Doppelgänger – The Hunt

The first to be detained was Whetherly, who had taken unauthorised leave from work. Samuel tracked him to Gagarin Dome which was the spaceport. Whetherly had yet to enter the spaceport when Samuel and three Deputies caught up with him. Whetherly was a nondescript corporate type, who just had a large holdall for luggage. When Samuel identified himself to Whetherly, Whetherly turned away and reached into his jacket. Before Whetherly managed to draw whatever he was after, Samuel had cast a stunning bolt of magical force at him. The bolt of energy struck home on Whetherly’s temple, leaving him prostrate on the floor, unmoving, a parcel ready for the Deputies to wrap. The investigation of LDC’s accounts had triggered a program that warned Whetherly that his crime was being detected.

The other three’s detention was not as simple. Divination had revealed that they had somehow entered the Rhodes Southern Mine, which ran over to the Rhodes Complex, which was thirty miles beyond the limits of TDC. Whereas TDC was initially established as a tourist resort and had become a major commercial and administrative centre for the Moon, Rhodes complex had been established to be a base for mining operations for the Rhodes Mining Consortium. Rhodes complex was nowhere near as large as TDC with much of that without the artificial gravity then encompassed the entirety of TDC. The tunnels and chambers of the Rhodes Southern Mine were all lacking artificial gravity. Parts of the dusty, dark and frigid mine required the use of breathing apparatus. Miners were rare in the mine as most of the mining was done by drones, machines and robots.

Monteban, Acre and Webber had a several mile lead on Samuel and the Deputies when Samuel entered the mine. Entering the mine, Samuel was equipped for a fight. Given the nature of the mine firearms were a major hazard, as they might spark off an explosion of gasses or dust in the mine. The transit tunnel, that ran from TDC to the Rhodes Complex, was gargantuan in proportions, enabling the huge ore transporters and mining robots to run three abreast down it. The chambers that led off to the mine workings were still large but not quite to the same scale. The tunnels that led off those chambers to the mine faces were just big enough for a mining robot to transit them. Those tunnels had airlocks between them and the side chambers, so the main workings of the mine could be at near vacuum pressures to reduce the risks of explosion. About three miles out from TDC there was the ore works, where the ores were refined and processed. The ore works had only been operational for five years. In addition to the ore, the waste rock had long been processed to be aggregate for use in the Luna construction boom.

Heading down into the tunnels, Samuel sat in the front passenger seat of a Tata 997 Intruder, fast gravitic explorer. It was not one of the most stylish or sophisticated vehicles on the moon, but was one of the fastest allowed within the domes. Tata 997s were restricted to the various law enforcement outfits on the moon. Against Samuel’s advice, the vehicle’s lights and siren were being used by the driver, when they entered the tunnels of Rhodes Southern Mine, which alerted the felons to their pursuit. As Samuel had expected, Monteban, Acre and Webber took refuge amongst vast machinery of the ore works.

Having speed passed the regular traffic of the mine, the 997 approached the ore works where three ore transports lumbered toward it, across the width of the tunnel. The 997 scooted up to the roof of the tunnel and zoomed over the transports. Once the 997 had passed the transports they began to reverse towards the 997. Other transports started up and began moving towards the 997. Leaving the Deputies to fend for themselves, Samuel caused himself to be ignored by those who might hear or catch sight of him, then dropped from the 997, using a quick rote to land safely.

The massive ore transports navigated towards the 997, without any consideration of Samuel, who dodged the wheels of one running beneath it. Dodging other transports, drones and robots, Samuel headed towards the ladder that led up to the maintenance platform that ran around the hopper for number 4 ore processor, where he sensed that Webber and Acre were hiding. Monteban was over in what Samuel thought was a control room. More and more systems seemed focused on the 997, as Samuel climbed the ladder to the first deck of the ore hopper. Any miner who had climbed that ladder would have had to have used a parabelt and have been harnessed to the ladder. A parabelt was a device that used gravitic technology to slow a fall, so the person falling had no risk of injury.

Achieving the deck, Samuel took one of the many pairs of ear-defenders that were located in the safety cabinet near the ladder, as there was a discordant cacophony caused by the hopper feeding ore to the crusher. Pausing to sense where those he sought were, Samuel slipped on a filter mask for protection against the clouds of dust generated by the ore crusher. One of those he sought he could clearly see, thanks to magically enhanced vision. Monteban was in the control room, interfaced with the control desk by a direct neural link. The distance between then being a good hundred metres. Knowing the risks, Samuel prepared several rotes to work together, then began working them, revealing himself in the process. The working sent a bolt of electrical charge surging towards the control room’s parabolic dish. The reach of the working took as much as Samuel could do in a single working without resulting to rituals or paraphernalia. The charge concentrated its self at parabolic dish, blasting down the circuitry and surging into the control systems destroying the control room’s controls. Weakened by the intervening systems the charge trickled up the link and fused Monteban’s neural link rendering Monteban unconscious. That which Samuel feared had happened, the arcing from the bolt triggered a dust explosion, that was steadily growing in force and expanding towards the ore crushers. Summoning a preprepared working, Samuel used all his impressive natural ability and a desperate amount of the additional stored power he carried with him to repel the growing fire ball. The repelling of the fireball worked somewhat, but did not stop the fireball as the fireball drew in oxygen to feed it, causing a wind to gust into the chamber. Fortunately ore crushers seven and eight were being serviced, so had not been generating clouds of dust, but the fireball had been sucking up dust from the floor. It roared forth weakening, only to stop well short of the ore crushers.

As the rampant vehicles and robots began to lose momentum, the other two fugitives had divided seeking escape and hoping the other would be the trail. Samuel elected to seek out Acre, charging down the gangway, with Acre fleeing madly ahead of him. With Samuel gaining rapidly on Acre, who was dreading capture, Acre recklessly yanked levers as he passed, eventually causing the gangway to give-way under him sending Acre crashing down fifteen metres. Samuel leapt down, to where Acre lay using magic to land safely.

Reaching Acre, Samuel quickly worked magics to prevent his passing and to keep Acre’s essence within the broken body. Having just finished these, Samuel was struck in the back by a large rock, that had been cast by Webber. Feeling the damage done, Samuel rapidly worked magics to preserve his brain, keep his essence in his body and began magically healing the damage.

Seeing the carnage, the Deputies put in the call for a cranial crew and medical technicians, then began their hunt for the remaining fugitives. Given the risks of the area they refrained from carrying their shock batons and resorted to the ancient wooden clubs and high-tech sprays they had for such situations.

It was a slow but ultimately successful hut but two deputies had been disabled before Webber was trapped and detained.

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

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