well I guess searching for the Osborne rapist takes second seat to the rumbler problem.” I said.

Andy informed me he wasn’t as sure about that as I was. The kind of fear and mistrust that that kind of a crime, in a community as small as ours, and on the verge of disintegrating anyway, was sure to hinder any efforts to work on the other problems. He then said, “That’s your Baby, I got Rumblers to kill.”

Fortson said he would be heading out with Stuart and I objected. “Joe we don’t have a clue about where the second rumbler is, what it’s up to, or where it might strike next. We’ve got to somehow secure the Liberty City complex and get our guard working again. To do that we need to make sure that any directions or orders given are followed. I think that’s gonna take a ‘Guy with a Gun’ and that looks like you in spades.”

Fortson thought about it a moment then said, “Yeah I see your point.” Then turning to Andy said “Good huntin’ Colonel Stuart. And try to remember you’re a little too senior to lead from the front.”

“What now Joe? Any thoughts?”

“Let’s do it this way. I’ll see if RoDan can get in touch with Gene Washburn’s bot R. Krebbs. If he can we’ll get Gene to boss the perimeter guard. Then we find Jack the Blade and get his people working on getting the tents down and policing up the wind and water damage. I don’t trust him on anything else. You and I will swing down past the community building, fill in Reye, and then over to the Biolab to see if they’ve come up with anything.”

“Pretty good plan for a ‘Guy with a Gun’. Let’s do it.”

On our way to the lab/hospital we passed the by northern part of windmill hill and saw the damage to the wind generators. It could have been worse. With Andy having completed the main feed run into town, one of the windmills had already been taken down with the intention of moving it further south to where we hadn’t yet run power lines. The blades had been removed from another but it along with the third generator were both still on their towers when the side of the hill collapsed. They hadn’t toppled exactly but slid down with the rest of the under burden during the landslide. Maybe, just maybe, we could make one working unit out of those two damaged ones. But that would be a job for later.

Arriving at the hospital we found a rather orderly chaos. I couldn’t tell if Kurt Kellerman or Mariana Stuart was in charge but that didn’t matter as they made a good team. Kellerman told me that he had given Kathy Osborne a sedative and she would be out for at least another six to eight hours and told me that Mariana had run the DNA tests. With a look on his face I couldn’t interpret he advised me to talk to her about them.

“Ok, Mariana, who did it?”

“Your not gonna like this Karl but there is no DNA evidence and the woman can’t recall a thing about her attacker.”

“What do you mean no DNA evidence?” I asked, “There’s always something even if the rapist uses a condom isn’t there? Hair, flakes of skin or even clothing fibers, something is always present. What do we need to do? Do we need to get DNA samples from everyone that‘s not already in the database?”

“No Karl,” she said expression very somber, “What I mean is that there really is no DNA evidence, none! Sure we can pick up some fibers and the indications of casual contact, about what you would expect from shaking someone’s hand or sitting in a chair recently vacated. But nothing even approaching what ought to be present in the case of a rape.”

“So is she faking it? Or having some kind of psychological reaction?” I asked.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” Mariana said. “Kathy Osborne has all of the physical signs, including the tearing and abrasions I would expect from the description she gave of her attack. I know she could have just imagined this or even invented the story on purpose, but I can’t believe that she could have set up the rest of the physical evidence to be so, well…. convincing. After listening to the recording we made when she told us about it I’m sure you’ll agree that what ever is going on here is much more than some hysterical woman crying rape in order to get attention.”

“But if it wasn’t her for what possible reason would anyone else fake a rape that wasn’t?” Fortson asked.

I looked at him and replied, “I guess that’s the question you and I will need to answer. Isn’t it?”

“Yeah. So what next?”

“I think we get down to the river to see the damage there, and then head back north for a look at the scene of the crime.” I replied.

“Sounds like a plan. Let’s do it.” was Fortson’s response as he hefted the plasma rifle and we left the lab.

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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