The iFactor Chapter 8

By R.W. Van Sant

Detective Zimmerman was studying the documents that flowed across her monitor. She looked up momentarily as the two men entered, and then went back to her analysis. “Took you two long enough.”

“Sorry, a situation arose requiring a minor security presence.” Officer Perry said.

Zimmerman looked up a concerned look on her face. “What happened?” Her eyes bore into Matt.

“Domestic disturbance,” Perry explained as Matt remained silent. The indictment in her tone and the suspicion in her eyes annoyed him. Her first assumption had been that Matt was responsible. So much for trust. “Dales saw an altercation begin and defused the situation before it could grow violent.”

“It was just a lovers spat, got a little too hot.” Matt returned her glare.

“Galahad here tried to convince the woman to file a restraining order, but you know some people won’t be helped.” Perry sat back in his seat. “We got our warrant!”

“Yeah, about twenty minutes ago.” She spun away from Matt and back to her own monitor. “Break over, let’s get to work.”

Matt sat and activated his monitor.

“Max, number 34129. Identity confirms identity as Toby Sawyer. Corporate affiliation-United Nations. Position data clerk. Perry, run the step three web.” She read the screen devoid of sentiment.

“Yes, Detective,” Perry said. “It’ll take a few hours.”

“Okay, for now, we gather intel. Recall the tracking data from earlier. Start from the rape and run backward. Speed factor four. This time keep locked onto 34129. Keep tight on him.” The main screen lit up, displaying the dots again. Matt followed the dots back to the table. “We’re looking for the moment that he drugged her.”

“It would have to have been at a point of close proximity several moments before she started to show signs.” Perry offered.

“The amount of drug in her system and her body weight would indicate that the drug was introduced into her system approximately ten minutes before the encounter. Time index minus ten minutes.” Zimmerman ordered. The dots flew around rapidly then continued at normal speed.

The rapist’s dot arrived at a table with two other dots. “Where is the victim? Can we get a split screen?” Matt asked.

“Sure thing, detective.” Officer Perry manipulated the system until two screens appeared side by side. “Keep the other on the victim.” His dot appeared. It was moving in erratic patterns in unison with another.

“She’s dancing,” Zimmerman said. “Perhaps there was an accomplice. Someone drugged her on the dance floor and leaves her to be picked up by Sawyer.”

“Can the net search tell us that?” Matt asked.

“Yes, the net will trace back his actions for a week logging everyone he encountered and then run a net on everyone they meet, out to three. That’s a lot of people. Unless they are very clever, then we should figure it out fairly quickly; if not, then it’s going to be some very long nights.”

“Well, how would they get that much Fantasia into her system without her knowing it?” Officer Perry said.

“You’re making an assumption,” Zimmerman said.

“Detective?” Perry asked.

“She may have taken it voluntarily.” Matt agreed. “I don’t think she would voluntarily take enough to induce memory loss.”

“Could have been accidental. Lady thought she was getting a trip to happy-land; instead, it’s a strong dose. Her mind goes compliant and forgetful.” Zimmerman said.

“And he goes to happy-land instead.” Under the glare of Detective Zimmerman, Officer Perry turned meekly back to his monitor.

“Can we get a visual?” Matt asked. “The only way we’re going tell when she is drugged is to see it.”

“Agreed,” Zimmerman said.

“You got it. On one or both.” Perry asked.

“Just the victim. If he had an accomplice, then whoever it is would still have to come into contact with the victim.” Matt speculated. The screen on the right-hand side, which contained the victim’s dot, split into a top and bottom image, the bottom pixelated and clarified into a video image of the victim dancing in the center of the dance floor. “Synchronize image and set the speed to a factor of four.” The scene would have been comical, except for the tragic results.

Lori Holtz left the dance floor and went back to her table. No one touched her anywhere except her hand. She was offered nothing, nor visibly ingested anything.

“How accurate is the introduction time?” Matt asked.

“There are always variables,” Zimmerman said. “But the formulas are usually pretty accurate.”

“Of course,” Matt said. “Dancing.”

“Huh?” Said Officer Perry.

“Her metabolism was sped up. That could cause the drug to work more quickly, right.”

“Yeah, it could. But not by much.” Zimmerman conceded.

“There we go.” Matt pointed to the screen. Sawyer’s dot moved toward the victim’s dot and into the field of vision of the camera. Matt could see Sawyer talking to the victim. “Synchronize all views to normal time. Can we get sound?”

“None that would be of any use. Sounds of music and crowds would override any conversation. This isn’t a covert surveillance system, Dales. There is still the right to privacy on this planet.” Zimmerman said.

“Well, it would have been useful to know what they were saying,” Matt said.

“That’s why they call this work.” She said. “Some things we just have to figure out ourselves.”

“He’s moving out of frame.” Officer Perry announced.

“Can we keep on him with the visual feed?” Matt asked.

“Yes, sir.” Officer Perry complied. The center bottom screen followed Sawyer to the bar. He ordered two drinks and moved his palm over the transaction pad. The bartender made two drinks and brought them to his customer.

“There it is!” Matt called out.

“I didn’t see,” Zimmerman said.

“The bartender, he made two identical drinks, but only stirred one with a spoon. Track on the glass he stirred.” Matt wasn’t surprised when the drink that was stirred was put before the victim, who drank eagerly after her exertion.

“Damn, good eye Dales.” Officer Perry said.

“Was that within the variability limit of the drug?” Matt asked.

“Just barely,” Zimmerman said. “Run a track on that transaction. I want verification.”

“Yes, detective.” Officer Perry pushed several buttons. “Whoa! That was an expensive drink.”

“Well,” Matt prodded.

“Two mixed drinks; five with a fifty tip.” Officer Perry said.

“Perry, focus web on the bartender.” Zimmerman smiled for the first time. “Good instincts, Dales.”

“It helps to be paranoid.” He smiled back.

“Save data and transmit to the judicial council for an arrest warrant on ‘Max.’” Zimmerman then added, “Coffee break.”

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