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The Journey Inward
The Journey Series
Copyright Bob James 2017
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the eventual publisher of this book.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales entirely coincidental.
This is Chapter 4 of my book. Previous chapters can be found by clicking on the chapter
Some days Aiden walked to the station. A beautiful day like this would normally have been one of them. Today, though, he wanted privacy, so he took his skimmer. He didn’t normally have many encounters with others along the way, but he didn’t want to take the chance. If that Qu’evahn female was up, he wanted to talk with her privately.
“What’s her name again?” he asked himself. He pulled out his notepad and read the name again. “Ah, yes, Aryence. What a beautiful female…and she’s Qu’evahn to boot!” Aiden was excited over what the possibilities might be with this female. He had heard a lot of stories from others even though he had never known a Qu’evahn female. He thought Aryence had seemed normal enough, but wondered what she might be like in private.
He opened a mobile communication line and connected with Aryence. She answered. “Hey Aryence, this is Aiden.”
Aryence sounded like she had just woken up, “Hello. Aiden? Aiden who?” Aiden could hear her yawn as she spoke. “How late is it?”
Aiden was miffed at himself for calling so early, but he decided to press ahead. “It’s a little before first moon rise. I’m the cop you met last night.”
“Oh, Aiden! Sorry Aiden.” Aryence yawned again. “I should have told you to wait until after second moon rise to call. What can I do for you?”
Aiden’s tendrils quivered as he thought of all the different ways he wanted to answer that question. He restrained himself because he knew he didn’t want to scare the Qu’evahn female off. “You had said that we might get together some time and I thought tonight would be good. What do you say we get something to eat after work tonight?”
Aryence yawned again, “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I get off halfway between first and second moonfall. When do you get off?”
Aiden had trouble controlling the skimmer he was so excited. “Play it cool, Aiden. Play it cool!” he told himself. “I normally get off a little closer to second moonfall,” he said. “I can probably arrange to get off a little early so that I can pick you up.”
“That sounds good,” Aryence responded. “Can you pick me up at the bar?”
“I’d love to!” Aiden said. “See you tonight!” i
“Looking forward to it; wearing purple too.” Aryence clicked off the communicator and Aiden was sure that she had already fallen back asleep before she spoke that last nonsensical phrase. He didn’t care. He had a date with her and that was all that mattered.
He floated the skimmer into his parking space and then, practically floated up the stairs to the locker room to get ready for work.
Seppe came in through the back door of the locker room at about the same time. Their lockers were right next to each and they got ready together talking through ideas on open cases. Aiden was about to brag about his success in arranging a date when a call rang out through the locker room. “Seppe! Aiden! In my office, NOW!”
When Captain Tengler called, the detectives jumped. Seppe and Aiden got what they could together and ran to his office. They saw Officer Re’Lears who had some pictures on the captain’s desk when they walked in. “Officer Re’Lears thinks she may be able to help you,” the Captain said. “Sit down and listen to what she has to say.” He nodded at the petite female officer. Seppe and Aiden knew that even though she was small, she had a reputation as a fierce cop when she needed to be. She was also smart and if they hadn’t been trying to downsize the force, she would have been a detective in no time.
Officer Re’Lears had no qualms about speaking before superior officers. It was like she was born to the stage and she loved performing as she was getting the chance to do now. “I was reading about your case and it reminded me of a case I had about eight cycle groups ago that we never solved.” She paused, waiting for some sign that they were listening. When she saw them nod and then lean forward in anticipation she continued. “My victim, name of Zerris, was also very tall. He was from the Sufran tribe. His throat had been cut, almost decapitating him, and his legs were cut off at the knees as well.”
She saw that they were still involved and walked over to the communicator. After a few commands, a picture appeared on the wall behind her. “This was the picture I took as I came on the scene. When I showed it to the captain, he showed me the pics from your case. There are a lot of similarities between the situations as you can see.”
Seppe looked at the picture thoughtfully. “That’s great work, Officer! Those pictures are nearly identical, except for the position of the head, and there’s only one finger showing on the hand in your case while ours has five.” Seppe’s voice trailed off as he spoke. “Can you put both pictures up?” he asked Re’Lears. “I wonder,” he said to himself as the second picture came up alongside the first. “Captain?” he asked, “Do we have any other unsolved murders between now and then?” Seppe had a hunch.
“We’ve always got some of those,” the Captain chuckled. “We weren’t too worried about them now that we got rid of all the bad guys.” He thought a second. “Why do you ask?”
“Just a hunch, Captain,” Seppe said with a little less confidence. He wondered if he was reading too much into his idea. “I’d like to look at those case files.”
“We don’t have a lot to do these days with all the bad guys shipped off to Darwinda,” the Captain began, “but we still don’t have time for a wild hrusk chase.” He looked at Seppe sternly. “You are involved in a case right now after all.”
“Captain,” Aiden interjected, “I would bet my life on Seppe’s hunches. I actually did three times. I can’t think of any time that he’s been wrong on his hunches.” Aiden looked over at Seppe and winked, “Can we just get case files of unsolved murders going back eight cycle groups? We’ll do the research on our time.”
The captain rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “You’d be willing to work on your own time to get this done, Aiden?” When Aiden nodded the captain laughed, “You must really be serious, then. Do it on company time, but don’t fall behind in your other work. I want some progress on this Ca’Suisse case. What was the name of the vic? Grenoj?”
The captain stood up to dismiss them when Seppe blurted out, “Captain, can Officer Re’Lears help us as we go over the files? She seems to have a good understanding of the ideas on this case.”
The Captain put his hand on his head laughing a little, “Go ahead. I hope she helps. Just get me some results!” He waved his hands towards the door. “Now, go on, get out of here. Use task force office number seven and spread your work out there. Just don’t get in anyone’s way!”
All three walked out of the office in silence and headed towards their new office. Officer Re’Lears started to ask a question, but Seppe silenced her. They got to the door, walked in, shut the door and then the cacophony began. Seppe asked Aiden why he didn’t mention last night’s failed hunch; Officer Re’Lears wanted to know why Seppe asked for her; Aiden wanted to know what Seppe had seen; – what his hunch was. Finally, Aiden silenced the trio by pounding on the table.
“As senior officer here, my question gets to be asked first. What do you think you saw, Seppe. What was your hunch?” Aiden asked.
“There was something about those hands,” Seppe began. “I think Zerris may have been the first of what are now five victims.”
“I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t lied, now,” Aiden said shaking his head.
Officer Re’Lears jumped in, “I think I know what he’s talking about, Detective Aiden. I’ll get the pictures and show you what he means.” She flew out the door and headed towards the captain’s office to get the pictures.
Seppe looked at Aiden, “So why did you lie about my hunches never being wrong?”
Aiden smiled, “I just figured last night was an aberration so I didn’t count it when I talked with the captain.”
Seppe laughed, partly in relief that Aiden hadn’t figured out why his hunch was wrong and partly because of Aiden’s audacity. “But you’re still going to make me buy that Argarian Ale, aren’t you?”
Aiden laughed, “You owe me two flasks now, partner.”
Seppe smiled, “You’re on.”
Officer Re’Lears came back in with the pictures of Grenoj and Zerris. “Here you go, Detective Aiden. Look at these pictures.” She spread the two pictures out on the table for Aiden to see. “Look here,” she continued as she pointed to the picture from her case, “This is Zerris. Notice his hand. What do you see?”
Aiden sighed, “His hand is thrown up in surprise, just like in our murder.” He looked a little closer. “It looks like he may be pointing at something.”
Seppe looked at Officer Re’Lears, “Now do you see why I wanted you on the team? I needed someone with brains to outvote him.” Seppe jerked his thumb over towards Aiden. “Why don’t you explain what I’m getting at?”
Officer Re’Lears smiled. “I think Detective Seppe is of the opinion that these hands were manipulated after death. The killer planned to keep on killing and he wanted to mock us with each death.” She paused and noted Aiden looking more closely. “He isn’t pointing. The killer is telling us that Zerris is number one.”
Aiden shook his head in amazement and said, “So you believe that Grenoj’s hand isn’t thrown up in surprise, but that the killer is telling us that Grenoj is number five on his victim list. Is that what you’re trying to say?” When he saw them both nodding he said, “That’s an interesting idea, I’m not sorry I lied, but you still owe me two Argarian Ales.” He pursed his lips. “You also need to find evidence of victims number 2,3, and 4.”
Seppe laughed as he looked at Re’Lears puzzled face, “It’s a long story. Let’s just say that he didn’t exactly lie. It’s more like he didn’t include a piece of evidence. Now, do you drink Argarian Ale? I’ll buy you one when we’re off duty.”
Officer Re’Lears laughed, “Love the stuff! And I’d love to join you. You guys are a team of legend among the beat cops.”
Aiden laughed, “Well then, please don’t tell them the truth when this assignment is over. We’d hate to disillusion them.”
Seppe laughed too. “Right now Aiden and I need to go to the Ca’suisse section and find out about Grenoj. We need you to get the files of unsolved murders between Zerris’s murder and Grenoj’s murder. Look through them, now that you know what we’re looking for, and choose likely victims for two, three and four, assuming there are some. Then we’ll go over their stories and see if there are any common factors.”
“Yes, sir,” Re’Lears said as she saluted.
Aiden looked at her and laughed, “Oh, and acting detective Re’Lears, no salutes. They make us nervous.”
“Got it,” she said and then she suddenly realized what he said. “You can’t make me a detective!” she said wagging her finger.
Aiden laughed. “That’s just for the three of us. Remember. We’re a legendary team. We can make up the rules as we go along.”
Officer Re’Lears shook her head and walked out the door on her way to the records room to search for the files on any unsolved murders while Seppe and Aiden headed for the locker room to finish getting ready. After that they would head to the Ca’suisse section to find out more about Grenoj.
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