Thursday, March 12, 2015

Microstory 12: Round House

Detective Urdea raced through the alleyway, the suspect always at least four meters out of reach. They flung themselves over a fence, under a railing, and in a space so tight, the buildings might as well have been attached. Urdea was about to take his shot when they found themselves in a large crowd. There was some kind of block party. They zigged and zagged and weaved and bobbed through the mess of arms, beer cups, and balloon animals. Instead of trying to protect himself within the crowd, the suspect got himself out, and Urdea took his shot. Dead.

After checking for a pulse, he opened the case that the suspect had evidently stolen. Eight slots. Seven vials. He ordered the contents to be analyzed immediately. They discovered it to be what's known as The Silver Plague, a bioweapon that could wipe out the planet. And Urdea had apparently killed the only person who could have told them where the last vial was.

For the next several hours, he and his partner sifted through restaurant receipts and security cameras, trying to find out who the suspect had been working with, and what they were planning to do with the plague. They talked to confidential informants, family members, field experts, and sister departments. Nothing. Meanwhile, the entire metropolitan area was evacuated. The country was put on DEFCON 3. The nation panicked. The world held its breath.

Finally, a uniformed officer caught someone trying to break into the dead suspect's apartment. They took him to an "off-the-books" location and started "interrogating" him,  using the phone book as a "frame of reference". They asked him questions about how he knew the dead suspect, what he did for a living, etc. But they said nothing of the vials, hoping that after hours of questioning, he would give away what they needed without even realizing it. Finally, he appeared to be broken, and they asked the real questions. "Where is the vial?"

"What vial?"

They hit him again. "The other vial!"

"I don't know what you're talking about!"

The phone book was more red than it was yellow. "What did you do with the missing vial!"

"I don't have any other vial. They were all in the case!"

Urdea was growing impatient. "You're telling me that there were eight vials when you last saw the case?"

"What? No." He spit some blood on the floor. "There were seven vials. There are ONLY seven vials."

"Do you think I'm an idiot?" Urdea growled. "There are eight slots in the case. I'm not gonna ask you again. Where. Is. The last one!?"

"Yeah, I DO think you're an idiot," the man shouted. "The case manufacturer could not have known exactly how many slots we would need. They didn't have one with only seven slots, so we rounded up! You have all the vials! You've had them the whole time!"

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