After dealing with the speeding Foord Slabster Judges Thane and Striker mounted their LawMasters and drove to the corner of Hilton and LeGrange.
The Konstant Cup was a completely roboticized cafe, all smooth and gleaming white. Robots would normally speed around, serving coffee to customers, but today they lay silent.
Thane and Striker pulled up to the corner, leaving their LawMasters running as they walked towards the gleaming holographic, busty waitress pouring a synthi-caf over the doorway. The Tek Judges had already arrived and had cordoned off the area, and the two Street Judges entered into a forensic crime scene in progress.
The Tek Judges immediately began updating the new arrivals on the situation, they looked over the 3 bodies in the booth and the one on the floor. The young man on the floor had been shot in the back but the they immediately saw that the three in the booth had all been shot in the head, execution style.
Thane questioned the Tek Judges further while Striker conducted his own investigation around the cafe. The three serving droids had all been shot through their vid plates and CPU’s, effectively erasing their hard drives and any vid recordings they had made.On the table next to the dead civilian they noticed that there was two cups, one of which had a shade of lipstick on it. A second witness! Unfortunately the Tek Judges informed them that the Konstant Cup sat in a dead zone for the PSU and no video was recorded.
Thane began reviewing the files on the victims:
Ridgy ‘Knuckles’ Dean, age 48;
ran zziz supply rackets in the lower levels of the sector.
Pulled ﬁve years cube time for GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm)around seven years ago. Very low weight in the Contralto Crew but known to be loyal and keen to go on up in the world.
Georgi diBesti, age 51;
thug-for-rent who specialised in terrorising alien visitors fresh from Eustace Fargo Spaceport. Several convictions for assaults and facing a mandatory lobotomy if he offended again.
Toni Durante, age 49:
slightly better connected in the Crew and in charge of one of the corrupt portering rackets at the spaceport. No convictions but plenty of suspicions.
All three of the victims were known members of the Contralto crime syndicate but none of them had ever been associated with each other, the Tek Judge confirmed this by revealing that all three victims had been armed with a weapon but that none had had time to draw it. Thane and Striker seemed convinced that this was a contract kill but remained puzzled by the dead civilian behind them. The civilian had not been shot though the head but through the back, his file showed no illegal activities and, indeed, no connection at all to the mobsters lying dead in the booth.
resident of Buzz Aldrin block.
job as a trainee sub-assistant cleaner at a Sector 13 public convenience.
No Justice Department history.
As they continued investigating a call came in over their LawMasters from control concerning new evidence on the Foord Slabster incident that morning. Thane went out to his LawMaster to review the evidence while Striker remained on comms. Control informed the pair of the following concerning the Foord Slabster:
- The Slabster was running on pre-programmed collision co-ordinates: the Sector House was most deﬁnitely the target.
- The inside of the Slabster has been thoroughly swabbed with alcohol to eliminate prints. There is not a scrap of DNA to be found in the vehicle, save for the vehicle’s owners’. Chances are robots did the loading and gluing of the corpse.
- The Slabster was stolen from Sector 242 a week ago. It belonged to the Rutsey family of Heston Blumenthal block. The family has no previous history with Justice Department; Rory Rutsey is a munce-chef at a diner in the block; his wife, Rita, is unemployed. Two kids, both under six years old, in the block school. The car’s autodrive system has been reprogrammed from the ground-up with the co-ordinates, speed and trajectory for hitting the Sector House. This was a custom, professional job. Had the vehicle been pack with explosives, it could have caused a lot of damage.
- The stiff glued to the steering wheel is one Arlitch Ekhardt. Ekhardt is known to Justice Department: he was a Judge for 25 years, ten of which were with SJS. He took the Long Walk two years ago. Ekhardt was already dead when he was glued into the Slabster and an autopsy reveals that every bone in his body was broken over a prolonged period of time. In short, Ekhardt was
captured and tortured. It is impossible to tell the cause of death but as Ekhardt was a strong man, it took a great deal to kill him. Whoever did this had both privacy and time.
- There is nothing else in the vehicle linking it to Ekhardt. There is no message, no vid-slug, nothing.
This troubled them, a murder of a Judge is one thing but the murder of a Judge that had taken the long walk was something else. The day was shaping up to contain all kinds of mysteries. Noting it down they put it aside, whatever had happened they had this case in front of them now.
When Thane returned inside he found Striker talking to one of the Tek Judges, asking that if the vid processors on the serving droids had been deliberately destroyed perhaps they could recover pure audio recordings from them. The Tek Judge jumped on that idea and began working on it, telling them that if they found anything they would beam it to their LawMasters.
The two of them quickly convened and determined that their best course of action would be to split up and go check the residences of the mobsters and the civilian for clues and, possibly, a connection. They mounted up and drove off, Thane towards Gandolfini block and Striker towards Buzz Aldrin block.
As they drove the Tek Judge radio’d them, saying that he had recovered a partial audio file that they would want to hear, it was piped to their helmets.
Gravel-Voiced Man: ‘… I know you all got names. You had connections. I want to know who did
the ﬁngering. Was it The Raft? Was it Palazzo? Someone higher?’
Durante: ‘Spug-off man; why should we tell you nothin’? Who are you anyway, pokin’ your face in stuff that don’t got nothin’ to do with you?’
Knuckles: ‘Yeah, like, hit the pedway, man.’
Gravel-Voiced Man: ‘The name…’
DiBesti: ‘Was a long time ago. Take a hike. We don’t remember.’
Gravel Voiced Man: ‘Perhaps I can help your powers of recall.’
(A single gunshot. A woman’s scream. Sharp intakes of breath)
Durante: ‘Shit man… he was a civilian…’
Gravel Voiced Man: ‘Now he’s a valued contributor to the Resyk programme. Shall I include the girl?’
Gravel Voiced Man: ‘The name…’
Durante: ‘Okay… okay… you gonna bring the Judges down on us like a pile of ‘crete, man.
Listen, man who squealed… I can’t be sure. I heard it was Bennetti.’
Gravel Voiced Man: ‘The accountant?’
Gravel Voiced Man: ‘He still walking?’
DiBesti: ‘Sure, man. He’s retired now, got himself a luxi-pad in…’
Durante: ‘Shut the spug-up DiBesti!’
Gravel Voiced Man: ‘That’ll do…’
(Gunshots, very close together. End of audio.)
The audio file included a file from control on Bennetti.
Luigi Bennetti, age 61;
Retired, currently resides in Warren Buffet Luxury conapts.
Former partner in ABC Finance.
Known accountant for Max Contralto, head of the Contralto family.
Currently advises ABC and Max Contralto from time to time.
Thane and Striker immediately turned and headed for Warren Buffet Luxury conapts, sirens blaring.
Upon arriving they could see why these were called luxury conapts, they boasted their own security force, multiple levels of pools, gardens and other luxuries. They walked past it all though and headed straight for G444, the current residence of Luigi Benetti. As they passed through though Striker noticed that the attitudes of many of the denizens and employees changed, a security official immediately made a call and a pair of giggling, bikini clad women immediately went silent and turned quickly toward the pool area nearby.
Thane knocked on the door, identifying themselves as he did. The response was immediate and in the doorway stood an aged, stooped, genial looking man in a robe. “Hello Officers, how may I help you?” he asked them. They asked him if he was Luigi Benneti and when he confirmed that he was they informed him that there was a situation that they were investigating. Thane asked if there was somewhere more secure they could discuss matters while Striker took the opportunity to go through the domicile, checking for anything out of the ordinary.
They proceeded downstairs into Benneti’s office, Striker remaining upstairs to monitor the vids for anyone suspicious. Seating himself at his desk Benneti made himself comfortable, Thane stared down at him and removed his birdy from his belt (Birdy: a device used to detect if a person is lying) and placed it on the desk. Thane began questioning him concerning the men at the Konstant Cup, leaving out the parts of the recording with the shootings. Perplexed by this, Benneti pleaded ignorance to anything that he heard, he didn’t know these men and the birdy confirmed it. Thane played the recording again, this time in full. Benneti was shocked by this, his expression one of momentary fear, but his position did not change. Thane informed him that his life was indeed in danger, and that they would like to secure him in protective custody. At this suggestion Benneti’s expression relaxed and he refused protection, stating that his own security was well up to the task. Knowing he could not force him Thane, acquiesced but left Benetti a stern warning that should anything occur he should contact the Justice Department right away, also he would be ordering a surveillance team to stay outside the boundaries of Warren Buffet block in the meantime.
Returning upstairs Thane told Striker to call in a tap to control, just in case.
Before leaving they called into control, asking if anything further had been found on the woman who had escapes from the café, control responded once she had fled they had been able to catch her on the edge of one of the PSU’s camera’s and they were able to identify her as a Daphne DiLacey, a unit was sent to her house and work and she hasn’t been to either. Thane and Striker reviewed the footage that was available and saw the woman run into the alleyway near the café, Striker queried control if Tek division had checked the alleyway but they responded that Tek had returned to the sector house and had not. Striker swore.
As they raced back along the spedways to the Konstant Cup control broke in, notifying them that Benneti had just placed a call to Max Contralto that they may want to listen to. They listened to the call as Luigi Benneti spoke to Max Contralto in veiled phrases, talking about how their crops and investments were dying and that Luigi required protection on his investments. Max promised that he would take care of it and that something stunk and would get some air freshener on it immediately.
Outside the Konstant Cup they found the alleyway easily enough and proceeded in, Thane taking the lead with Striker following, his hand on his Lawgiver. They each searched the alley, checking the dumpsters as well. Thane discovered the girl in his dumpster, shivering, covered in blood and nearly catatonic. Thane addressed her but she responded only by looking at him wide eyed, he tried coaxing her out but she refused to budge, he called for a Med wagon and psych evaluation while Striker continued trying to coax her.
The Med wagon soon arrived and they took her out to treat her, the prognosis was severe shock. They returned to the Sector house for further treatment, promising to notify Thane and Striker if and when her condition changed. They both returned to the Sector House as well, to file their paperwork. The Tek division filed a report concerning the homes of the victims, the report showed nothing out of the ordinary at their homes, the only other thing found was a message on the Delancey’s vid recorder from a female voice that had been obviously modified. The message ran as follows:
‘You know we need to meet. I have what I promised you and more besides. If you want it, bring Knuckles and diBesti, just like we agreed. Konstant Cup, Hilton and LeGrange, 3.15am.’
They had traced the call to a public phone in a shopping mall in Sector 14. PSU records showed the public phone at the time of the call and video of the call showed a large man in a trenchcoat and a wide brimmed hat. No identification could be made and as soon as he left the phone he stepped between the PSU cameras.
Hours later Ms DiLacey was coherent and Thane and Striker proceeded down to medical to question her. They asked her if she could recall what happened and she told them that Her and Willy had met for synthi-caf and synthi-sweet donuts, they had just sat down when one of the large men in the booth began eyeing her and winking at her, she didn’t like it. At that point the man had walked in and and began talking with the men in the corner, a large man in a trenchcoat and wide brimmed hat with a red band on it. Suddenly his hand flashed out towards them and it was if a gun had just appeared. Willy tried to protect her, shoving her aside as the man fired, killing him. The man then turned and in quick succession fired and killed all three of the men. She was already running at this point, she hid in the dumpster and stayed there, crying. At this point in the conversation she began to cry, crying about the red brimmed hat until she became incoherent again. They let her sleep and then returned to their cubicles to review everything they had learned.
The end of their shift came shortly afterwards.