Investigating Loose Ends

From the Log Files of Karl Nash

Day 37 - After Midnight
“How did a young whippersnapper like that girl ever get the drop on you Joe?” I asked Fortson when things had quieted down and we were out of ear shot.

“Things aren’t always what they seem Karl, Summer was so intent on doing what she thought her orders told her to that I don’t think she even considered the fact that the muzzle of my blast rifle, even though pointing downwards, was aimed in the general direction of her feet. Most people are unaware that even with a near miss the electronic nature of a plasma containment field propagating forwards will instantaneously paralyze the nervous system of any unshielded person standing close enough. Sort of like a Taser. If Summer’s finger had even twitched in the direction of the trigger guard I would have fired and she would have froze.

“But I think based on what she knew she was trying to do her best, so I’ll just mention it to Andy and he can upgrade the training along with letting the troops know that they don’t point weapons at friendlies. Especially if one of the friendlies was in charge of the investigation and had asked for the area to be secured in the first place.”

“Yeah I noticed that part too,” Nash said with a weary demeanor, Ultimately though the most troubling thing to me was that both girls; no not girls, I should refer to them as soldiers, were unquestionably willing to use deadly force against properly constituted civilian authority. That fact takes the possibility of a military dictatorship far enough out of the realm of the absurd that it bears thinking about. But not now.

“Let‘s knock it off for the night and tomorrow morning see what comes out of the examination of Reyes farmhouse. Whatever it is it will wait, and I better save any of my remaining energy to deal with Pam. I’m starting to feel just like she does about losing contact with Mike, Laura, and the shuttle, in fact after seeing the bomb probably worse. She’s so worried I can’t even imaging how the Reyes and Kathy Osborne are taking this latest news. I can’t take the time to think about it now and I need to help Pam stay calm rather than add to her present worries.”

“I’m with you there Karl. See you at breakfast.”

Day 37 - Morning:
Gene Washburn returned to the farmhouse the night before and stayed long enough to do a quick check of the house’s contents and then come back to Liberty City with Manuel Ortega when the promised relief showed up. Gene was sitting, nursing a cup of coffee, when Joe and I made it to the First Inn for breakfast. “Not much in the way of positive or unsurprising results,” he said, “Some clothing that matched that worn by the two involved in the Osborne rape, as much as the fuzzy video could permit a match. Most any other member of the colony has clothing that could be said to match just as well. But now you have two investigations going don’t you Karl.”

“Yes I need to try and find out the reason Jacks put explosives in the shuttle and if anyone else was involved. Jack’s comp survived the experience and Subbu and Ash went over it last night. They sent me a down load of their findings so I’ll want to talk to them further but already know quite a bit. What they found was interesting but not proof of anything. Jack made notations in a personal log and usually indicated what he was doing at a given time but almost never why he was doing it. The notation for the night he set the explosive charge simply said. ‘Personal Business’. There was no notation that would directly cover the time when Osborne was raped. There were a couple dozen entries that said, ’Meeting with Buchanan’ or ‘Working for Buchanan’ so I’m going to need to ask him what they meant. Remember Gene, none of what I’ve just told you goes further than this table. But you Knew Jack far better than Joe or I did so if you think of anything that could help, well you know what to do.”

“Guess I do, Karl,” he said and then threw back his shoulders and yawned, “First some sleep then back to the sawmill. I was there last night after leaving Reye’s farm and whatever else is going on we need to rebuild.”

After Gene left Joe asked me what I had in mind for Buchanan and the other four we had locked up inside Hanna’s stone walled lower level, “Think we have to let them out. It was probably a gross violation of my authority to have them held in the first place. If I have to I’ll try to get Lester and the rest of the council to support me by saying I was operating under the immunity of martial law due to the storm or something, but I was really just doing what I thought I needed to and flying by the seat of my pants.

“Another thing is that without a prosecutor or judge to make the ruling how do we formalize what ought to be obvious to everyone, that Mariana was acting in self defense and in no way committed any crime. Though I sure wish she had taken Jack alive.”

Joe, brushing his hand against the day old beard on his usually clean shaven face said, “Another can of worms, but one the Council will need to deal with, Let’s get out to Reye’s again and we can tell the guard to let Buchanan and the rest out in an hour or so. That won’t make things any worse and give us time for one last look see.”

Burt Buchanan came bursting through the doorway as Joe and I were finishing up. “This search is illegal. Where’s your search warrant. No one even has the authority to issue a search warrant. Nothing you discover will be admissible.”

Joe replied laconically, “Search warrant? Must have left it out in the cruiser with my badge and ticket book. And why are you so worried about us finding evidence Burt? It would make one think you had something to hide.”

“Bah! Preposterous! Both of you are acting like some kind of little tin gods and if you keep it up the rest of the colony will turn on you. Protection against unlawful search and seizure is implicit, assumed by the Constitution, and you should be brought up on charges.”

“Funny you should mention that Burt,” I said, “I reread the Constitution last night and it looks like the part about searches and lawyers, judges and juries, is still a work in progress. We’re done here now and will be on our way though expect to hear from me again.” And with that Joe and I left the farmhouse and went back to Liberty City. Burt’s four, what shall I call them retainers?, were waiting outside the door and silently made way as we passed through.

Buchanan had one thing right. Something needed to be done to codify civil and criminal laws and their enforcement.

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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