Need a Doppelgänger to watch my back

Now for a change of story type, this one is sort of Science Fantasy/Transhuman/Biopunk in nature. It is the first story in a very different setting, that may become the Justice Journals

Waiting

The night was coming to an end with the surface outside the domes well able to freeze boiling water in seconds. No air there to keep creature alive. Within the domes the temperature was comfortable, to some maybe too warm for nighttime. Day and night different too. Outside a day took four weeks of earth time. Inside the dome just a standard earth day. Within the domes the gravity field gravity being that of earth, but without the field it was exactly right for the moon. Tranquillity was not tranquil as dawn was about to break. The Dome’s shutters would rise two hours after Luna dawn, at dome dawn.

That which had caused Tranquillity’s peace to be disturbed was the finding of a body. Accredited Arcane Investigator Samuel Arthur Western had been called to the scene, as it was the latest member of The Lunar Development Corporation’s staff to be killed. After the third death, Samuel had been offered the contract to investigate the deaths. On taking the contract, Samuel became a Lunar Deputy. Before he reached the moon though there was another death. On the moon or within the Luna Council’s jurisdiction corporate security officers and corporate investigators were granted the status of being Luna Deputy Sheriffs.

Samuel was not a native or long-term resident of the moon, but was far too familiar with the moon for his liking. Too familiar with place’s that were not within earth’s atmosphere. Inside Lovell Dome, of the Tranquillity Domes Complex (TDC), Samuel despaired over what passed for a police force on the moon. Those who were members of the Luna Police Service (LPS) were either youngsters who had few if any skills to get them the ride up to the moon or those who other police services wished they had never recruited who had gained promotion by transferring to LPS. In the whole of the LPS there were maybe three competent police offices, or so Samuel believed. Those at the site of the body dump were typical of the force, being barely able to find the scene let alone process it or even secure it. Sargent Shaunessy was in charge and more interested in his coffee than his job. Deputy Derek Almond though was trying to arrange a cranial crew to preserve the head. Before taking charge himself, Samuel scanned the area for the Provincial Magistrate, Taj Rei. Of those who were officially investigative officers on the moon, only the Provincial  Magistrates were considered truly professional by any but the LPS. It was the Provincial Magistrates task to have other’s gather the evidence for them and then themselves judge the evidence and determine the guilt or innocence of those associated with the crime. In many ways Samuel preferred Investigative Magistrates to other more adversarial systems for considering the evidence. Back in the British Territories, Samuel had had to deal with adversarial courts and the jury system.

He had served his mandatory minimum term, of Investigative Service, with the National Sacred Sites Protection Force (NSSPF), having been trained as an Arcane Investigator to NSSPF’s bursary. Accredited Arcane Investigators possessed many police powers even after leaving a formal police service and going private or commercial. Having been on the series winning University Challenge Team for Hecate College, Henges University, his birth shell was occasionally recognised. Henges University being the most prestigious and oldest of the Liberal Sciences Universities, With Hecate College being the oldest college. Between his powers as an Accredited Arcane Investigator (AAI) and the additional powers from being a deputy sheriff, He had full police powers and additional powers to gather evidence and rights to use arcane abilities and magic to gather evidence and apprehend suspects.

Awaiting Samuel was a corpse with much of its head destroyed, as had the previous victims. That there was massive damage to the brain meant the victims memories and skills were not salvageable. The smell of burnt flesh, bone and brain hung sweetly on the air despite the victim being hours dead and having been murdered elsewhere and if the past bodies were anything to go by striped of any physical evidence. The hot plasma of what were, commonly, known as broiler rounds had seared and cooked the hair, flesh, bone and brain of the victim. Several of the Luna deputies were bent over emptying their stomachs, some distance away, having approached the body too closely. Samuel knew there were more wound than just those to the head. That there were other wounds was a characteristic of the earlier crimes and also evidenced by other scents that made up the smell that sent the deputies retching.

Eventually Taj’s rover arrived and Samuel strolled over, “Morning hope you haven’t had your breakfast.”

“So you’re what a Hunter7? Are you Samuel Western?” Taj held out his pocket ID Scanner that did a simplified scan of a shell’s brainwaves, to establish the shell’s spirit’s identity. Samuel smiled at the naivety of the required process. Personally he could convince the machine he was any of about a dozen spirits easily and if he worked at it many more. Just a simple mental rote had identified Taj to him and he had done that as the rover arrived.

The formal scan complied with Samuel Looked down on Taj, “We will supervise the use of nanites to gather any evidence that survives. I expect none given the previous crimes. Once that is over we will kneel by the body and you place your hands on my anointed temples whilst I rest my fingers over the victim’s eyes. That way we should both see the last hours of his life. If I can I will sense what he heard and you will be able to hear it too.”

“They said you would be all business.” Taj smiled, “Till it’s over. Why the Hunter7?”

“The Genebridge’s Hunter7 is the best bloodhound shell for the Luna environment. Compromises my power’s somewhat but the superior speed and coordination as-well-as enhanced mundane senses more than make up for that up here. Henge Biologicals’ Homodeus is my choice on Earth.” Just to show off he with superior speed and masterful sleight of hand he palmed Taj’s scanner and made it appear afront of Taj.

Before using magical investigation, Samuel released an Archaeoswarm of the scene of the dump. The  Archaeoswarm being a swarm of naniets that would gather whatever evidence there was in the area and excavate down to buried items of changes in subsoil.

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Filed under creative writing, Detective Fiction, First Chapters, Justice Journals, Short Story

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