"Oh fair young mother on thy brow shall sit a nobler grace than now." William Cullen Bryant
We see that Zadam is at police headquarters. He is busy exchanging notes and ideas with some of his colleagues. They are using a transparent computerized board to simulate different hypotheses. Enters the Chief of Police followed by a woman dressed in a lab coat.
Chief asked, "You doing okay there, Zadam?"
Zadam answered, "Yes, chief, thanks for asking."
Chief said, "Not at all. It’s one thing to be hunting down a murder suspect. And it is another thing to find out that someone is hunting you. Watch your back on this one."
Zadam spoke, "I always do."
Chief said, "Oh yes, I wanted to introduce to you our newest member to the Forensic Crime Department. This is Valdana Price. She comes highly recommended."
Zadam asked, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Valdana answered, "I don’t know what you mean?"
Zadam said, "You know exactly what I mean."
Valdana uttered, "Okay. Nice to meet you too." She extends her hand but he won’t take it. "Okay. Well I can see that you and the others have worked up an interesting hypothesis."
Zadam asked, "How did you manage to get this job?"
Valdana said, "Zadam. I can walk through walls. Getting this job wasn’t much of a challenge."
Zadam voiced, "I’m going to tell them who you really are."
Valdana stated, "You are going to tell them what? That I’m your friend, ex-lover from Earth. You knew me when you used to go to college. I committed suicide and now I’m a vampire come back to what. . ."
Zadam said, "If you interfere with my case. . ."
Valdana uttered, "Chill out. I’m not here to mess with your case. I work here now. I have duties to do and other people do indeed have me working on other priorities. The world doesn’t revolve around Zadam Paul you know."
Zadam countered, "You don’t think I’ll say anything."
Valdana stated flatly, "No."
Zadam asked, "Why not? What is to keep me from marching right in to the chief’s office and telling him everything that I know?"
Valdana said, "Because he won’t believe you for one. And you’d sound like you were losing your mind."
Zadam uttered, "But it is the truth!"
Valdana voiced, "Zadam, people don’t care anything about the truth. You of all people should know this. They want to hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see. People can’t handle having things not make sense. That is why your mother is a psychologist. . ."
Zadam said, "You leave my mother, you leave my family out of this. You are dead! You shouldn’t be here."
Valdana uttered, "So that is it, isn’t it?"
Zadam asked, "What?"
Valdana said, "So long as I was dead to you then you could love me. You could spend hours wondering what might have been. But know that you know that I am alive, here, with you, you can’t bring yourself to let go from you fantasy of me and accept the real me."
Zadam uttered, "Vampires and werewolves and zombies don’t exist. They are just figments of our social imagination."
Valdana kisses him quickly. "Well your imagination just gave you a kiss."
Zadam uttered, "Don’t do that. There are people here. . ."
Valdana said, "And what? They might see me kissing you. Look. I know what you are really afraid of. You are afraid that if you allow yourself to just love me. That I might slip away from you again."
Zadam uttered, "No!"
Valdana repeated, "No?"
Zadam voiced, "Yes."
Valdana said, "I’m not going anywhere. Never far from you because I can sense that in your heart you love me so deeply that it hurts. As do I you."
Tina came in, "Hey, Zadam, I just got through pulling some data off the system. I think we need to investigate it. Hmm. And who might this be?"
Zadam said, "Er, Tina, this is Valdana. She is new here. One of the forensic technicians, she’ll be working with us. . ."
Tina asked, "Us?"
Zadam said, "Everybody. As part of the team. You know."
Tina uttered, "Nice to meet you, Valdana. Hmm. That is an interesting name. What is it Swedish?"
Valdana answered, "My parents come from that region back on Earth."
Tina said, "What brings you to the Red Planet? Have you been here long?"
Valdana spoke, "Actually I haven’t. I know some people are actually born on Mars. Making them true Martians. And others immigrate to Mars because they can’t stand the political climate back on Earth."
Tina asked, "Talk about it. What do you think of their idea to make war into a staged sport?"
Valdana uttered, "I don’t know how many ways to say dumb!"
Tina spoke, "Hey I like her. Hmm. Something wrong, Zadam? You seem kind of tense. The way you were the other night."
Valdana stated, "Well I’d better be getting back to the lab. Nice to have met you."
Zadam said, "Hmm. I hope I don’t see much of her anymore."
Tina asked, "Why? She seems sweet. Very attractive. Did you notice how the male population in here was looking at her. Oh, they were trying to be nonchalant. But they couldn’t hide it."
Zadam countered, "I hadn’t noticed."
Tina uttered, "Hey, it’s okay to acknowledge that another woman looks great. Just don’t go overboard. I am after all your girlfriend. You can look, just remember who you go to bed with at night."
Zadam said, "You don’t understand."
Tina asked, "Understand what?"
Zadam said, "Nothing. Come on I think we might have a lead on the case."
Tina sniffing the air. "Do you smell that?"
Zadam asked, "What?"
Tina stated, "The air. That scent? I’ve smelled it before. That’s the same perfume I smelled in your apartment the other night. I’m sure of it!"
Zadam said, "You must be mistaken."
Tina shook her head, "No. No I’m pretty sure it’s the same perfume. I woman just knows these things. You won’t understand. But I’m sure of it. (She looks around.) Who could be wearing it?"
Zadam spoke, "I’m with you. Why are you stressing on it like that?"
Tina said, "Hmm. Am I stressing?"
Zadam uttered, "Well yeah. I’m sure that perfume is sold at a lot of places and that any given number of women might be wearing it."
Tina said, "What a man would think, you haven’t a clue. Perfume is designed to smell one way when you smell it in a bottle. But when a woman puts it on her body, it undergoes a transition, blending with her body chemistry. The same perfume will always smell different on different woman. This one is distinct. The same woman was wearing it."
Zadam voiced, "If you say so."
Tina announced, "The question is, why did I smell it in your apartment the other night?"
Zadam said, "I don’t know, Tina. Maybe the window was open, and the scent drifted in. You smell all sorts of things at night."
Tina spoke, "Logical."
Zadam uttered, "See. Great detective work. That is what we do."
Tina said, "Except that your windows were all closed that night. See. I’m a detective too."
Zadam went on, "We all live under a domed environment, Tina. It is not like it was when I was back on Earth. Where the sky was really the sky. When you looked up the blue was really there. Here on Mars, everything is simulated. Recycled and otherwise imported. At least at one point in time or another."
Tina noted, "You seem tense again. Are you sure you are okay?"
Zadam answered, "Tina, you are worrying over nothing."
Tina said, "I like to worry. It gives my mind something to do. High IQ and all that! Under achiever. Could have been a doctor or something, chose not to do so."
Zadam answered, "Funny. That is just what my mother wanted for her children. Seems like being a doctor was the ultimate profession from her perspective. Oh, she showed support for me and Martha, my sister who is the animation producer. But it was my youngest sister, Veronica who won her heart over."
Tina said, "Parents play that game. I wish they wouldn’t but it is a fact of life. Everyone has a favorite."
Zadam spoke. "Yeah well, it shouldn’t be."
Tina voiced, "I often thought that when or if I ever have children. I would be fair minded to them. You know, make a consorted effort to be fair."
Zadam asked, "Can any parent really do that?"
Tina told, "I’m not sure. But I think I’d try."
Zadam announced, "Well I guess there is always those horrible parenting classes that
everyone has to take before they can be parents."
Tina said, "Can you believe that people used to just have children without ever having any formal education in being a proper and good parent. No wonder there was so much trouble. . ."
Zadam uttered, "The dark ages."
Tina said, "I wouldn’t have wanted to live in those days. Hell. Even with all the education in parenting, parents still seem to mess everything up."
Zadam went on, "That’s because nature wants parents to fail."
Tina stated, "Really. Evolution wants parents to fail? Wouldn’t that be counter productive to the survival of the species."
Zadam said, "Living is counter productive to the species. Murder is really counter productive."
Tina said as they left, "Hmm. I wonder who is wearing that perfume?"
We are watching the police work are murder scene. Enters Zadam and Tina. They talk to the police and then go over to a man and woman who seem visibly shaken up.
Zadam asked, "I’m detective Paul and this is detective Smith. We hear you two found the body?"
Man uttered, "Yeah. I can’t believe it. What is that place turning into, Earth?"
Woman stated, "She was a nice person."
Tina asked, "You know the victim?"
Woman said, "Not personally. You know, hi, how you doing. . ."
Tina questioned, "You see any strangers about?"
Man stated, "Strangers? There was a time when you could keep your door unlocked. Not any more."
Zadam asked, "Why? What happened?"
Woman stated, "What happened? Immigrants. That is what happened! Used to be that you had to have a thorough security background check before you could come and live on Mars."
Man voiced, "Now there are a hundred or so domed cities spread all over the planet. Super domes. Not the tiny settler domes from a century ago. Now we have the big ass cities and the government just wants to get as much revenue as possible so it can do all the stupid bullshit things that it wants to do."
Tina asked, "You are aware that we live a democracy?"
Woman voiced, "Yeah. Right. Bailout this and bailout that. Money goes to the rich while everyone else just gets by."
Man said, "If you are lucky."
Zadam asked, "This woman, she was new to these parts?"
Woman voiced, "She moved here from another domed city."
Tina asked, "Which one?"
Man stated, "New Detroit I think."
Woman said, "Why do that?"
Zadam asked, "Do what?"
Woman answered, "Why do the city planners constantly name cities and things after the names of things back on Earth?"
Tina stated, "It think it is to make the general population feel connected."
Man uttered, "The main reason that we came to Mars was to get away from the insane politics of Earth. Plus we heard that Mars was going to launch a exposition to another solar system using one of the transdoors."
Zadam said, "Ah. Yes. That original exposition flight took off from Earth a year ago."
Woman spoke, "And the first explorers came through the transdoor about an hour after the craft left. It was suppose to take them five hundred years to reach their destination."
Man said, "Using the transdoor the bridge the gap between space and time."
Tina asked, "What do the two of you do?"
Woman stated, "We are physicist. Like we said, we came here to eventually be chosen to go through the transdoor to the new world."
Man said, "Yeah. There is a lot of hype about it. You have better odds of getting picked if you live on Mars than if you stayed on Earth."
Zadam asked, "Why is that?"
Woman went on, "Less people to choose from. Earth is still overcrowded even though the plague wiped out more than half the original population last century."
Tina said, "Yeah, you are right. But I think it was more like a third of the population. But that doesn’t matter. It is all part of history."
Woman uttered, "Earth’s history. Not Martian history. We are more carful over here."
Man stated, "At least we used to be. Now this. . ."
Tina voiced, "It is an unfortunate fact of human existence, that people do horrible things to one another."
Woman uttered, "You know, now that I think about it. I might have seen someone around here. A man. Big. I mean really big."
Tina asked, "Would you remember him if you saw him again?"
Woman answered, "I’m not sure. I really didn’t pay much attention at the time. No reason too."
Zadam said, "Have you ever undergone a mind scan to recall memory?"
Man voiced, "Whoa. Wait a minute. Those things can leave you like a zombie."
Tina expounded, "We’ve gotten a lot better at it than long ago. The horror stories about subjects being left with the IQ of a carrot are no longer relevant. We have trained professionals that really have a lot of experience do this."
Man said, "No one is playing with our minds. You’ll have to find some other way. It is an invasion of privacy and you can’t legally make us submit to it. Not unless you consider us a suspect?"
Zadam uttered, "No. We have already done a time reverse scan on the area. You were not in the scan."
Man spoke, "Yeah. Those things are cool. Too bad you guys didn’t have that technology back a century ago. Could have helped in solving a lot of crimes and kept a lot of innocent people out of the prison system."
Tina stated, "We finally learned that the toughest prison was the one that existed in one’s own mind. By manipulating psychological inhibitors, and inhibitions, prison becomes one that no one can escape. Because society imprisons the criminal’s mind."
Woman said, "Messing with someone’s mind seems more cruel than just locking them up."
Zadam said, "It was actually deemed barbaric to lock people up for crimes they committed. This was deemed to be the most humane way to deal with the problem. There minds were altered to limit their activity while still allowing them to become productive citizens, at the same time they were imprisoned inside their own minds."
Man told, "Sounds like a living hell."
Zadam said, "It is all subjective I suppose."
Man uttered, "Now you see why we want to get away from this solar system. Because the government is crazy, man."
Woman said, "I new beginning. Exploring a new solar system and a chance to get it right."
Zadam let the couple go. Turns his attention back on the crime scene. "The time scan showed no one coming or going within the span of when the crime was committed."
Tina stated, "Yet we know a crime was committed. We have the body."
Zadam said, "We are dealing with someone who can mask the time scanner. Look." They watch on what looks like a small television but it is a real time image of past event local to the crime. "No one enters to kill the victim but still, the next moment, see, right there. The victim is now dead."
Tina said, "But that is impossible. You can’t just edit time. We’ve been using this technology for a century now. It replaced DNA testing. Because we could get a real record of the event. Limited time travel back to the scene of the crime. What Sherlock Holmes could have only dreamed of."
Zadam uttered, "And yet the killed has managed to out fox us. The big question is why and how. To do something like this would have taken a lot of sophisticated technology or access to it."
Tina asked, "And why on this person? The technology to mask a time scan would obviously be very expensive."
Zadam stated, "And until now, unheard of."
Tina said, "Maybe this isn’t about this victim."
Zadam asked, "What are you getting at?"
Tina voiced, "Our original case involves an apparent suicide overdose."
Zadam asked, "What if the same technology was used in that crime? A time mask would explain why there was no evidence suggesting murder."
Tina said, "Yet. That is exactly what we think happened. The senator’s daughter was murdered and staged to make it look like a suicide."
Zadam asked, "Can we prove it?"
Tina uttered, "No. All we can do is keep on digging."
Zadam asked, "If this had been a poor person’s daughter do you think we’d be giving her death this much attention?"
Tina retorted, "Truthfully? Hell no. Poor people don’t get any justice. You know that."
Zadam spoke, "Maybe that is what the killer is counting on."
Tina said, "I don’t get it."
Zadam announced, "She was found in the poor part of town. Every city has one even if they don’t talk about it. You know, that place where, the people living there are the creme-of-the-crop. It’s all relative of course. But maybe the killer was hoping that we’d just process it as a
drug overdose and move on."
Tina said, "The problem is that there are not that many murders in this city. Crime isn’t like it is on Earth."
Zadam asked, "What if she was killed in another city and brought into our city? A different mentality?"
Tina answered, "So. We should be checking the transit tubes. But hundreds of trains travel through them. How could a person carry a body on a train with out being detected by security?"
Zadam said, "It didn’t show up on the security footage. The person has a way of masking themselves from technology."
Tina uttered, "Really? You know the transit tunnels use multi-spectral technology. You can’t hide from everything."
Zadam said, "When I was involved in the accident and you went back a looked over the footage. You didn’t find anything."
Tina spoke, "All we saw was you."
Zadam asked, "Yet evidence was found of tampering with the machine’s connections?"
Tina said, "You already know this. Yes. That is would led everyone to believe that someone is trying to kill you."
Zadam questioned, "How do you explain the fact that the security footage didn’t detect anyone but me entering the warehouse?"
Tina answered, "Some kind of malfunction is what the best theory goes."
Zadam asked, "What is there wasn’t a malfunction. What if we say what we were suppose to see. What if a person could enter a room with a hundred cameras watching and none of them could detect them?"
Tina put forth, "Stealth technology?"
© Copyright 2016 Victor Darnell Hadnot. All rights reserved.
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