The i Factor Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Matt’s testimony had been authenticated and presented to the judicial council. According to the United Nations proclamations on the rights of extra-Terran inhabitants, this gave each person the right to face their accusers and have them cross-examined by their legal representatives. The assistant purser was taking full advantage of that right and called him in to try to refute his accounts.

The room contained only councilors, a prosecutor, witnesses, the defense attorney, and the defendant. Matt felt closed in, it made him nervous. He took a deep breath and forced himself to enter and take a seat next to Officer Kramer

“You really got promoted?” Kramer said under his breath.

“Yeah,” Matt replied. “I’m a detective.”

“I gotta be doing something wrong. It really is who you know, I guess.”

Matt stayed silent as the doors closed. The room grew smaller before his eyes; he could feel the oxygen being sucked in and out of the lungs of everyone in the small room. Even minor motions of the people in the seats around him took on sinister intent. He wanted out. Matt focused on his breathing. You can do this he repeated to himself. He forced himself to think about each person in the room until he was sure they were no threat.

The chief councilor called the proceedings to order. The first one to step forward was the department’s prosecutor. He stood forward and laid out the case against the defendant taking periodic breaks to show some pertinent piece of evidence on the large monitor.

To Matt, it seemed like a cut and dry case. They had the bastard dead to rights. The fact that the bursar was contesting the charges indicated his defense team’s intent to question the source of the evidence that was he was going to attack the investigation. Matt had expected this. The problem was — what could he say? He couldn’t tell the councilors that he had a premonition from a dream.

Kramer looked confident as he sat next to him. “No way this one’s gonna wiggle out. He should have pled out. He might have reduced his sentence a bit.”

“No,” Matt murmured. “He thinks he’s getting off.”

“No way, all the evidence is against him, hell even the analysis found his DNA on the bags.”

“Didn’t stop the criminals’ earthside. They’d always claim it was a setup.”

“That can’t happen here,” Kramer said. “The tracking system watches us all, cop and crook alike.”

“Yeah.” Matt wasn’t so sure about that. The longer he listened to the preliminaries, the more convinced of it he became.

“Detective Dales,” The chief council member called. “Please come before this council and give testimony.”

Matt stood and made his way to the testimony stand.

“The defense has made the charge that you have engaged illegally in the performance of your duties, specifically that you fabricated evidence in an attempt to frame the defendant.” The council member looked down dispassionately. “I must, therefore, ask you a few questions.”

“If I’d planted evidence the city tracking system would show it. It verifies my presence on the ship or docks before the search. Check the logs.” Matt said. “You’ll find I wasn’t there.”

“Your location during the time indicated has been noted. Now to our questions.”

“Yes, counselor.”

“First of all, explain what led you to the cargo bay to look for Fantasia.” The chief councilor ordered.

“I had a hunch that they would be there, Sir,” Matt replied.

“A hunch detective?” that was obviously not the answer that the councilor wanted. “Did you have an inside source who gave you this ‘hunch?’

“No, Sir.” Matt elaborated. “It was based on deductive reasoning, a technique we were trained in on Earth to facilitate an investigation.”

“Based on what?”

“Once the ship arrived word spread among the dock techs that there was a screamer aboard, I’m sorry your honor, and FTL exposure victim. As you are most likely aware, there were several screamers among my group of colonists. I try to make a habit of being near the docks when the ships arrive.”

“Continue.” The councilor coaxed.

“If there are screamers, then there is a good chance that the passenger may have been given a short dose of their hyper drugs, the concentrated form of Fantasia. Those drugs must be smuggled off ship somehow. The crew and passengers are customarily searched coming through customs. It was a logical deduction that the perpetrator would have to smuggle out with the cargo.”

“That seemed like a reasonable assumption.” The chief councilor said.

“And you contend you had no inside source.” The defense attorney pressed.

“Only the screamer,” Matt responded.

“How did you know which crate it was in?”

“I didn’t.” Matt continued. “I called in the department, and we searched through all the cargo.”

“But you directed the team to the exact location that the crate containing the contraband was found did you not.” One of the other councilors spoke out.

“No, ma’am. Several officers were on scene and were spread out along the conveyor line while the cargo was offloaded.” Matt offered.

“But in the end, it was you who found the contraband.” she continued.

“No ma’am, that honor belongs to chief Vanderhaar, although I was standing next to him, all I found were socks. He was the one who discovered the drugs.”

“Is it possible that a young officer, desperate to get back his former position might have planted the drugs detective?” The woman continued to press.

“With a tracking system in the city, not likely.”

“Yet it is strange that you were promoted directly after the encounter.” Her question drew protests from the prosecutors.

“Yes.”

“And you don’t find that suspicious?”

“You’d have to ask the chief,” Matt said. “I do, however; have training as a detective from Earth. I have skills, such as deductive reasoning that are not emphasized on Sirius. These are useful skills for a detective, so no, having demonstrated that I still possessed those skills, I am not surprised I was placed in a position where the colony can benefit from them.”

“I apologize.” the woman said coldly. “I must have misread the report.”

“Is there anything you’d like to add, Detective Dales?”

“No, sir.”

“Very well. You may retire. We’ll call you if we have any more questions.”

Technically, he hadn’t lied, but he felt guilty as he left the council room. His hands were shaking ever so slightly. He opened his mood pills and took one surreptitiously, then made his way to the lounge and waited. The chief was out after a short time.

“That was quick,” Matt commented.

“Didn’t have much to do, just verify the facts and your account. Don’t worry; he’s going down. Accusing you was just a desperate attempt to confuse the issue. Nevertheless, suspicions about your hunches gave them an opening. Let’s not do that again.” The chief didn’t bother to sit. “I’m headed back to the office. Don’t wait too long. You still have another case which demands immediate attention.”

“I’ll be along shortly.” The chief nodded, and Matt sat on the couch and breathed slowly until the medications took effect.

Chapter 14

Matt’s testimony had been authenticated and presented to the judicial council. According to the United Nations proclamations on the rights of extra-Terran inhabitants, this gave each person the right to face their accusers and have them cross-examined by their legal representatives. The assistant purser was taking full advantage of that right and called him in to try to refute his accounts.

The room contained only councilors, a prosecutor, witnesses, the defense attorney, and the defendant. Matt felt closed in, it made him nervous. He took a deep breath and forced himself to enter and take a seat next to Officer Kramer

“You really got promoted?” Kramer said under his breath.

“Yeah,” Matt replied. “I’m a detective.”

“I gotta be doing something wrong. It really is who you know, I guess.”

Matt stayed silent as the doors closed. The room grew smaller before his eyes; he could feel the oxygen being sucked in and out of the lungs of everyone in the small room. Even minor motions of the people in the seats around him took on sinister intent. He wanted out. Matt focused on his breathing. You can do this he repeated to himself. He forced himself to think about each person in the room until he was sure they were no threat.

The chief councilor called the proceedings to order. The first one to step forward was the department’s prosecutor. He stood forward and laid out the case against the defendant taking periodic breaks to show some pertinent piece of evidence on the large monitor.

To Matt, it seemed like a cut and dry case. They had the bastard dead to rights. The fact that the bursar was contesting the charges indicated his defense team’s intent to question the source of the evidence that was he was going to attack the investigation. Matt had expected this. The problem was — what could he say? He couldn’t tell the councilors that he had a premonition from a dream.

Kramer looked confident as he sat next to him. “No way this one’s gonna wiggle out. He should have pled out. He might have reduced his sentence a bit.”

“No,” Matt murmured. “He thinks he’s getting off.”

“No way, all the evidence is against him, hell even the analysis found his DNA on the bags.”

“Didn’t stop the criminals’ earthside. They’d always claim it was a setup.”

“That can’t happen here,” Kramer said. “The tracking system watches us all, cop and crook alike.”

“Yeah.” Matt wasn’t so sure about that. The longer he listened to the preliminaries, the more convinced of it he became.

“Detective Dales,” The chief council member called. “Please come before this council and give testimony.”

Matt stood and made his way to the testimony stand.

“The defense has made the charge that you have engaged illegally in the performance of your duties, specifically that you fabricated evidence in an attempt to frame the defendant.” The council member looked down dispassionately. “I must, therefore, ask you a few questions.”

“If I’d planted evidence the city tracking system would show it. It verifies my presence on the ship or docks before the search. Check the logs.” Matt said. “You’ll find I wasn’t there.”

“Your location during the time indicated has been noted. Now to our questions.”

“Yes, counselor.”

“First of all, explain what led you to the cargo bay to look for Fantasia.” The chief councilor ordered.

“I had a hunch that they would be there, Sir,” Matt replied.

“A hunch detective?” that was obviously not the answer that the councilor wanted. “Did you have an inside source who gave you this ‘hunch?’

“No, Sir.” Matt elaborated. “It was based on deductive reasoning, a technique we were trained in on Earth to facilitate an investigation.”

“Based on what?”

“Once the ship arrived word spread among the dock techs that there was a screamer aboard, I’m sorry your honor, and FTL exposure victim. As you are most likely aware, there were several screamers among my group of colonists. I try to make a habit of being near the docks when the ships arrive.”

“Continue.” The councilor coaxed.

“If there are screamers, then there is a good chance that the passenger may have been given a short dose of their hyper drugs, the concentrated form of Fantasia. Those drugs must be smuggled off ship somehow. The crew and passengers are customarily searched coming through customs. It was a logical deduction that the perpetrator would have to smuggle out with the cargo.”

“That seemed like a reasonable assumption.” The chief councilor said.

“And you contend you had no inside source.” The defense attorney pressed.

“Only the screamer,” Matt responded.

“How did you know which crate it was in?”

“I didn’t.” Matt continued. “I called in the department, and we searched through all the cargo.”

“But you directed the team to the exact location that the crate containing the contraband was found did you not.” One of the other councilors spoke out.

“No, ma’am. Several officers were on scene and were spread out along the conveyor line while the cargo was offloaded.” Matt offered.

“But in the end, it was you who found the contraband.” she continued.

“No ma’am, that honor belongs to chief Vanderhaar, although I was standing next to him, all I found were socks. He was the one who discovered the drugs.”

“Is it possible that a young officer, desperate to get back his former position might have planted the drugs detective?” The woman continued to press.

“With a tracking system in the city, not likely.”

“Yet it is strange that you were promoted directly after the encounter.” Her question drew protests from the prosecutors.

“Yes.”

“And you don’t find that suspicious?”

“You’d have to ask the chief,” Matt said. “I do, however; have training as a detective from Earth. I have skills, such as deductive reasoning that are not emphasized on Sirius. These are useful skills for a detective, so no, having demonstrated that I still possessed those skills, I am not surprised I was placed in a position where the colony can benefit from them.”

“I apologize.” the woman said coldly. “I must have misread the report.”

“Is there anything you’d like to add, Detective Dales?”

“No, sir.”

“Very well. You may retire. We’ll call you if we have any more questions.”

Technically, he hadn’t lied, but he felt guilty as he left the council room. His hands were shaking ever so slightly. He opened his mood pills and took one surreptitiously, then made his way to the lounge and waited. The chief was out after a short time.

“That was quick,” Matt commented.

“Didn’t have much to do, just verify the facts and your account. Don’t worry; he’s going down. Accusing you was just a desperate attempt to confuse the issue. Nevertheless, suspicions about your hunches gave them an opening. Let’s not do that again.” The chief didn’t bother to sit. “I’m headed back to the office. Don’t wait too long. You still have another case which demands immediate attention.”

“I’ll be along shortly.” The chief nodded, and Matt sat on the couch and breathed slowly until the medications took effect.


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