Matt arrived at the station the next morning a little groggy from the sedatives. The coffee in his hand was strong and bitter but was slowly clearing his mind. Good, he’d need to keep his mind sharp for this morning’s session.
Rishards was waiting outside the interview room. “He’s in there and confused. Keeps asking about his daughter and demanding to speak to the captain.”
“What are you planning?”
“I want to see if I can push his buttons. Push him over the edge.” Matt took a deep drink. “Follow my lead, no matter how strange it gets. I’m about to lie to this man. If I’m right, we’ll find out how the killer got him to assist in the murder.”
“So now you think he was involved?” she said uneasily.
Matt nodded. “As you said, it would take two people to get the body up there, and the man in there is large enough.”
He took another sip and entered the room. Rishards entered behind him. They each sat without a word in the chairs opposite Kossman.
“Good morning Mr. Kossman,” Matt said after a few uncomfortable moments.
“You the captain? I want to know why I’m being held. When do we land?” Kossman’s face showed the pressure of trying to keep his voice calm.
“No, I’m not the captain,” Matt adopted his most stern facial aspect. “I am Detective Matt Dales of the Sirius colonial security force.”
“I don’t understand.” Kossman looked about; concern spread across his face.
“When did we leave the ship?”
“Many years ago.” Matt kept his voice officially harsh. “I’m afraid that you and your daughter had problems with your medications during the trip through super light space. In both of your cases, your minds were exposed to the sensory overload phenomena without proper medication. To save you, your memories of the event were removed. Unfortunately, the process has some side effects. You have, from that time, been unable to make new memories. I know it’s hard, but if you just accept this for the moment, we can get on with the charges against you.”
“Indeed.” Matt stared at him hard. “Murder is hardly nothing.”
“Who did I kill,” The man’s voice rose angrily. “I never hurt a soul in my life.”
“God, I hate working with burnouts!” Matt shifted his weight. “Just because you cannot remember it, doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Didn’t we just go over the fact that you cannot make memories?”
“Who did I kill, you tell me that.”
“His name was Tom Quigmire; he was the son of a SiCorp exec. The fact that he brutally raped your daughter will not mitigate the fact that you killed him.” Matt guided the truth to a path he thought would most outrage the man.
“He did what?” Kossman roared. “I’ll k… Is she alright?”
“She will be when the doctors repair her broken jaw.”
“The bastard broke her jaw?”
“No, I’m afraid her injuries were sustained when she attacked an officer of the law.” Matt felt himself slipping into Deja Vous.
“She’s a good girl; she wouldn’t hit a policeman.”
“I’m afraid when I informed her that the rape case fell apart because she was the only witness, and of course she had no memory of the event, and therefore couldn’t testify, well she got angry. I advised her to take it easy. I told her that she wouldn’t even remember the incident when her wounds healed. She became irrational and attacked me; I had no choice.”
“What? You mean you hit her.” Mr. Kossman rose to his feet.
“She left me no choice,” Matt said. “The cosmetic surgeons say they can repair most of the damage after she serves her sentence.”
“You bastard, I’ll kill you.” Kossman lunged at him. Rishards jumped in to restrain the man.
“Thank you, Mr. Kossman.” Matt’s tone changed as he stood to leave. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
He exited the chamber feeling lower than he had since he was told about Dallas. Rishards was behind him.
“What do you think that proved?” She asked. “That was reprehensible.”
“He won’t remember it tomorrow.” Matt mimicked her. “No harm, no foul.”
“Even so that was low, convincing him his daughter…” Rishards continued.
“Showed us that he could be driven to violence and what it would take,” Matt said. “We now know what strings someone had to pull to operate Pinocchio. We just need to find Gepetto.”
“So now you think he did kill that woman?” Rishards studied him, but he wasn’t ready to let her into his thoughts entirely.
“Now, I believe that it is a definite possibility. It would have to be someone who knew the guy and knew which buttons to push. Can we get a level three contact web on him? I want to know everyone he came into contact with, as far back as we can get it.”
“We already did one. We found nothing.” Rishards said.
“Let’s go over it again; maybe we might find a casual acquaintance or someone he commiserated with, in a bar.
She shrugged. “Let’s get back to the office; it’s all there.”
“Not yet, I want to check out the second murder site,” Matt said.
“You’re a morbid son of a bitch; you know that.” She responded.
“Been told,” He headed off, “Are you coming?”
“I’ve got it; you’re a technophobe. They have treatments, you know.” She followed.