This is the final part in a multi-part story. The first part can be found here, the second part here, and the third part, here.
Resting the stylus on the desk, he allowed her to take the device. Once she had confirmed he had managed all of the right signatures in all of the right places, she placed it aside, to be filed away later. With it out of the way, she rested forward, her hands coming together, her head resting on them.
“Had some boys look over that video, and start looking through whatever databases we have access to,” she said after a short pause, still apparently hesitant about working with him. He held off a sigh, not wanting to go through that old runaround again.
“And what’d they come up with?” he asked, resting back in his chair.
She clicked at her keyboard for a moment, turning her monitor to face him. A picture, likely taken for an ID or something along those lines, of the woman in question was flickering onscreen alongside a cleaned up version of the zoomed in video.
“Girl’s only got basic information in our system. Name. Date of birth’s apparently pretty fuzzy, but we got a general age. No workplace on record, no family on record, no sort of government assisted income. So on.”
Elliot nodded slowly, frowning, “That’d explain why the hell she’s so thin.”
Nadine shuddered, “Don’t remind me.” Regaining her composure, she went on, “That said, does have a residence on record. Lives on one of the lower levels. Got a warrant to search her house.”
He nodded, leaning forward now, “Sounds like a good deal then. Can get right on it then.”
She held up a hand, “Yeah. And we’ll get right on it. But we can only bring her in for questioning at most.”
He frowned. There should be more than that. Some solid charges laid out. Something. “And why is it only questioning?” he had to bite his tongue to not add more to the question.
“’Cause the footage doesn’t show much.” She took a moment to pause, watching the look on his face drop. “Most we got out of it was business as usual, before the ship stops. There might be something in there of her getting up when it does, but it’s all distorted. Tampered with, because obviously it was tampered with. She never enters the front cabin that we can see. She hardly don’t have any more interactions with the deceased than anyone else did.”
Of course it had been tampered with. Even if it hadn’t been tampered with intentionally, it had spent the last day or two in a dumpster. Something was bound to be messed up with it. He let out a sigh, “So we bring her in and you try and break her.”
Nadine sighed as well, narrowing her eyes as she looked at him. He knew full well what the look meant. The last few times he had tried, she hadn’t let him go out with the ‘real’ officers, when they went to catch anybody. It didn’t help that he had never taken the time to really glance at the laws to see if it was even alright for her to do so anyway, which meant he never even had a defense for himself. When she finally spoke he let out a sigh of relief.
“This is the place,” Roger said, his voice low enough that Elliot hardly heard him.
The walk here had been quiet, though not the sort of quiet that he hated. Roger apparently didn’t have much to say, so he didn’t say anything. Simple. It wasn’t the sort of thing he’d seen before where there was much resentment, or if that was the case, Roger sure hadn’t shown it. A true professional in his field. That or waiting to let it loose later amongst his buddies. Either way didn’t bother him that much.
Elliot nodded, approaching the door his temporary partner had motioned to. The area wasn’t exactly in the shinier part of town, and the door looked the part. Rusted and potentially on its second or third different location. Roger came upon it from the right, looking for any sort of card reader that might show what sort of lock they were working with. Far as Elliot could tell, there wasn’t one. In fact, there didn’t appear to be any sort of lock on the door, period.
Elliot brought a hand against the door a few times, raising his voice, “Anybody home?” A distinct emptiness was all he got as a reply.
“Pull it open,” Roger muttered, pressing his shoulder against the right side of the door, blaster drawn. He certainly wasn’t messing around.
With a grunt, Elliot grabbed at the bar on the door, pulling it off to the side. At some point he had to assume it had been able to slide open of its own accord, but its prime had to have been years ago.
Once it had opened with a terrible grinding noise, Roger turned from his corner, blaster drawn. Slowly entering the darkened apartment, he allowed the blaster to shift to his left hand, right hand patting the right wall in a search for a light switch. Elliot heard the click, but hardly noticed the difference when the lights apparently came on.
The only reason he could tell they had come on at all was that he could barely notice everything the room now, as opposed to the entire place being dark as a cave. The buzz the lights emitted gave another clue, but for all he knew that was just the buzz from some swarm of insect that had nested inside.
“Anybody home?” Elliot called out, keeping in step behind Roger, who gave him a small nod of approval.
The officer let out a sigh, shaking his head. His hand lowered slightly, motioning off to the left half of the apartment. “Check off over there.” With that he moved off to the right side.
Elliot frowned slightly, noting more dusty doors off to the left, while Roger was wandering through what appeared to be a living area. The first door he found proved to conceal a bathroom when he had managed to pry it open. A quick glance in the sink told him it hadn’t been used within the last few hours, dry as it was. The nearby toothbrush meant it was getting use period, though.
Next door he found a bedroom, complete with a dresser and bed. Approaching it, he noticed a stuffed nerf, resting on top of the covers, looking fairly new.
“There a kid living here too?” Roger asked, having appeared in the doorway with little warning.
Elliot bit his tongue at his first thought, hoping he didn’t jump too much at the sudden noise. Turning around he nodded, “Looks like it.” Glancing over his shoulder he gave the bed another look, “Only one place to sleep though.”
Roger jerked his head back toward the main room, “Couch in front of the entertainment box. Probably sleeps there.” Elliot let out a snort. He hadn’t heard that one in a while. Roger frowned, heading towards a corner of the room. Elliot stood closer to the door, watching the main room in case anyone came in.
Blinking, Elliot turned, looking as Roger plucked up something from the ground, looking it over. Elliot paled as he noticed what it was. Holocron. Sith and Jedi stuff. The few times he had ran across them, it always ended with sabers drawn and at least one person missing a bit of their body. If they were lucky. He didn’t know who was living here, but he did know the types who held on to that kind of stuff, and it was generally crazies and cultists.
Roger smirked when he noted Elliot backing toward the door, shaking his head, “Least we aren’t leaving here empty handed. Got something to hand off to the evidence boys.”
Elliot could only stare as his temporary partner with something between contempt and terror. As he made for, Elliot was almost certain that he was running the risk of being struck by lightning, or catching on fire from nowhere. What actually happened wasn’t much better, when he thought back on it.
When he finally decided to fall into step behind Roger, it actually took him a few moments to realize that there apparently wasn’t a Roger to fall in step behind. Once that had registered, it took even more time to actually find where Roger had seemingly materialized, which happened to be a nearby wall.
Somehow he was still keeping a hold on the little cube, his knuckles going white from how hard he was grasping the thing. The officer let out a groan as he slowly pried himself from the wall, the floor being colored white with all the chunks of paint it was being covered in. Once he managed to get back on his feet, he began staggering towards the door, only to be tossed aside again.
Elliot continued to inch towards the door, eyes going as wide as they could manage. He winced as he watched Roger hit another wall, right size first, letting out a grunt of his own when he heard what he could only assume was the sound of the other man’s arm breaking. This time the holocron finally fell from his fingers, landing on the floor with a distinct clunk.
For a moment things were silent once more. Taking a breath, Elliot moved slowly forward into the room. In spite of every instinct to turn tail and run back down the hall and away from this hellhole, he didn’t feel like being the only one to do so. Once he was close enough, he stuck a foot out, nudging the unmoving Roger with the toe of his shoe, holding his breath.
Roger’s eyes burst open as he coughed, prompting Elliot to stumble back as though he just watched the dead rise. Pushing himself up with his good arm, the officer managed to find his feet, moving towards the door without any hesitation. Elliot followed behind him, pausing once he reached the door to look once more to the holocron.
The door clinked shut behind him once more, though this time he didn’t brother removing his face from his hands. The last hour or two had been spent rubbing his head to get whatever images that were likely to haunt him out of it, at least until he had some nightmare tonight.
“He gonna be okay?”
He heard Nadine sigh, allowing a space between his hands to see if she was nodding or not. She wasn’t. “Multiple broken bones, probably has some internal bleeding. A few ruptured organs, maybe. Didn’t really listen to all the medical jargon. Main problem they think he’s gonna have is something screwy with his head.”
Elliot covered his face once more, letting out a sigh, “Well that’s comforting.”
“Got some Jedi on it. Matter of waiting and seeing.” He just shook his head, not having much to add to the matter. She apparently took the hint, moving onto the next thing he could hardly focus on.
“Got an APB out on the girl. Probably get some higher up agency involved, might get her own wanted poster.”
“Probably gonna have to extend that to off-world. Probably left by now.”
“We’ve got that covered. We’ll find her, one way or another.” He just nodded. She stood. He could tell that based on her boots clicking as she walked across the floor. Her hand was on his shoulder. “You need anything?”
He finally looked up, pulling his hands away from his face. For some reason, he half expected her to ask him if he was okay. But he knew better than that, because that particular question had died a long time ago. Because she knew he wasn’t okay, and knew it wasn’t worth bothering him with asking about it.
Allowing one of his hands to rest on hers, he shook his head, “Nah. Just need to sleep, probably.”
It had somehow managed to escape him just how late it had gotten. When he had left the police station the light had recently left, but by the time he managed to reach his office, he was certain it would be returning soon enough.
The climb up the stairs was as long as it had ever been. A good five minute march past a number of offices he had never bothered counting, the majority of them dark, save for one or two he assumed were filled with people burning the late night oil to churn out one more report. When he managed to reach his office door, he had to slump against it to take a breath.
Flashing a card at the nearby scanner, the door slid open, allowing him to enter. He groggily squinted down at the floor when he heard an unfamiliar crunching noise instead of the usual carpet. In his blurry vision he managed to identify some sort of yellow rectangle that had apparently been shoved under the door.
Bending over he picked it up, impressing himself as he managed to stay on his feet. It took holding it in his hands to realize it was some sort of envelope, a short note having been taped to it. Tearing the note from the envelope, he tossed the yellow thing onto his desk, slowly wandering towards the back room and closer to sleep.
He could practically imagine some high lifer’s stuck up tone as he read the note, making sure to pay close attention to the curvy writing and personal stationary.
“Dear Mr. Martin,
It has come to our attention that you have recently proved useful in regards to a
most unusual case, regarding less than normal happenings. My employer is interested in speaking with you regarding a similar issue that has been plaguing their family as of late, and hope you may be able to bring the matter to a close.
Enclosed in this envelope are the details regarding a meeting place, as well as a few articles pertaining to the matter at hand. Among these, you will also find what we hope will be enough incentive to at the least lesson to our proposition.
We hope to see you soon,
His eyes narrowed as he let the letter fall from his hands. They continued narrowing as he let himself fall on top of his bed. By the time they had closed, he had already managed to find something resembling sleep, at the least content that he wasn’t going to be starving in the next few days.