Acros sleeps restlessly on the ground in the parking garage, still unable to adjust to sleeping on the ground of the parking garage. He now lives there, to escape the possibility of being captured due to his actions at the power station. It won't be long until they decide to search the outskirts of town.
Mike sits at his computer in the back room of the parking garage, continuing to poke around at the data he extracted from the days prior. He's made almost no progress in the past half year, but trying to look productive. Aria walks in with a small box.
Hi Aria. What's up?
I got this for you.
Aria hands Mike the box.
What's this for?
Your birthday. I was supposed to give it to you a while ago but my dealer made a big fuss about it. Just open it already.
Mike opened the cardboard box, inside of it another box. A metal box.
There's a keyhole.
She tosses the key to Mike. He catches it with one hand, and unlocks the box. Surprisingly, there is not a third box, but rather...
Oh my stars. Is that?
I know right? I was even amazed someone even got their hands on a working one.
In the box was a Class A Pulse Pistol, highly classified technology, only usable by soldiers. A small amount of them escaped the hands of the government. While they were able to remotely disable most of the guns, some like the one Aria acquired were not disabled.
Wh- where here did you get it?
Idiot, Where's the only place to get illegal items?
The Black Market...?
The Black Market.
H- how much did it cost you. Must of been a arm and a liver.
A couple hundred thousand credits. Dealer was a complete asshole. We agreed on fifty thousand, but he changed it at the last minute. Either I pay or I get killed.
Enough Questions. I thought it might be a fun trophy to hold onto, OR a potential use in the future, since you know the government kind of wants you dead.
Thank you, Aria.
Did you even tell the others that your birthday was last week?
You gotta tell them.
Why the hell not?
You know how awkward it would be, telling someone it's your birthday, practically a week after it happened?
Fine. I'll tell!
Nononononononononononononono. I forbid you to do it. Those newbies barely trust us. If they think we're hiding something, they'll be out in a second.
You think they'll leave us over a fucking birthday. C'mon.
Aria starts to walk out of the room.
Thanks again, Ari.
Is that my new name now?
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't—
I only let Harmony do that.
I just thought it's a little easier than saying "Are, ee, ah." Shorter, you know?
You don't have enough of my respect to call me that. Do the long version.
Aria walks out and closes the door. Mike continues to inspect the gun.
Does she even respect anyone?
Hey gang. So our Mikey has been keeping a little secret from us.
Well, a special day has passed... and... last week... and...
It was his birthday.
Not sure. Last week? Probably June 23. Actually... yeah. June 23rd.
Damn. We should probably do something for him.
What was in the box you gave him?
Legally, I cannot confirm if it is a Class A gun because of liability and all the legal bullshit, but it might be. But if anyone asks, it definitely is not a Class A pistol.
Damn. Where'd you—
Dan catches himself.
Y'all wanna do a surprise party or what?
Later that night, Mike continues to play with and spin the pistol on his index finger. Almost flinging it across the room a couple times. Aria sits beside him.
By the way, what's the penalty for having one of these Class As?
You know, the usual.
Death. Instant. Done. No questions asked.
As I thought. Aria, I'm bored, what do I do.
She stares at Mike with a face that says "really? do you not know?"
Why don't you go open your box for once, and DO SOMETHING. Pick out something to go through. You've been doing almost nothing for the past week!
Oh... uh... alright.
Mike reached under his desk and pulls out a large plastic tote. It's filled to the brim with folders. Inside the folders include printed news articles about incidents and killings. The collection started after his father died.
Pick something recent out. I don't want to listen to some old 468 murder.
May 31st, a father and a son kid murdered outside of SuperMart.
He spreads out some images, and pulls up the news feed on his computer from the day after.
Two men found dead outside of SuperMart, identified to be Herbert and Lewis Stanton. Officials are still investigating the details of the scene. Signs point to some sort of poisoning, as the store owner said their cameras saw and picked up nobody else. More details soon to come.
Gotta be the cleanest murder I've ever seen.
Who said it was a murder? There's no blood on the ground. They were defiantly kidnapped, murdered, and returned.
They must of hacked the cameras right?
Right. See how they lay on the ground like that. They were either placed like that, or were contorting during death.
But they just fall over. They must of had some top tier video editing, since splicing wouldn't explain how they just walk out and fall over.
They must of hacked the cameras, edited the video, and replaced the video on the store's servers, within the average response time of three two and a half for paramedics to arrive, and in time for them to actually kill them.
What's goin' on in here.
Hey Acro, we're just doing some detective work just for fun.
for fun? I thought you're supposed to be finding actual evidence- but still, What you investigating?
Some father and son just suddenly falling over dead in front of SuperMart, May 31st.
Ah that's a little suspicious. Where you at?
It was defiantly planned, and if it was executed the way I think, it must of been a team working together. See? They fall over, but there's no blood from, say a gun shot, and the way their bodies land seem a bit suspicious.
Can you hack something around SuperMart, preferably something with audio enabled cameras. Like the J. They have like four cameras on each corner.
We tried that before. That security system is stupid hard to crack for a simple place like that. The power station was so easy to hack since they haven't updated their system in the last fifteen years, missed a big security fix. Nowadays everyone updates within days of a fix being published.
What about street cams? They're public domain right?
Yeah, that's where stopped investigating this case a week ago. It just doesn't make sense.
So? Did they help?
No not at all. Stupid things blacked out that night. Probably due to the thunderstorm that night.
Have you tried actually going down there?
Sit your ass down. I'm going. You're the most wanted man in South Newgle. And one of the most wanted in the world right now.
What's your plan?
Not sure. I'm gonna need you to monitor the street cams. I'm on frequency one. I need you to notify me if you see anyone coming or see anything. The cameras have a 15 second delay.
Also monitor my iris cams. I might need another set of eyes. That has no delay.
Alright uh. You might not wanna take the van, they might be tracking it.
Good point. I'll park it outside the camera zone, and walk.
Mike gets up from his chair, heading to leave. Acros takes his spot.
Good luck Mikey.
Don't call me Mikey.
He walks out the door, and into the van and leaves.
Where did he get iris cams from?
I've learned not to ask. Little dipshit has his secrets.
Hey Acros, want to mute Aria, I think she has an open mic. I think she's getting a little sassy.
Sure thing... Mikey.
Mike finally was at the place where the murder took place, almost a month late. There wasn't anything to find, besides a slight crack in the concrete near the store entrance. Such a crack could've been made from a heavy object hitting it. The Reformers didn't know what to make of it, as it shouldn't have happened from a murder, unless some special method of killing was used, and potentially failed the first time. What they didn't know was this same crack had been outside SuperMart shortly after the store was built, accidentally broken. No one bothered fixing it since. A good detective can find red herrings and tell them apart from real clues; The Reformers were certainly not that.