Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks Trade Paperback #5 (Collecting #'s 18-21)
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 29 18:09:39 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?
December 23rd, 12:01 pm
"Here's the cake!" Jack Greenspan announced.
"Finally!" Mary Jones said. "I'm really hungry!"
Jack took out a scalpel and started cutting the
"Hold on," Edward Bailey said. "Is that the same
knife you use to do autopsies?"
Jack frowned. "It's one of them. Why?"
Edward turned green. "That's really gross."
"It's a sterile instrument!" Jack insisted.
"Michael, I'm sorry," John Phelps said, "but there's
been a stabbing and they need a CSI on the scene."
Detective Michael King nodded. "I understand."
"We'll save same cake for you," John promised.
"Thanks," he said with a smile and then looked
around for Frank Lopez. "Frank!"
"Come with me on this case. I need somebody to take
"What's the situation?" Michael asked.
"The victim is right over there," Officer Mark
Johnston said. "He's been stabbed."
There was a dead body covered with blood. Standing
next to Officer Tom Jackson was another man who was
also covered with blood.
"Who's he?" Michael asked.
"He's the guy who did it," Tom told him.
"Are you sure?" Michael asked.
The accused nodded.
"Wait," Michael said quickly. "What's your name?"
"Fred, why did you nod just now."
"Because the officer is right. I did it."
"Oh thank God," Mark Johnston said. "We can go now.
Maybe there's still some cake back at the precinct."
"Not so fast," Michael said.
"Michaels here just confessed," Tom pointed out.
"That's right," Michael said, "but since when does
the guilty party confess. Usually when somebody
confesses it means he's covering up for somebody
"But I really did do it," Fred insisted.
Michael ignored him. "Did you read this man his
rights?" he asked Mark.
"Soon as we got on the scene."
"Did he understand his rights?"
"He didn't start blabbering until you got here on
the scene," Tom said.
"But your boss asked me a question," Fred said.
"You had the right to remain silent," Michael told
Fred looked confused. "But then you wouldn't know
Michael smiled. "Trust me. I'm going to figure it
out." He turned to Mark. "What did you see when you
arrived at the scene?"
"When we got here, the victim was already dead and
the accused here," Mark said pointing to Fred, "was
standing over him holding this knife." He showed
Michael a plastic bag with a bloody knife in it.
Michael nodded and looked at Fred. "It looks bad
"But I've been trained to not just accept what seems
obvious right away. I've been trained to uncover the
"But I really did do it."
Michael sighed. "Alright. Show me where you were
standing when you stabbed the victim."
Fred looked at Tom who then turned to look at
"It's okay, Tom. He's not going anywhere."
Fred walked over to where the body was. "I stood
right here he said."
"How were you holding the knife?"
"Like this," Fred said as he mimed the attack.
Michael walked over. The angle of Fred's thrust was
consistent with the wound to the victim's stomach.
Michael then examined Fred's clothes.
"Hmm. It looks like arterial spray."
"Blood. All over your stomach. But not over your
"Right," Fred said. "But look at my arm."
"Okay," Michael said.
"You did it."
"Finally!" Mark said. "Can we go now?"
"Wait!" Michael said. "We haven't established
"I just didn't like the guy," Fred said.
"That's good enough for me," Tom said.
"Are you trying to poison me, Thelma?"
Thelma Ladd closed her eyes, took a deep breath and
asked, "It's there something wrong, Larry?"
"Something wrong?" Larry asked. "When is there ever
something right? In the fifteen years we've been
married have you ever cooked a decent meal?"
"I thought that was you favourite."
"It is when it's done right."
Thelma sighed. "I'll get you something else then,"
she said, taking his plate.
"What are you going?" Larry asked. "I'm not
finished eating that!"
Just then, there was an explosion outside on one of
the fields of the farm on which they lived.
"What the hell was that?" Larry asked.
"Why don't you go take a look?" Thelma asked.
Larry sighed. "Always me. Larry, take out the
garbage. Larry, go check on the explosion outside.
Why don't you ever get off your fat ass and do
"Alright," she said, reaching for the rifle.
"Hey, don't touch that," Larry said. "That's _my_
Larry made his way outside and walked over to the
field where the explosion came from. There he found
neither a cratar nor a fire nor smoke nor any
indication that there had been an explosion at all.
All he found was a man wearing black spandex.
"Who are you?" he asked. He then raised his gun and
pointed it at the intruder. "And what are you doing
on my property?"
"I am Zon... from Neon," Zon said.
Larry assumed a sarcastic expression. Apparently he
hadn't heard of Zon from the last time he came to
Earth. "Nanu nanu?" he asked.
Zon used his eyebeams and vaporized Larry Ladd on
December 24th, 10:54 am
FBI Special Agents Lana Lewis and Oscar Unger were
sent to the Ladd farm to investigate Larry Ladd's
"Please tell us what happened, Mrs. Ladd" Agent
Thelma Ladd nodded. "We were having dinner when we
heard the explosion outside. Larry went outside to
see what happened."
"We saw no evidence of an explosion," Agent Lewis
"Alright then, we heard a big bang, whatever it was.
Larry went outside to see what it was."
"What was it then?" Agent Unger asked.
"Like I said, it sounded like an explosion."
"Go on," Agent Lewis said.
"So there was this man dressed in black spandex and
he was talking to Larry."
"What did he say?" Agent Unger asked.
"I don't know. I couldn't hear them. Then these
beams came out of the man's eyes and Larry
"Disappeared?" Agent Unger asked.
"Then he flew away."
"You don't believe me?"
Agent Unger bit his lip. "Mrs. Ladd, this is what I
think happened: your husband left you."
"And you called the FBI because you want us to go
look for him and bring him back."
"That's not true!"
"But you see, Mrs. Ladd, you're actually a lot
better off without him. I mean, really, Mrs. Ladd,
look at this place! Was your husband really a good
provider? Now, look at you!"
"Oscar..." Agent Lewis started.
"You're still young... ish. I'm sure there are
plenty of guys who would..."
"Oscar, please! Can we talk outside?"
Agent Unger sighed. "Excuse me."
Agents Lewis and Unger went outside.
"What is it, Lana?" Agent Unger asked.
"It sounds like Zon."
"What sounds like Zon?"
"Her mystery man. Remember? He tried to take over
the world a month ago."
"Yeah," Agent Unger said, "and Extreme defeated him.
Sent hi to the Twilight Zone."
"Dimension. Twilight Dimension."
"Whatever. He's gone. All that means is that Mrs.
Ladd saw Zon on TV and that's where she got her idea
for a flying man in black spandex who shoots eye
Just then Agent Lewis' cell phone rang. "Wait."
"Agent Lewis, did you have your cell phone on during
an interview? You know that..."
"Yes. Okay. I see."
"Okay, what's going on?"
Agent Lewis smirked. "It's Zon. He's back."
"I'm Janie Leland, reporter for WXPT News here in
Zon sighed. "Tell me, Miss Leland, why I shouldn't
kill you now for approaching me without permission."
Zon shook his head. "Kneel before Zon."
Janie took a quick look at Zon's crotch, the
contours of which were clearly visable thanks to his
tight spandex costume. "That's... very tempting...
but we're on TV." She pointed her microphone at the
"Oh I see," Zon said as he looked into the camera.
"People of Pepperton, I mean you no harm... as long as
you do as I say. Bring me Extreme!"
>>Extreme, you must kneel before Zod!<<
Kenneth Clark had been watching the TV in the Daily
World news room. He then turned to his colleague
Wendy Wang. "Cover for me."
"What do you want me to say?"
"Tell them I had some of the pasta salad and I
needed to go to the bathroom to throw up."
She nodded. "They'll believe that."
"Is there no one here who will face me?" Zon asked.
"I will, Zon!" Extreme said.
"Ah, good, you're here."
"You caught me by surprise before," Extreme said,
"but I'm ready for you now."
"Are you?" Zon asked. "Are you really ready for...
all of me?"
Just then, from out of all the buildings around them
flew countless clones of Zon.
"The people of this planet are not the only one's
who know how to make clones! I commissioned all my
conquered worlds to produce clones of me so I could
bring an army to defeat you!"
Extreme instinctively spun around and created a
vortex. The strong winds knocked the Zon clones back
the way they came.
Zon grimaced. "More."
More Zon clones flew down from the sky and landed on
Extreme. Emboldened by their brothers' apparent
success, the Zon clones who had literally been blowed
away also piled on top of Extreme.
"Finish him!" Zon screamed.
But Extreme simply stood up and the various Zon
clones that were on top of him were thrown aside.
Extreme then grabbed one of the Zon clones and spun
him around and used him as a weapon to knock down the
other Zon clones like they were bowling pins.
"You can't win!" Zon said.
"You're right," Extreme said as he threw the Zon
clone he was spinning at Zon himself. Extreme then
flew away before Zon could regain his bearings.
"You're a coward, Extreme! The son of Myk-El is a
"Did you see the news at noon?" Cliff Murdock asked.
District Attorney Alan Russell shook his head. "No,
"Extreme just got his ass handed to him by Zon."
Alan sighed. "That's the problem with relying on
capes," he said. "You're perfectly safe until someone
stronger comes along."
"Ah, Extreme," Zon said, "I see you're back for
"I am," Extreme said. "And I'm not alone." Behind
Extreme were his clones Eliminator, Reject, Bizarre
Extreme and Extreme Junior.
Zon looked at Reject and grimaced. "The people of
this planet have a long way to go before they perfect
their cloning technology."
"They'll do," Extreme said.
So the battle continued with five Extremes facing
"We will destroy you all!" Zon promised.
"Need help?" somebody said. It was The Super
Soldier. He had Amazing Woman, Mr. G, the Human
Spider and Weapon Alpha with him.
Extreme nodded. "Stay away from Zon himself," he
warned them. "He's too powerful. The clones would
pretty much be push overs if not for the sheer number
"Thanks for the tip," Super Soldier said as he
barrelled into a bunch of Zon clones. He found that
the Zon clones were indeed weak enough to be hurt by a
human being, or at least a human being at peak
physical condition. Amazing Woman followed suit while
Mr. G tried taking them on one by one. The Human
Spider, meanwhile, encased dozens of them in his
webbing while Weapon Alpha popped his claws and
started rending limps from any and all Zon clones not
quick enough to not be able to get away in time.
"You still have to face me!" Zon said.
"And face you I shall," Extreme said, "but not
Just then, Zon found himself unable to move. "What
have you done?"
"It's not me," Extreme told him. It was Scott Grey
who was using his power, from a safe distance away, to
slow down time to render Zon helpless.
"NO!" Zon screamed.
"YES!" Extreme said with satisfaction. Extreme
pummelled the helpless Zon with enough punches of such
force as to render him too weak to move, assuming he
had been free to move.
"That's it," Extreme said. "That's all of them."
"Are you sure?" the Super Soldier asked.
Extreme nodded. "Near as I can tell, they were all
programmed to attack me and/or defend themselves. If
they've stopped coming after me then we can assume
they're all finished."
"So what do we do with them?"
Extreme grimaced. "It would be nice if we could
send them all to the Twilight Dimension."
Weapon Alpha's claws were still extended. "The
other option would be to chop them all into little
The Super Soldier shook his head. "We can try
imprisoning them in fallout shelters. They'd be able
to escape from most prisons by just busting through
"We'd still need to use extra care with Zon himself.
He's a lot stronger than any of his clones."
The Super Soldier nodded. "Maybe for once the local
authorities will extend us a bit of leeway and allow
us to deal with something our own way."
"It's almost Christmas," Mary said. She and Edward
were at her apartment watching _It's a Wonderful Life_
Edward nodded. "Were you hoping for anything
special?" he asked.
Mary smiled at gave Edward a hug. "I have all I
ever wanted right here."
I'LL NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU DID LAST WINTER
Katherine Phelps knew her friend was upset. She
could sense her friend's dark mood. She didn't look
particularly happy either.
"Nicole? What's wrong?"
Katherine could tell her friend was lying. She dug
deeper, reaching out with her mind, reaching into her
friend's mind. She retrieved some images. A car.
Some friends. An accident.
"It wasn't your fault," Katherine said.
Somebody was hurt.
"The accident. It wasn't your fault."
"What are you talking about?"
"You weren't driving. It was dark. There was ice
on the road."
Nicole got angry. "Who told you?"
Nicole raised her voice. "Who told you?"
"Nobody," Katherine said honestly. "I was shitting
you. So there really was an accident?"
Nicole eyed Katherine suspiciously. "Are you the
one who sent me the threats?"
"I've been getting these threats. 'I'll never
forget what you did last winter.' I've been getting
e-mail, type-written notes, it was even painted one
time on my house in red."
"Oh how awful." Katherine continued to recieve
images. There was a body. "Was... was anybody hurt?"
"In the accident."
Nicole didn't answer.
"We made a promise not to tell anybody."
"About the body."
Katherine saw a body being carried away from the
road. "Nicole, what did you do with the body?"
Nicole's eyes started to well up with tears. "We
threw the body in the river."
Katherine bit her lip. "Nicole, I'm so sorry."
Tears started to run down Nicole's face. She wiped
them away with her hand. She looked around, hoping
nobody had noticed.
"Look, we have to go to class," Katherine said.
"I'll meet you after school. Okay?"
Katherine looked for Nicole but she was nowhere to
be found. Finally, Katherine heard one of her school
"She's dead! Oh my God! She's dead!"
"Who's dead?" Katherine asked.
"In the bathroom!"
"Multiple stab wounds," Detective Michael King said.
"The blood trail leads to one of the stalls. Most
likely the murder weapon was flushed down the toilet."
Detective John Phelps nodded. "I'll send a couple
of officers to search the sewers."
Michael shrugged his shoulders. "First we have to
contact the city water commission and ask them where
these pipes go."
John turned to see his daughter standing next to the
body. "Katherine, this is a crime scene."
"Dad, Nicole was receiving threats."
Michael looked up. "From whom?"
"I don't know."
John sighed. "You'll have to tell us what you do
John and Michael listened to Katherine's story about
how she was able to obtain images from her friend's
"Did you recognize any of the other people in the
"No," she admitted.
"Are you sure this actually happened?" her father
asked. "It wasn't somethinmg she dreamt or
"No," Katherine said. "She said it happened last
winter. She said they disposed of the body in the
Michael's eyes narrowed. "We'll have to go speak to
her parents. Maybe they can tell us if Nicole went on
a road trip with friends last winter."
John nodded. "Alright. Katherine, you go straight
home. Your mother must be worried sick."
Katherine rolled her eyes. "Yes, dad."
4:21 pm (same day)
"Mr. and Mrs. Moore?"
"We're Detectives John Phelps and Michael KIng from
the Pepperton Police."
"Oh my God," Nicole's mother said. "It's about
Nicole, isn't it?"
"I'm afraid so," John said.
"What's she done?" her father asked.
"She's dead," Michael said and then immediately
regretted the way he said it. Mind you, there's no
good way to tell a couple that their teenaged daughter
"Oh my God, no!" Mrs. Moore cried.
"How?" Mr. Moore managed to ask.
"She was murdered," Michael said. "Stabbed in the
girl's bathroom at school."
"Who did this?" Mr. Moore demanded to know.
"We're working on it," Michael assured him.
"One of Nicole's classmates mentioned a road trip
that Nicole went on last winter," John told them. "Do
you remember anything about that?"
Mr. Moore nodded. "Yeah. Last New Year's. Justin
Federline was driving."
"Would you happen to know his address?" Michael
"I think... I think I have his parent's phone
number," Mrs. Moore said.
"Do you think Justin...?"
Michael interrupted Mr. Moore's question. "It's the
only lead we have."
"I'll go get the number," Mrs. Moore said.
"We appreciate your help, ma'am," John said.
"Are you Justin Federline?"
"We're Detectives John Phelps and Michael King from
the Pepperton Police."
"We're here to talk to you about the murder of
Nicole Moore," Michael said.
"Stabbed. In the girl's bathroom."
"What? You think I did it?"
"What makes you think you're here to accuse you of
killing her?" John asked.
"Okay," Justin said. "So why are you here?"
"Last New Years, you and Nicole were in a car
together," Michael said. "You were on a road trip.
Is that right?"
"Yeah. We were going upstate. Why?"
"You hit a pedestrian. You killed him. Then you
threw the body in the lake."
"Nicole was getting threats from somebody telling
her that they would 'never forget what she did last
winter'. We think somebody found out about what
happened and killed her."
Justin shook his head. "We didn't tell anybody
about what happened last winter. We made a pact."
"So it's true then," Michael said. "You did kill
somebody with your car."
Justin didn't answer.
"You know, you yourself could be found to have
motive to kill Nicole," John said. "If you thought
she was going to say something I mean."
"Hey! Wait!" Justin said. "There were two other
people in that car!"
"Who?" Michael asked.
"Britney Hilton and Christian Lohan."
"Do you know where they live?" John asked.
"I know where Britney lives but I'm not sure about
where Christian lives."
"What's her address?" John asked as he took out a
pen and notepad.
"I don't know."
"You just said you did," Michael pointed out.
"I know how to get to her place, not what the
"You'd better come with us then," John said.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hilton?"
"We're Detectives John Phelps and Michael King from
the Pepperton Police. We're investigating the murder
of Nicole Moore."
"How can we help you?" Mr. Hilton asked.
"We actually would like to speak to your daughter
Britney," Michael said.
"She's not in right now," Mr. Hilton told them.
"She's on a date with her boyfriend," Mrs. Hilton
"Would that be Christopher Lohan?" John asked her.
"Yes. That's him."
"We need to speak to him too."
"Any idea where they went on their date?" Michael
Mrs. Hilton shrugged her shoulders. "Dinner. A
"Which restaurant? What theatre?"
"I don't know," she admitted.
John bit his lip. "Do you even know what movie they
were planning to see?"
"I'm afraid not," she said.
"God... this is boring!" Christopher complained.
"Shh!" Britney told him.
"I hate chick flicks!"
Britney rolled her eyes. "So what would you rather
see? An action movie? A horror movie?"
Britney sighed. "People getting shot and stabbed."
"Well, sure!" Chris said. "It's educational!"
"How do you figure that?"
"It's not like people don't sometimes get attacked
in real life. It's good to be prepared."
"Yep." Chris shifted in his seat. "Damn. That
cola's passed right through me. I need to go to the
Britney shook her head. "Right. You say the
movie's boring and now you want to leave."
Chris was shocked by the implied accusation. "I
really do need to go to the bathroom." He gave her a
peck on the cheek. "I'll be right back."
Detectives John Phelps and Michael King stood over
Chris' body which was spralled across the floor in the
"We were too late," John said.
Michael noticed the blood trail leading to one of
the bathroom stalls. "Same modus operandi," he said.
"The murders are definitely related to what happened
John nodded. "We'll take Justin and Britney home
tonight and I'll order a car to watch each of their
houses over night."
Michael thought for a moment. "Then they can bring
them to the precinct for questioning tomorrow morning.
They're going to have to tell us everything."
"Britney, did you tell anybody about what happened
last winter?" John asked.
"No," she said. "Nobody."
"You do see our problem, don't you," Michael said.
"If you two were the only ones who knew about what
happened then it stands to reason that one of you
killed Nicole and Christopher."
"I was in the car with you when Chrsitopher died,"
Justin pointed out.
"So... what? Are you saying I killed them?" Britney
"Nobody is getting accused of anything for now,"
John said. Just then Frank Lopez walked in. "Frank
here is going to ask you to describe the man you hit.
If we can identify who it was then we could maybe
figure this all out."
"It was dark," Britney said.
"You didn't even look at him to see if he was still
alive?" Michael asked incredulously.
"It was a long time ago," Justin said.
"Tell us what you can remember," John said.
Justin closed his eyes. "All this time I've been
trying to forget."
"Do you remember seeing a body that looks like this
Jack nodded. "Yeah. Several months ago. The body
was badly decomposed but, yeah, that's what he would
have looked like. Somebody fished him out of the
"That sounds right," Michael said. "Were you able
to identify him?"
Jack shook his head. "No. No wallet. No id. His
fingerprints and dental records didn't turn up any
matches and nobody from missing persons wre looking
for anybody who matched his description."
"Okay." Michael thought for a moment. "Based on
how the body looked to you, how old do you think he
was when he died?"
Jack shrugged his shoulders. "Late thirties. Early
"Old enough to have a teenaged son... or daughter?"
"I suppose so."
Michael took out his cell phone and speed dialed
John's number. "John? It's Michael."
"Could you get your daughter to come down to the
"I think she can help us with this investigation."
"Can we go now?" Britney asked.
"Not yet," John said.
"Can you hold us without charging us?" Justin asked.
Just then Michael arrived with Katherine.
"Katherine? What are you doing here?" Britney
"Detective Phelps is my dad," Katherine told them.
"She's also helping us with our investigation,"
Michael said. "Katherine can read minds."
"It's okay, dad."
"Katherine was able to read Nicole's mind before she
died. That's how she knew about the accident and the
threats against Nicole."
"You can read minds?" Justin asked. "That's so
Katherine looked into Britney's eyes. Britney
looked away. "What's wrong Britney?"
"What's wrong?" Britney asked indignantly. "My
boyfriend is dead, okay?"
"But you don't feel upset, Britney, do you? If
anything, maybe you feel a bit guilty."
"I know what you did, Britney."
Britney gritted her teeth. "Get the hell out of my
"Britney!" Justin said. "Why?"
"My mother... she had an affair before I was born.
I only found out this year. My mom had pictures of
the man she had an affair with. It was the same man
we killed. You bastards killed my real father! You
made me carry him off the road and dump him in the
river! You all have to die for what you did."
"You have the right to remain silent," Michael
began. John opened the door and called for Officers
Mark Johnston and Tom Jackson to come in and take her
"You need to get back to school, young lady," John
said to his daughter.
John eyed his daughter suspiciously. "Did you
really read Britney's mind?"
Katherine smiled. "No."
"Then what was that all about?"
"Your partner told me what to say."
"You mean Detective King? Actually, he's not my
partner per se. Technically, I'm his boss. You see,
I head the precinct and he heads the crime lab."
"That's not how he sees it," she told him.
"Oh really?" John said. "Did he say that or did you
read his mind?"
Katherine just laughed.
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
pour 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 hemoglobin will show up as blue
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 Mark," 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 Hexadecimal Luthor 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
When John Marx got up on that sunny June morning, it
was just another day. And all indications were that
it was going to be a good day: for one thing, he
didn't feel the slightest bit hung over from the night
before, despite having spent a considerable amount of
time drinking alcohol. "Excellent!" he said as he
bounced out of bed and stepped on to the floor.
Unfortunately, he had stepped right onto a pair of
boxer shorts he had discarded on the floor when he had
gone to bed the night before. He slipped on those
boxer shorts and landed butt first onto the floor.
"Ow!" he said. "That hurt."
Undaunted, John proceeded to the bathroom where he
shaved and took a shower. He then came back out of
the bathroom and got dressed. Getting his pants on
was more difficult than usual for him because his butt
was still sore from having fallen on the floor
John checked the time. It was now seven twenty.
His class started at eight o'clock. He had to hurry
up or he was going to be late. John raced out of the
apartment and hurried down the stairs, all the while
trying not to let his sore butt bother him.
"Some kids called 911 around seven thirty," Officer
Mark Johnston said. "Paramedics declared him dead at
the scene at seven fifty. That's when they called
Detective Michael King nodded. "Any reason to
suspect foul play?"
Johnston shook his head. "It just looks as though
he slipped and fell down the stairs."
Just then Julia Perez appeared at the top of the
stairs. "Oh my!" she said. "Is that John?"
"You know the victim?" Michael asked her.
Julia nodded. "We go to the same school and we live
in the same building. Plus one time we got on a bus
together going to Florida for spring break."
Michael frowned. "So you went for spring break with
"I got this vision that the bus was going to
"I freaked out. So me, John and two of his friends
all got off the bus. We found out later that some
terrorist had planted a bomb on the bus. The bus
exploded when its speed dropped below fifty miles per
"Did they catch the guy who planted the bomb?"
Officer Tom Jackson asked.
"Oh yeah," Julia said. "I'm sure it's not
important. But that's how I know him. From spring
"Do you happen to know the names and addresses of
his friends?" Michael asked.
Julia nodded. "Max Grimes lives just off campus at
2133 University Avenue and Mitch Rogers lives nearby
at 83 Lincoln Road."
"Thanks," Michael said and then turned to speak to
Mark and Tom. "It's okay to move the body now," he
said. "I've seen enough. I'm going to go to 83
Lincoln Road to speak to Mitch Rogers."
"You think what happened had something to do with
what happened with the bus?" Mark asked.
"It's just a hunch," Michael said.
Michael arrived at 83 Lincoln Road only to find the
entire building burned down with no survivors.
"Is Mitch Rogers among the dead?" Michael asked the
"Maybe. We haven't identified the victims yet."
"Any reason to suspect foul play?" Michael asked.
The fire marshall shook his head. "So far it looks
like a freak electrical fire. Why? Do you know
something we don't?"
Michael pursed his lips and shook his head. "Not
really. I have to ask because I'm a homocide
detective. I'm Michael King." He handed the fire
marshall his business card.
The fire marshall nodded. "We'll do our own
investigation and let you know if we find anything
Michael nodded. "Fair enough."
Michael had gone to Max Grimes's apartment but
nobody had answered so he decided to go into campus
and look for him. Not knowing what classes Max took,
Michael first went to the registars office.
"I'm looking for Max Grimes," he said. "He's a
student here. I need to see his course schedule."
"I'm sorry," the desk clerk said, "but we don't give
out that information."
Michael showed her his badge. "It's important."
"Very well," she said. She searched for Max Grimes
on her computer and printed out the schedule. "He's
got a psychology class this afternoon but nothing this
morning," she said.
"Can I have that schedule please?" he asked and she
handed it to him. "Thanks."
10:35 am (the same day)
Pepperton University was unique in that it had a
Department of Paranormal Phenomena. Michael figured
that since he didn't know what Max looked like that he
should go speak to one of the professors there, a
Professor Stephen Stomper, and follow up his hunch.
Michael knocked on the door to Professor Stomper's
office and heard the man say "Come in".
"I'm from the Pepperton Police."
"How can I help you?"
Michael came in and sat down in front of Professor
Stomper's desk. Like all Professor's offices, this
one was a mess with paper everywhere, some of it put
aside for research purposes and some of it put aside
for the sake of classes he was either currently
teaching or had taught before and may yet teach again.
"Two of your students are dead, Professor."
"The university's students I mean," Michael said,
correcting himself. "I don't know if you've ever
taught them or not."
"I see. What are their names?"
"John Marx and Mitch Rogers."
Professor Stomper shook his head. "I'm sorry but
I'm not familiar with those students."
"That's okay," Michael said. "I rather thought
though you could help me anyway."
"I rather thought that their deaths could be
explained by something... paranormal."
"A few months ago, during spring break, Julia Perez
was getting on a bus when she got a vision that the
bus was going to explode. She panicked and ran off
the bus. Three other students, including John Marx
and Mitch Rogers, also got off the bus. The bus later
exploded, killing everybody on the bus. And now John
Marx and Max Grimes are both dead, John Marx having
fallen down the stairs and Mitch Rogers having died in
a fire. And it seems that Mitch Rogers's death
occured less than half an hour after John's."
Professor Stomper nodded. "I see."
"Do you have any theory as to what might be going
on?" Michael asked.
"One," Stomper said. "Some people say that you are
fated to die on a certain day at a certain time and
that nothing can prevent your death from happening.
But if this Julia Perez actually foresaw her own death
then it would appear as though death was cheated.
Perhaps the angel of death is now trying to balance
the scales and has chosen today as the day when these
students will die. If so, we had better find Julia
and the other survivor as soon as possible."
"Max Grimes. He has a psychology class this
afternoon in room 2216."
"Then we need to be there this afternoon," Professor
Stomper said. "In the meantime, why don't we go
partake of an early lunch? My treat."
"I'm Michael King from the Pepperton Police. I'm
here with Professor Stomper from the Department of
"Can I help you?"
"Do you teach this class?"
"Do you know Max Grimes?"
"Could you point him out to us when he arrives?"
"This is crazy!" Max Grimes complained.
"It is not I assure you!" Professor Stomper said.
"Look," Michael said. "Your friends John Marx and
Mitch Rogers are both dead."
"John Marx died this morning after falling down the
stairs in his apartment building while Mitch Rogers
died in a fire in his apartment."
"The two deaths happened pretty much one after the
other. So it seems as though you might be in danger."
"Also Julia Perez," Professor Stomper pointed out.
"She also would have died that day. We should find
her and warn her."
Michael nodded. "She lived in the same building as
John Marx. She could have gone back home by now.
"You should come with us. You'll be safer that
Julia was sitting in her apartment watching
television when the door bell rang. Julia got up to
answer the door. Just then, her television exploded.
Glass from the TV screen flew across the room and
ripped through the chair where she had been sitting.
Michael, who had been the one who rang the door and
had then started to wait outside for her to answer,
kicked the door in when he heard the explosion and
pulled out his gun.
"I think you'll find that your gun is of little use
against the angel of death," Professor Stomper said.
"Stand back please!" Michael, Julia and Max all stood
along the wall in Julia's apartment.
Professor Stomper closed his eyes and concentrated.
His ordinary clothing transformed into the red and
yellow robes of a master of the mystic arts!
"Now that I have revealed myself it is time for the
angel of death to reveal himself!"
What then appeared in the room looked like a pale
skinned ghost in white robes. It was surrounded by a
bright white aura. "I must take Julia Perez and Mitch
Rogers! Balance must be restored!"
"I say... NAY!" Professor Stomper said as he struck
the entity with a bolt of energy. The entity struck
back but Professor Stomper had put up shields to
deflect the creature's attack. Professor Stomper
similarly found it difficult to land a second strike
on the ghostly form he faced. But get through he did!
And every blow that struck the entity weakened it.
"Give up on these two or be destroyed!" Professor
"Curse you!" the creature swore. "If I can't have
them then I will have you and someone you hold dear!
And the attack will come when you least expect it!"
The entity disappeared.
"It's over!" Professor Stomper said.
"Are you sure?" Julia asked.
"Yes," Professor Stomper said. "I sense it was
telling the truth just now."
"But that means it will come after you next!"
Professor Stomper nodded. "Which is how it should
be for I am best able to deal with the angel of death.
Don't worry about me. It is my duty to protect
innocents like you."
Michael shook his hand. "I appreaciate all your
Mitch, meanwhile, was smiling at Julia. "Hi," he
said. "I'm Mitch."
"Sounds like it was really cool!" Edward Bailey
"Actually it was a bit scary," Detective Michael
Edward shrugged his shoulders. "If the angel of
death could have just vaporized people then why did he
go to the trouble of staging accidents?"
"I guess because he wanted us to think they _were_
"Fair enough." Edward Bailey adjusted the bow tie
on his tux. He looked down the aisle of the church.
All of his friends and family were there intermixed
with Mary's. Also there were all the cops from the
precinct as well as all the guys from the crime lab.
Even District Attorney Alan Russell was there sitting
in the front row. "What's taking her so long?"
Michael smiled. "Women always take a long time to
"Even on the day they are going to get married?"
"_Especially_ on the day they are going to get
"She just wants to look beautiful for you," Naomi
Chen said. Whereas Michael was the best man at the
wedding, Naomi was the maid of honour. As she was
also the receptionist at the precinct, all calls were
being diverted to other precincts.
"Wait," Michael said, "I think she's coming now."
Mary appeared at the top of the aisle hand in hand
with her father as the organist started to play "Here
Comes the Bride". She was dressed in a traditional
white bridal gown and was carrying a bouquet of white
"So what do you think?" Naomi asked.
"Pretty cool!" Edward said.
Mary took her place at Edward's side and her father
went to sit down next to her mother. The Priest by
saying, "We are gathered here today" and Edward waited
patiently for when it was his turn to be asked if he
would take Mary Elizabeth Jones to be his "lawfully
wedded wife for better or for worse, in sickness and
in health until death".
"I do," he said.
"And do you, Mary Elizabeth Jones, take Edward
Michael Bailey to be your lawfully wedded husband for
better or for worse, in sickness and in health and
until death do you part?" the Priest asked.
"I do," she said.
"If there be any among us who object to this union
may they speak now or forever hold their peace."
Nobody spoke up. "Then by the power invested in me by
both God and the state, I now pronounce you man and
wife. You may now kiss the bride!"
Mary and Edward kissed. Mary then turned and threw
her bouquet. Katherine Phelps, Detective John
Phelps's daughter, caught the bouquet, much to her
father's chagrin. He wanted to speak to Mary later:
she clearly had aimed the bouquet in her father's
Then it was time for group photos to be taken.
Frank Lopez was taking the pictures: it made a change
for him to take pictures of people while they were
"So where are you going now?" Frank asked Edward.
"I'm going to Disney World!" Edward said as he
raised his fist.
"No we're not!" Mary said as she hit her husband on
the shoulder. Edward hoped the friendly abuse wasn't
a sign of things to come. "We're going to spend a
week in a hotel in the US Virgin Islands."
"But I wanted to go on the rides," Edward said with
"You'll get plenty of rides," Mary said with a wink.
The wedding party had moved on to a local Italian
restaurant for the reception. The bride and the groom
were, of course, sitting at the head table with the
maid of honour and the best man sitting on either side
of them. Michael got up to make a speech.
"I've known Edward and Mary, each of them, for
years. They are both excellent investigators. More
importantly, they are good friends. I am so happy to
see that they've found happiness together," he said.
He raised his glass of wine and everybody at the
reception did likewise. "To Edward and Mary!" he said
and he took a sip. He went to sit back down.
Before Edward and Mary left for their honeymoon,
everybody got a chance to speak with them and wish
them good fortune.
"Congratulations," John told them. "I hope you'll
both be happy together." At the last moment, he
decided not to complain about the whole bouquet
"Thanks, boss!" Edward said.
"I expect you both to show up to work Monday morning
after you come back from your honeymoon!" he said with
"Yes, Sir!" Mary said as she jokingly saluted him.
Everyone gathered outside the restaurant to wave at
Edward and Mary as their car drove away and headed to
the airport. Their luggage had already been packed in
the trunk of the car. A "Just Married" sign had been
placed on the back of the car.
Naomi turned and spoke to Michael. "Almost makes
you wish you were getting married, huh?" she said with
Michael nodded. "That it does."
Naomi's smile broadened. "So how much does the head
That's about it. Really.
I was planning to do a story in which Mary and Edward
on honeymoon and end up having to solve a murder but
I've already abandoned that idea because although the
series is about the detectives, every story in some
way should involve heroes too and it would be too
contrived for Mary and Edward to encounter a dead body
_and_ heroes while on honeymoon. And while I could
conceivably also advance storylines involving the
heroes of Pepperton, I also need to come up with new
cases for the detectives to solve.
So... I think we're done here. As is usually the
case, trade paperbacks trump regular issues: I made
minor changes to issue #20 here and they should be
considered as "finishing touches" to the original
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