Sunday, May 18, 2014

You: A Murder Mystery (Chapter Three)

Chapter Three

You give C0lumb0t his orders and slip into your car. Mordent lives in the West Green Division, which is at least a two-hour drive. Keying in the cars auto-drive, you barely watch the city float by as you start going through Silas Mordent's file.

Born thirty-eight years ago to an upper-middle class family, Mordent did fairly well in school until he turned fifteen. That was when one enterprising math teacher took notice of him and discovered that Mordent had a keen mind for numbers. He began taking advanced classes and graduated early, entering college when he was just seventeen. His tuition was paid, for the most part, by the very same bank he would later be employed by. Almost as if they had made a down payment on him.

He did well in college for the first couple years and then dropped out. His file is sketchy and vague after this point; he left the comforts of the Corporate Zone and entered the wilds of New Vegas. You find a few mentions of him getting banned from this casino or that for counting cards and then, two years later, he's miraculously back in college and studying away. It was then that he opened his account with SecuraCorp and, a few months later, met Paula Lin.

It takes some digging, but you find a buried file in his report that indicated he'd gone to Gamblers Anonymous for nearly two years after meeting Lin. You wonder why the report was buried and who commissioned it. All of the dates on the file have been obscured and your security clearance isn't high enough to decrypt it. You can only see that at some point someone got curious about Silas Mordent's past and had opened an investigation. For all you know it could have been years ago. Maybe Paula Lin's family got curious about this new suitor, or it could have been yesterday.

You look up and see trees whizzing by your car. You are in one of the Zone's protected wildlife refuges. If you were to stop the car and pick a flower by the side of the road you'd spend the rest of your life paying off the debt. Cut a tree down and you'd be exiled out of the Corporate Zone and cast into the wilds. That wouldn't be so bad for you, you have marketable skills, but for many it would be a death sentence.

The phone in your dashboard chirps and the caller ID indicates that the clean-up crew from Mordent's crime scene is calling. You answer and the face of a bored looking technician pops up on your screen.

“What do you got for me?” You ask.

“He was killed here, that's for certain,” The tech says. “He'd been in that chair for most of yesterday before you guys found him. I'll have a specific time later on. We found a few other things scattered around the room. A few decks of cards, some chips. The chips are weird, they have this crazy serpent design on them. They look like actual casino chips.”

“So he was killed there,” You repeat, running the data through your head. “Any evidence of another person being in the room?”

“At least two. We found some footprints, no fingerprints or DNA though. That pamphlet did have a few strands of hair though, we're running them now. Anyone you investigating have dreadlocks?”

“Not that I've found yet, but I'll keep my eye out. Anything in particular interesting about the footprints?”

“Some mud. We can find out from where, but our team is running thin today. Half my crew got taken from me right in the middle of the investigation.”

“What? Why?”

“Beats me,” The tech shrugs. “Some big case opened up, Home Office needed the help.”


“So what do you want me to prioritize here? I can do one thing quick or a bunch of stuff over the next few days.”

What should the Tech look into?
  1. Look into the poker chip design, see where they were manufactured
  2. Check into the mud, see if it comes from somewhere unique
  3. Scan the DNA of the dreadlock strand.
  4. Do all three, even though it will take longer.

You tell the tech what you want to have happen and hang up the phone. You go back over the notes you took at Paula Lin's interview as your car pulls into the West Green Division. You cruise past estates the size of cities, each with their own internal economy and police force. A dozen drones drift over to your car as it drives by, scanning and checking your ID to make sure you aren't trespassing. Luckily, you work for SecuraCorp and each of these houses has some connection to the company you work for. You drive on, unmolested.

It takes twenty minutes for you to reach Mordent's estate. Located in the “slum” section of West Green, here the houses are only the size of city blocks and boast only one or two guest houses and modest dozen-acre gardens. Stopping in front of the gates, you go can see the house of the man Mordent had argued with a few months before his murder. Quickly deciding what to do, you step out of your car just as your phone rings.
Caller ID indicates it's the Chief. Your boss.

“Afternoon, boss,” You say. The Chief is an overall good guy, just enough of a hard ass to get things done, but not a narcissistic ladder climber like most other corporate cops. “What can I do for you?”

“I heard about your case. How's it going?” he asks.

“Not bad, got a few leads.”

“Send me the files,” he says. “Let's see what we've been paying you for.”

You reach into the car and tap a few icons on your dash-computer. Within seconds your notes and files have been sent to the Chief.

“Good work so far,” he says after a few minutes. “Tell you what, how would you like to pass this one off and sink your teeth into something juicier?”

“You want me to ditch this one?”

“Not ditch, I'll hand it off to Anderson and he can wrap it up,” The Chief says. “You did a lot a of legwork on this, but there isn't anything here he can't handle. This other case, it's a good one. If you take it, you'd get a bump in pay. A good one.”

“How good. And what's the case?” You ask.

“I'll tell you all about the case when you get back. And the bump is good. More like a hill really.”

What do you do?

  1. Investigate the garden where Mordent argued with his neighbor.
  2. Investigate Mordent's house
  3. Pay a visit to the neighbor.
  4. Get a new case and maybe a new everything.

So you can vote for the outcome you desire by clicking on the polls in the upper right corner over there. Voting is open until Thursday May, 22nd and the next chapter will post Monday May, 26th.

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