Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks #20
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 27 15:43:50 PST 2006
Michael King, Mary Jones and Frank Lopez: crime scene
investigators. John Phelps, Mark Johnston and Tom
Jackson: police officers. Jack Greenspan and Edward
Bailey: medical examiners. Alan Russell and Cliff
Murdock: lawyers. These are the men and women who are
truly our last line of defense. But what about the
capes whose cases they have to investigate? Should
they be considered a help or a hindrance?
LEGION OF EXTREME FANS
"Boys and girls, we have a special treat for you
today. Detectives Mary Jones and Edward Bailey from
the Pepperton police department are going to talk to
you today about how they solve crimes!"
"Actually," Edward said with an awkward smile, "I'm
not really a detective."
"I'm more of a scientist," he explained. "I work in
the lab, examining evidence that the detectives
collect at the crime scenes."
"But that's a very important job," Mary assured
everyone in the class. "We can't examine all the
evidence at the scene."
"Why not?" one of the boys at the back of the class
"Because you can't carry a microscope with you to
the crime scene," Edward explained.
"Why not?" the boy insisted on asking again.
"It's too heavy," Edward said, "and besides we need
to examine evidence under controlled conditions so
that we can get reproducable results."
The silence that fell over the room told them that
Edward had lost everyone with that last comment.
"I need a volunteer," Mary said and many of the
girls raised their hands. Mary pointed to one of
them. "Yes, you. Stand up please. Come here and
touch this piece of paper."
"Like this?" thhe girl asked as she touched the
surface of the paper.
"Yes, exactly. Now, everybody, watch this." Mary
dipped a brush in ink powder and brushed it over the
spot the little girl had touched. She then blew away
the excess ink and held up the piece of paper for
everybody to see. "Now, this is a fingerprint," she
said. "No two human fingerprints are alike so we use
fingerprints to identify which people were at a crime
scene when the crime took place. It helps us to
narrow down our suspects, perhaps even clear some
people from being suspects. We can do the same thing
with hair and skin samples."
"And blood too," Edward said. He held up a vial of
clear liquid. "This is blood plasma," he said. Some
of the girls in the class curled thheir noses while
the boys in the class all agreed that carrying blood
plasma in their pocket would be cool. "I'm going to
poor this over another piece of paper. Now, you can
see that the paper is wet but it looks just like
water, right? Now, could somebody turn out the
Their teacher turned out the lights.
"Thanks." He put some safety glasses on and pulled
out an ultraviolet light. "I have too be careful not
to get this light in my eyes," he explained.
"Why not?" the same boy at the back of the class
"I could go blind. Do you want me to demonstrate on
you?" The kid didn't answer. Edward took that as a
cue to continue. He turned on the light and shone it
on the paper. The plasma stain appeared blue. "Even
a trace amount of hemooglobin will show up as bluee
under ultraviolet light." Several students muttered
about how cool this was. Edward turned off the light
and asked the teacher to turn the lights back on.
"Any questions?" Mary asked.
A girl in the front row put up her hand.
"Are you two married?"
"No," she said with a smile.
"But you're dating, right?"
"We could tell," her friend said and they started
"We're actually getting married in a few months,"
she told them.
The boy at the back of the class spoke up again.
"So... have you two, like, done it?"
Edward was starting to get pissed off. "I wasn't
kidding about making you go blind!" he said as he
pointed to he delinquant child.
Just then, mercifully, Mary's cell phone rang.
"Just a moment," she said as she took her cell phone
out of her pocket, opened it and put it next to her
ear. "Hello? I see. Okay. I'll be right there."
She closed her cell phone and spoke to the teacher.
"I'm sorry but we have to go. It's a but of an
The teacher nodded. "Of course. You two go on and
do what you have to do."
Edward packed up their equipment. "Thanks for
inviting us," he said to the teacher. He gave the imp
at the back of the class one final disapproving look
before they left.
"So what's the big emergency?" Edward asked once
they were in Mary's car.
"There's been a murder at the Extreme Fan Club
"Really? That's too bad." Edward thought for a
moment about what had just gone at back at the school.
"Look, I'm sorry I lost my temper."
"It's okay," Mary said in all honestly. "The boy
was baiting you after all." She concentrated on her
driving for a moment and the added, "You might have to
get used to that sort of thing though."
"How's that?" Edward asked.
"If we have kids I mean."
"You do want kids, don't you?"
Edward decided to avoid the question by asking a
question of his own. "When exactly were you thinking
of, you know, starting a family?"
Mary shrugged her shoulders ever so slightly. "I
don't know. I'm not getting any younger. The sooner
Edward's eyes narrowed. "You're still on the pill,
"Of course. But I thought I'd go off the pill once
we were married."
"What about your career?"
"The baby would come first but I can make a
contribution. It would just be a question of finding
a suitable nanny."
"I suppose so," Edward said. "Anyway, we're almost
there. We can talk about this later."
Mary and Edward got their equipment out of the car
and headed into the building.
"I'm Detective Mary Jones from the Pepperton police
and this is my assistant, Edward Bailey."
"Thank you were getting here so soon!"
"Your name is...?"
"You don't look like a Ramirez," Edward observed.
"My husband is Mexican."
"Could you show us where the body is?" Mary asked.
Diana brought them inside and showed them the body
of Carlos Faulkner. He had apparently been shot in
the head with a large caliber weapon and a large
portion of his brain was scattered across the floor
and wall. Edward started taking pictures as Mary
examined the scene.
"You wouldn't happen to have heard anything or seen
anything?" Mary asked.
"No," Diana said.
Mary spotted what looked like a bullet lying in a
pool of blood. She put on a pair of gloves, reached
down and picked up the bullet and then placed it in an
evidence bag. Just then, two more members of the
Extreme Fan Club entered the room.
"I'm going to have to ask that people stay back
while we examine the scene," Mary said.
Edward was satisfied with the pictures he had taken
so he decided to make himslef useful by talking to the
foursome of Extreme fans. "So how many people are in
this club?" he asked.
"Ten," the shortest of the three said. "There's me,
Diana and her husband, Carlos -the victim-, Bryce and
Andrew here, Alan, Terry, Charles and Ellie."
"You forgot Marvin and Vincent," Bryce pointed out.
"And Todd and Tori and Jeff and..."
"No, I didn't. They haven't been active members for
"They're still members."
"Yes but they haven't been around. They're not
"Actually, if you could give all their names and
addresses then that would be a great help," Edward
"Told you," Bryce said.
"Starting with yours."
"Okay. I'm Raymond Heck. And I live..."
"Wait! Why don't you just write all the addresses
out for me."
Raymond nodded. "No problem. In fact, I can print
out a club roster for you. It should have all the
information you want."
"That would be great."
Mary was just finishing up her preliminary
examination when Diana walked up to her.
"It's very unusual for Carlos to die like this," she
"How's that?" Mary asked.
"He usually comes right back."
"He comes back?"
"From the dead."
"He's died before."
Diana nodded. "He's somewhat accident prone. He's
fallen down the stairs, out of his window, suffered
burns and accidental stabbings -this was when he was
helping Charles in the kitchen- but he always healed
Mary smiled weakly. "You don't come back from a
shot to the head."
"If anybody could, Carlos could."
"We all have special powers," Diana told her.
"Yes," Diana said. "I can tell the future."
"Yes. For example, in 2008 there will be a
presidential election and George W. Bush won't be
running for a third term."
"He can't," Mary told her. "He's prevented from
running for a third term. It was a constitutional
amendment I believe."
"Oh," Diana said. "See? I was right."
Andrew sighed deeply. "That's nothing. Now me, I
can predict the future for real! I say the democrats
are going to win the next election!"
"The democratic party," Diana said.
"That's what I said."
"You don't know that they are going to win. You're
"That's what makes it a prediction," Andrew argued.
"Anybody can state the obvious..."
"But anybody can make guesses too!"
Just then, the rest of the team arrived: Officers
Tom Jackson and Mark Johnston along with two
"I'm done examining the body," Mary said to the
paramedics. "You can take him to the morgue."
"Sorry we got here so late," Tom said. "Traffic was
Mark sighed and shook his head at he
inappropriateness of his partner's comment.
"It's okay," Mary said, "but now that you're here
you're going to have to stick around for a while. We
seem to have a lot of potential suspects and I want to
get round to questioning them all."
10:13 am (the same day)
"Do you own a gun, Mr. Ramirez?" Mary asked.
"Actually I own several."
"You're quite the gun connaiseur I take it then."
"It's a hobby of mine."
"Any of those weapons were recently fired."
"All of them. I don't just collect guns. I like to
practice shooting them."
"Never. Always inanimate targets."
"And yet that is what guns are for, isn't it?"
He smiled. "Not to a true connaiseur like myself.
I appreciate guns for what they are and not just what
they can do."
"And if we find that one of your weapons was used to
kill Carlos Faulkner?"
"It wouldn't make me the killer," he told her. "We
don't lock our doors here. Anybody can walk in and
out of our quarters and take one of my guns and then
put it back later."
"Really?" Mary asked incredulously. "What kind of
security is that?"
"I didn't think we needed security. We're all
Mary shook her head. "Friends don't shoot friends
in the head.
"What were you doing when Carlos was shot?"
Alan sighed. "You're wasting your time."
"You should be talking to Bryce Banner."
Alan rolled his eyes. "He's the one with the bad
temper. He's very quickly irritated by others and
starts arguments for no apparent reason."
"The same could be said about you," Mary pointed
out. "You seem quite irritated yourself right now."
Alan shook his head and grimaced. He then threw up
his hands in frustrated. "Look, Bryce did it. That's
all there is to it."
"I have to say you're our prime suspect right now."
"Really? Why's that?"
"Somebody fingered you. Said you had a bad temper."
Bryce slammed his fist down on the table. "Who said
that? I want to know!"
"Mr. Banner, could you please calm down."
"You're going to tell me who said that!"
Bryce smiled. "Okay, look, you're just needling me,
right? Testing me. To see how I'd react."
"And what if I had been? How would you rate your
Bryce sighed. "Okay, I admit it. I've got a bad
temper. But I didn't kill Carlos!"
Terry Stern who was the last of the suspects at the
scene. "A you a member of the famous Stern family
here in Pepperton?" Mary asked.
Terry nodded proudly. "So I am. My mother pays for
"That's right. So I wouldn't have any reason to
"I'm not saying you did."
Terry smiled. "I'm just saying that this club is
like an investment to me."
"Really?" Mary asked. "You expect to make money off
of this club?"
Terry laughed. "No, of course not! I just mean
that all the time and money that I put into this club
I'm not going to blow it all away."
"By blowing Carlos away?"
Mary frowned. "You don't seem very upset, Mr.
Stern. One of your club members died today."
Terry got serious. "Oh but I am. I'm just not
showing my true feelings. I keep my true feelings
locked up inside. This is just the face I show to the
"It just does. You make it sound as though you have
something to hide."
"I can assure you I don't."
"Then why the false face? Why pretend that
Terry grimaced. "That's just the way we Sterns we
brought up. Business is like poker, Miss Jones.
Sometimes you don't want your conpetitors -or even
your clients and business partners- to know what
you've got up your sleeve."
"That's a mixed metaphor I hope."
"What do you mean?"
"If you're playing poker and you've got something up
your sleeve then it means you're cheating."
Terry laughed. "So it does. But that's not what I
meant at all."
"Or maybe it was what you meant," Mary pointed out.
"Sometimes we say things that we didn't mean to say
but they reveal more about our motives than what we
actually mean to say."
"You mean like a Freudian slip?"
Terry smiled once more. "I can promise you though
that I don't have anything up my sleeve today. I am
an honest man."
"Are you familiar with logic puzzles, Mr. Stern,"
"From college, yes."
"If you have two men, one who always tells the truth
and another who always tells lies and you ask them
both which one tells the truth and which one always
lies then how do you know which is which?"
Terry thought for a moment. "You can't."
"Because the one who always tells the truth will say
he tells the truth and the other one is a liar but the
other one will say the same thing but be lying."
"Exactly," Mary said. "So you see my problem, don't
you? I can't just accept that you're telling me the
truth just simply because you say you are."
Just then Edward knocked on the door and peeked in.
"Edward, I'm interviewing this suspect..."
"Mary, I got a call from Michael."
Mary sighed. "This had better be important."
"He says Carlos isn't dead."
1:10 pm (the same day)
Edward and Mary had wrapped up around noon, gone out
for lunch at a Chinese restaurant and compared notes
on the case. They then made their way to the morgue
where Carlos' body had been sent.
"What the hell is going on?" Mary asked when she saw
Detective Michael King.
"See for yourself," Michael said.
They went over to the table where Carlos's body had
been laid. Except Carlos wasn't lying there dead: he
was sitting up scratching at his head.
"Don't pick at that!" Doctor Jack Greenspan
"Or what?" Carlos asked. "It won't heal? It's
going to heal. It always does."
"This is impossible!" Mary said. "When I saw him he
had have his brain missing."
"That might explain why I don't remember what
happened," Carlos said.
"So you have no idea who shot you?" Michael asked.
"I'm afraid not."
Jack shone a light on Carlos's head to get a better
look. "Incredible! It's almost completely healed!
Even the skull grew back."
"It took longer than usual this time. Probably
because of the extent of my injuries."
"I've never seen anything like this!"
"Even if we find out who did this," Michael
wondered, "do we charge then with murder or attempted
murder? I mean, he _was_ dead, right? Does it matter
of he came back?"
Edward's was adding things up in his head and then
suddenly came to a relevation. "I know who did this."
"Don't keep us in suspense!" Mary said.
"I'm sorry, Mary, but that's exactly what I am going
to do!" Edward told her. "I want you all to be there
with me when I finger the killer."
"I don't know if at this point we can call the
killer a 'killer' if Carlos isn't actually dead
anymore," Michael pointed out.
"Believe me," Edward said, "he was dead. I took the
pictures myself. And that means somebody killed him
and that killer is the killer."
"Let's get back to the crime scene and get this over
with," Mary suggested.
Edward, Mary, Michael, Tom and Mark all assembled
back at the crime scene. The entire active roster of
the Extreme Fan Club, including Carlos himself who was
now up and walking, was there too.
"You know why I've called you all here today,"
Edward said. "We're here because one of you is a
"Um... but Carlos is alive," Diana pointed out.
"Well, obviously," Edward said, "but that doesn't
cahnge the fact that somebody killed him."
"This is completely confusing!" Ellie Spender, the
wife of Charles Spender, the club's resident chef
"I agree," her husband concurred.
"Could we just get on with this?" Bryce Banner
"Yes, let's," Adam Evers said. "Come on, detective,
just tell us Bryce did it and we can be done."
"So you're the one who fingered me!" Bryce shouted.
"And I'm right, aren't I?"
"You think you're some God damned expert or
"That's enough!" Officer Mark Johnston said.
"It wasn't either of you!" Edward said. "Nor was it
Diana or Charles or Ellie or Rob or Andrew or
"Well it wasn't me!" Carlos said. "I don't remember
what happened but I sure as hell didn't shoot myself
in the back of the head."
Diane's eyes widenned. "You think it's Terry then."
Edward nodded. "Yes. It was Terry Stern."
"But why would I kill Carlos?" Terry asked.
"Because you knew full well he wouldn't stay dead."
Terry sighed. "Assuming that's true, what would I
have to gain?"
"Publicity," Edward said. "Look, you told Mary that
this place was an investment for you."
"I meant figuratively."
"I think you meant literally. It's one thing to be
running an Extreme fan club but what if you could
convince the world that your Legion of Extreme Fans
was a superteam in and of itself. That could mean
endorsements, book rights, maybe even movie deals."
"That's just speculation!"
"No, that's motive!"
"You've got nothing on me!" Terry insisted.
"Is that true?" Michael asked.
"Actually, no. Terry's clothes also came back
positive for gun shot residue."
"That's not possible!" Terry insisted. "I wasn't
even wearing this suit when I... I mean..."
"When you shot Carlos?"
"But that means...?"
Edward smiled. "I lied. Nobody tested positive for
gunshot residue. But all of us saw how you reacted
Terry sighed. "And I'm supposed to be the one good
at hiding my emotions! How ironic!"
Andrew Best snorted. "I could have figured it out
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