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Old 08-20-2007, 05:51 AM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Thórrson walks after Cpl. Naiooka and tries to get a feeling for the circumstances. He's wearing his oversized DoJ uniform jacket, half-closed now in the cool morning, but his Avalon Knights team cap is nowhere in evidence.

Thórrson (to his team)
Now we all know that rational, sensible people don't murder each other. Then again, they usually don't break down fences and run towards armed Marines either.

---

Cockaigne appears to be suffering from a dearth of rationality and sense at the moment.
Thórrson (to Ishikawa)
Special Agent Ishikawa, your speciality is the irrational and uncanny. I want you to analyse the scene and events with an eye towards determining whether any abnormal psychological impulse was at play. You know, someone taking their rage out on a fellow protestor, maybe just someone going berserk in the press of people.

---

I'll proceed from the unlikely angle that there actually was a rational motive. Then we'll compare notes and see what kind of theory makes the most sense given the evidence we find.
He looks at Lt. Ashbless and in a low voice meant only for her, he remarks:

Thórrson
Sulanne, I'll need to get a cause of death as soon as possible. Just a preliminary finding, noting the obvious and nothing else, but official enough to be released.

We've got a dead protestor on Imperial ground and we know Marines fired upon the crowd. Stun weapons, sure, but how many angry mobs are going to care about the distinction?

I need a finding that will tell us that the death was caused by someone that was standing close by the victim and that will thus rule out the Marines being responsible. And I need that finding on every newsfeed as soon as anyone twigs to the vic being dead.

Bloody riots are even less fun than early morning murders.
When Thórrson reaches the crime scene, he nods cordially to Lt. free Grail.

Thórrson (to Lt. free Grail)
Morning, Leftenant. As usual, I wish we could meet under pleasanter circumstances, but criminals seem curiously reluctant to commit crimes near decent golf courses or some good fishing. And little as we like it, it's to their twisted tune we dance our jigs.

Now, what leads you to believe that we have a murder on our hands?
Thórrson slides his eyes over the body of the protestor.

Thórrson (to Lt. free Grail)
Beyond the rather obvious clue of the dead body lying on the ground, that is.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

The scene is a mess, a couple of hundred square metres trampled and churned by as many pairs of boots, and littered with lost and discarded items: scarves, caps, shoes, a jacket or two, here and there a piece of fruit, a packet of handmeals, a flask or bottle, half of them trodden into the soils and crushed tanglefoot. The dead man lies, in effect, in a small patch of heavily-trafficked ground in the midst of an otherwise little-frequented desert, his own personal 'dirty' crime scene.

Lieutenant free Grail greets the DoJ team morosely.

Lt. free Grail (to Thórrson)
Well, Inspector, people do sometimes die in mass stunnings, and this bloke caught a soliton full in the face. But when Dr. Ashbless has a look behind his left ear she'll find a bruise that wasn't made by any stun-cannon at fifty metres. He might have fallen on something, but I don't see a ball-pean hammer lying on the ground.

Someone pressed the bell of a stunner against this man's head and put him down like a lame horse.

I've detained four marines and two paramedics who got within arm's reach between when the mob left and when he was pronounced. But it's Carlton House to a charley's lean-to that the killer was trotting across the northern perimeter at about the time I arrived on scene.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:45 AM   #13
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Thórrson mutters a rather impolite word while he kneels beside the body. With wry humour, he looks up to Lt. Ashbless as he motions her to take a look at the area behind the ear indicated by Lt. free Grail.

Thórrson (to Ashbless)
What do you know, stunners are actually good for something.
His face turns serious and there's a plaintive note in his voice.

Thórrson (to Ashbless)
Can you unequivocally state that his injuries were sustained from close range? Say, closer than the Marines' position?
Thórrson looks around for Staff Sgt. Andreu Moesi while he speaks to Lt. free Grail.

Thórrson
If it's okay with you, Leftenant, we need to run all sorts of checks here. We'll be here a long time, so if there's anything else you need to be doing, don't let us detain you.

You can lend me a couple of your Marines for security and make sure that everyone who was on crowd control duty gives a statement, is kept from coordinating their stories and is ready to talk to us when we're finished here. Give us access to camfeed, records and anyone who was on monitor duty.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:50 AM   #14
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
Thórrson (to Lethe)
Which reminds me; get me everything we have on the vic, get me camfeed of the protest and get the ID of everyone visible on it. Then pull everything we have on them.
Lethe
Very well, sir. This may take a moment.
Lethe starts to type information into his palmtop, connecting it - via his Cyborg Link - to the police archives and security cam feed. His eyes glaze over as he starts identifying those people which are recognizable on the camera footage.
Cross-referencing to criminal archives... Cross-referencing to DoJ files... Hmm. I think there may be something here...
(to some random bystander)
You. Get me a coffee.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
Thórrson (to Ashbless)
What do you know, stunners are actually good for something.
Lethe raises an eyebrow at this, but refrains from commenting.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:53 AM   #16
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Thórrson looks around for a suitable place to set up temporary HQ.

Thórrson (to Lt. free Grail)
See if you can't get us power, lights, forensic bots, comps and refreshments of choice somewhere we can sit down around here.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:14 PM   #17
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Sorry for the slow start - I had a hell of a day yesterday, and wasn't in a creative frame of mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dscheidt
Ashbless quickly dons her uniform, checking she has all her usual kit, carefully checking that her sidearm is loaded, and batteries show an acceptable state of charge. While trotting to her aircar, she calls Athene.
Ashbless:

Athene, we're on a homicide. I don't know who the vic is, apparently a protester at the Residence. The provos have detained a couple of their guard. Go see what they've got to say. Don't let 'em know their suspects, eh?


Ishikawa is about to leave for work when this comes in

Ishikawa (to Ashbless)

I was just on my way, in, so I can be there in no time.

Off she goes, letting the 'car's pilot do the work - that's what it's for. While driving to the residence, see if there's anything on the JD datanet about this yet, and if so, read up on it. If not, get up to speed on the protests - who's doing the protests, who's organising them, what they want, why they're protesting to us (the Imperials), and so on. While dealing with politicians is my bosses' job (and I like it that way), having an idea what's what should help me deal with suspects, and witnesses and those others who help us with our inquiries.

Once there, go to where the rest of the team have congregated. I'm sure the boss will want to brief us before things get busy.

Ishikawa (to all)

Good Morning, Inspector, Lieutenant, everyone. I hope I haven't missed anything.

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Old 08-20-2007, 05:29 PM   #18
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Default Re: 9,401, an SF thriller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
Thórrson (to his team)

Special Agent Ishikawa, your speciality is the irrational and uncanny. I want you to analyse the scene and events with an eye towards determining whether any abnormal psychological impulse was at play. You know, someone taking their rage out on a fellow protestor, maybe just someone going berserk in the press of people.

---

I'll proceed from the unlikely angle that there actually was a rational motive. Then we'll compare notes and see what kind of theory makes the most sense given the evidence we find.
Ishikawa

Yes, Sir.

Ishikawa figures he means "examine the 'bot's results", not "messes up the scene even more than it is", so for the time being seeing how it went down would be a good start.

Ishikawa (to Lethe)

Osiris, could you please place all that footage and stuff into our team's common data area, so we can all get at it? It'll save us having to go through the Marines' system each time we want to take a look.


Get stuck into it, going through the footage from various camera's viewpoints, getting a feel for the protester's mood, and so on.

BTW, Was the dead guy the one that lead/motived the assault on the compound? If not, was he anywhere near him?
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Last edited by Rupert; 08-20-2007 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:50 PM   #19
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Default Instant replay

Both Lethe and Ishikawa start out by pulling the video records of the scene. The footage is revealing:
1424 Zulu A figure (John Doe) in recipient blue runs unsteadily into view. Despite a trace of dystaxia, he picks his feet up in a practised cross-country runner's gait, and is impeded by the tanglefoot weed much less than is typical. Catching sight of the fence in the half-light of dawn he steadies, alters course directly towards the camera, raises his right hand with fingers curled, and waves, jerkily and in time with his steps. His head starts to rock back and forward in time with his steps, and he more of less collapses into the fence when he arrives. After a few heaving breaths, he turns his face to the camera and mouths something too faint and indistinct for the mikes to pick it up.

Thirty seconds later the front elements of the mob catch up. They start to form a press, and John Doe wearily starts to climb the fence. The mikes go dead as the screamers come on.

1427 Zulu The fenceposts start glowing red, and (off camera) the marines open fire with heavy auto stun cannon. And the protestors start to go down like scythed wheat. After 24 seconds everyone is down, and the marines cease firing. But two figures from the back of the crowd start crawling through the heap of stunned humanity: a slight athletic man and a very athletic woman, both in recipient blue with red caps. Reaching John Doe, they begin quickly but methodically to search him. They open his jacket and fly, turn his pockets inside out. The man pulls John Doe's shoes off and slits their soles with a small but evidently very sharp knife. The woman rolls him onto his front and pats down his back and the backs of his legs.

1429 Zulu Protestors start getting up and crawling away. Doe starts to struggle, flail, and shout. Roe takes a dark object from her pocket, presses it to the back of Doe’s head. Doe convulses once and is still.

1430 Zulu The woman crawls to the man, and they confer briefly. Then they crawl to the back of the heap, get up, and run away.
Ishikawa
Inspector! You'll want a look at this.
Lethe extracts the best pictures he can of the man and woman who searched John Doe: not very good. Gait analysis software gets their height and proportions, but they never walked or ran with a normal gait while they were on camera. Nevertheless, he posts a 'detain' bulletin with the best description he can get, and alerts the gate guards on the Residence perimeter, at the spaceport gate, and at the spaceport subway station.

Lt. free Grail's orderly hands him a mug of Grail's coffee. Lethe takes it absent-mindedly, sits cross-legged on the ground, and rests his Superhacker in his lap. He sips the coffee (Marines' standard issue: white with two) and starts to dig into the records.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 08-23-2007 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:54 PM   #20
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Default Surveying the crime scene

Ashbless briefly scans the crimes scene, and then unlatches the case of her crime scene survey rig. First she establishes a locator beacon at each corner of a rectangle including the apparent scene with a comfortable margin: one the northern edge they can be secured to the ground with stakes, but on the side withteh ditch she clamps them to fencposts on the edge of the counterscarp, She switches them on, and when they light green (to indicate that they have established their absolute and relative positions and established a local grid) she opens a case of crime scene bots and flips their master switch. 128 bots, each the size and shape of a large beetle, file out along the western edge of the crime scene, turn east, and start a methodical sweep across the crime scene. As each one finds a cap, a glove, a packet of food, a pool of vomit or a smear of blood it logs the find, and a keyed map of the crime scene gradually builds up on Ashbless's control board. After thirty seconds dominated by reports of broken strands of tanglefoot, dead spiders, and bird droppings she adjusts the filters for high specificity and to ignore routine ecology.

Ashbless
This will take about forty-five minutes
(to Lt. free Grail)
Lieutenant, may I second four marines for bag & tag?
Lt. free Grail
Surely, Lieutenant.
(to Naiooka)
Naiooka, round up three more MPs, and assist this officer of the Justice Department as she instructs.
Naiooka
Aye-aye, Lieutenant.

Fossey! Ptolemy! Hopesh!
Ashbless
Righto, Marines. Tune to tac-14 and identify yourselves to the crime scene program. Then take a handful of these bags. The program will guide you to pieces of evidence, one by one. Pick up each indicated object using forcepses if necessary, or wipe any liquids with a swab and bag the swab. Make sure that you have what you are doing clearly in view of your helmet cameras. Seal the bag on the piece of evidence, and show the number on the bag clearly to your camera when it is sealed. Start a running record, I'll need it to establish the provenance of evidence. Is that clear?
There are no questions, and the four marines form an emu parade across the crime scene area. Ashbless takes command from the control panel of her crimes scene survey rig, dismissing most of the 'evidence' suggested by the scuttling bots.

Ashbless
Maybe twenty minutes.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 08-20-2007 at 09:07 PM. Reason: typos
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