Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks Season 2 #16
martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 19 06:20:42 PDT 2007
Jacob Bailey, Monica King, Terry Lopez and
ST.AN.L.E.E, crime scene investigators. Kathryn
Phelps and Richard Russell, medical examiners. Alan
Russell and Christopher Murdock, lawyers. These men
and women (and one android) are truly the last line of
defense for the people of Pepperton City in the year
2048. But what about the capes whose cases they have
to investigate? Should they be considered a help or a
SUPERFREAKS SEASON 2 #16
FBI Special Agent Fox Unger pulled out his badge
when he saw the approaching Pepperton Police Officers.
"I'm afraid you can't go in there," he said.
"Why not?" Detective Jacob Bailey asked. "We got a
call saying there had been a murder and all murders in
Pepperton City are our jurisdiction."
"The victim, a Mr. Marvin Petrie, was a federal
employee working in a highly sensitive government
program. There are national security issues to
"Let me guess: he was working in weapons
"I'm not at liberty to discuss the exact nature of
the work he did for the government."
Jacob sighed. "Look, there's a killer on the loose
here in Pepperton and I need to know that whoever did
this isn't going to strike again. You can't leave the
local police force out of the loop like this."
"Okay," Fox said. "Marvin was working on a
miniature atomic bomb, one that could fit inside of a
pen and be transported anywhere."
"The bomb would only have a range of a few feet. It
was designed to kill a single person."
"Wouldn't the radiation from the bomb also kill
anybody standing around him?" Detective ST.AN.L.E.E.
Fox shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. I
guess. But we're not talking about a large amount of
radiation. The bomb would be microscopic."
"How is it even possible?" Jacob asked. "Don't you
need a critical mass of uranium in order to set off an
"They got around it. Don't ask me how: I don't
know. I only know what I need to know and I don't
need to know that: like I said, this is a matter of
"So if you're telling us about this...?"
"It's because that's how he was killed, yes."
"My God," Jacob said. "Any chance this was an
accident? Could he have just been bringing work home
"Would you bring a microscopic bomb home with you
and accidentally set it off while you were watching
Late Night with Tarzan O'Malley?"
"We figure he was murdered." Fox pursed his lips.
"Anyway, you can see why we can't let you into the
"His apartment is still radioactive: the first thing
we did was clear the building. We're lucky there have
been no other fatalities."
"That won't be a problem for my partner."
"Oh really? Why is that?"
"My partner is an android."
"An android? You mean like a robot that looks
"Precisely. Special Agent Unger meet ST.AN.L.E.E.:
STandard ANdroid Law Enforcement Edition."
"Pleased to meet you," ST.AN.L.E.E. said.
"He's so life like!"
"And completely invulnerable to radiation," Jacob
said. "So, you see, you should take advantage of this
opportunity to have somebody investigate the scene
while the trial is still fresh."
"Okay. Okay," Fox agreed. "I'll allow this. But I
want to able able to inspect all evidence you collect
in case any of it is of a sensitive nature with
regards to our national security."
"It's a deal."
ST.AN.L.E.E. made his way into Marvin Petrie's
apartment. It was completely burned as a result of
the fire that had started after the initial explosion.
The first people on the scene had obviously been
government agents sent to put out the fire.
ST.AN.L.E.E. briefly wondered if this wasn't a
deliberate assassination but then realized that such a
scenario was unlikely as they would have wanted them
to think it was an accident. He nevertheless listed
the government itself as his prime suspect.
He made his way into Marvin Petrie's bedroom. There
was melted glass fused to the wall that he realized
must have been the remains of a bedroom mirror: he was
able to determine that the epicentre of the blast
originated from just below it, where he imagined a
table must have been. The table had been, of course,
obliterated. He was surprised that the walls still
He shifted his attention to the charred body on the
bed. He shifted his visual detection to the range of
x-rays to determine that the body was indeed giving
off dangeroud radiation and couldn't be moved. He
would have to do his examination on site.
Unfortunately, he wasn't programmed to perform a
full medical exam: all he could do was estimate time
of death to be around 3:00 am. Based on his
observation of the apartment itself, he estimated that
the fire had been put out around 4:00. It begged the
"How did the government get to the scene so
quickly?" he asked Agent Unger once he had come out of
the building. "You supposedly go here before the
local firefighters. How is that possible?"
Fox Unger nodded. "We had other agents living in
the same building. They cleared the building and used
fire extinguishers to put out the fire. These agents
have been hospitalised, of course, and are in serious
condition, but we think they're going to be okay."
"We'd like to talk to these men," Jacob told him.
"No," Unger said. "Absolutely not. These men are
"Agent Unger, with all due respect, the first rule
of policework is that the first people on the scene
are your first suspects."
"Is that true even if the first people on the scene
are cops?" Unger asked. "I can vouch for these men,
ST.AN.L.E.E. spoke up. "The bomb that killed Marvin
Petrie was exactly the sort of bomb that Marvin was
working on. Correct?"
"So the people who killed him had to be his own
Fox nodded. "Of course. We'd thought of that. We
suspect espionage was involved. We suspect that
someone from the Islamic Union infiltrated the lab and
killed Petrie as a way to cover his tracks."
"But why kill Petrie this way at all?" Jacob asked.
"I mean, Petrie is only a government scientist.
Surely such a weapon would be of more use as a means
of assassinating a key political figure. Why waste it
Fox nodded. "Perhaps whoever stole it wanted to let
us know that they had the weapon."
"How many of these weapons are missing?"
"Just give us a number," Jacob said.
"Look," Jacob said. "We're not going to alert the
media but surely the local authorities have a right to
know the level of danger they are facing. Up to how
many of these bombs can we expect to be used?"
Fox nodded. "Five. We've already determined that
six were stolen, including the one used here."
ST.AN.L.E.E. frowned. (He had been programmed to
simulate human emotions.) "Again, why kill Marvin
Petrie at home? Why not kill him where he worked?"
Fox shrugged his shoulders. "Perhaps because if the
bomb had gone off in the lab and destroyed the lab
then the killer himself would have been killed in the
explosion. Or perhaps the killer just put the bomb on
a twelve hour timer to give himself time to slip
"We're going to want to question people at your
lab," Jacob said.
"Not possible," Fox said.
"I'm not talking about performing a search -
although if I had to I could probably get a warrant to
do so - I'm just talking about talking to people, as
part of an ongoing murder investigation."
Fox thought for a moment. "Is that thing's memory
downloadable?" he asked, refering to ST.AN.L.E.E.
"Yes," Jacob said.
"I'm going to want to see what he saw."
"It's possible," Jacob told him. "We'd have to go
back to the crime lab and extract a video that we can
put on a CD for you."
"That would be fine."
"If we give you a copy then will you let us into
"I'll let you in," he said to Jacob, "but your robot
will have to wait outside. I don't want you bringing
in any recording devices into a restricted area."
"Alright," Jacob said. "We've got a deal."
"What do we have here?"
Detective Terry Lopez pointed to the body of a what
appeared to be a thirty year old man in a business
suit. "I don't know. Could be natural causes."
Detective Monica King smiled. "People don't just
die while they're walking down the street," she said.
"Nobody saw anything."
Richard Russell looked up from his microscope. "Oh,
hi dad! What brings you here?"
"Something wrong with a father visiting his son at
Richard laughed. "You're not the DA anymore.
That's Christopher Murdock's job. You don't have to
Alan Russell smiled. "My brain still works even if
my body is old and gray."
Richard shook his head. "I didn't mean to imply
that you're useless, dad. It's just that you deserve
Alan grimaced. "Ah but maybe I want to be here.
Maybe I want to keep on top of things. What are you
"Balistics," Richard told him. "I test fired the
gun that the Pepperton Protector recovered from the
crime scene and I'm comparing my bullet to the bullet
found in the victim. It's a match so this was
definitely our murder weapon."
"What did you say? The Pepperton Protector
recovered the gun, did he?"
Richard nodded. "Yeah. Don't worry, though: the
Pepperton Protector bagged it and tagged it and the
only fingerprints we recovered were the suspect's."
"Still, these capes are now collecting evidence."
"Well, yeah, dad, ever since Initiative of 2034
every major city has its own superpowered detective.
There's the Pepperton Protector, the Miami Manhunter,
the Vegas Vindicator..."
"And it doesn't bother you that the evidence is
being collected by people with masks?"
"The Pepperton Protector left a sample of his own
DNA to confirm his identity."
"And what about when he testifies in court?"
"DNA dad. They can use it to confirm identity in
court now. It's been this way for over a decade."
Alan smiled. "What's next? Should be jury wear
masks? Should the judge?"
Richard sighed. "Dad, with all due respect, this is
the way things are done now. It's not like it your
day when the police and the heroes were always at
odds. We work together now."
Alan nodded. "You're right. It's better now. More
accountability. I still don't like the idea of being
watched by men in masks. I mean... who watches the
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"
"It's Latin. From a play by the Roman poet Juvenal.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who guards the
Alan laughed. "I hate it when you do that."
"Prove yourself to be smarter than your old man!"
"What do you make of this?" Detective Monica King
Katheryn Phelps grimaced. "It's definitely murder,"
she said. "Just look at these internal organs.
They're cooked from the inside out."
"What kind of weapon can do that?"
"A microwave generator."
"You mean like an oven?"
"I mean like a radar tower. Your victim didn't walk
in front of one, did he?"
"No. He died on the street."
"Then it would seem somebody has developed a hand
held weapon that can shoot microwaves and kill
someone, making it look like they just collapsed from
"That sounds fairly sophisticated."
"State of the art."
"Who would have a weapon like that?"
"A government agent perhaps. Who else?"
Katheryn nodded. "Okay. I'll let Jacob know.
Thanks." Katheryn was about to leave when a question
occured to her. "Katheryn?"
"I've been meaning to ask you..."
"Spit it out, dear."
"You're a telepath, right?"
"Not as good as I used to be."
"Why did you become a medical examiner? Why didn't
you become a detective? You would have always known
when a suspect was lying?"
Katheryn smiled. "Because as I got older I couldn't
shut it off. I like working with the dead: they're
not so noisy."
Monica nodded. "I understand."
"There's no need to be embarassed."
"I'm not embarassed!"
Katheryn sighed. "Don't lie to me, Monica."
"Detective Bailey. What can I do for you?"
"Here's the CD you wanted. The one with the data
taken from ST.AN.L.E.E."
"Let me see." Fox took it and inserted it into his
computer's disk drive. "We have to wait for the
anti-virus software tp scan the disk."
Fox Unger played found a Windows Media file on the
disk. He played it on the computer and saw what
ST.AN.L.E.E. had seen.
Fox Unger nodded. "A deal's a deal. You'll have
access to the lab this afternoon."
Detective Jacob Bailey nodded. "That will be fine.
If you don't mind, I think I'll have lunch first."
"I thought I'd find you here," Detective Monica King
Detective Jacob Bailey looked up from the plate of
spaghetti he was eating. "Anything I can help you
Monica nodded. "We believe that our cases are
"Katheryn thinks that the man who shot Robert Smith
may be the same man who killed Marvin Petrie."
"Both men worked at the same government labs, the
labs you are going to be visiting today I understand."
Jacob nodded. "I just got permission to go visit
them this afternoon."
"Great. We need to find out who worked with both
Robert Smith and Marvin Petrie."
"Any idea what Robert Smith was working on?"
"Katheryn thinks that Robert Smith was killed with a
handheld microwave source."
"You mean a ray gun?"
Monica nodded. "Perhaps that's what he was working
"It would fit the pattern. Each of them being
killed by weapons that they themselves were
"Obviously if I ask questions over the phone I just
get a run around."
"Right. Don't worry. I'll begin with the
assumption that the two cases are related and try to
identify a single suspect and hopefully solve both
Based on the tip that Monica had given him, Jacob
settled on two suspects, one being Alan Hanks and the
other being Franklin Reed. Alan Hanks was
conspicuously absent that day so Jacob went to speak
to Dr. Reed.
"Yes? Can I help you?"
"Did you know these men?" He showed him pictures of
Marvin Petrie and Robert Smith.
"Yes. I've worked with both of them."
"Do you know anybody who would want to kill them?"
"Why? Are they both dead?"
"I'm afraid so. Killed by their own weapons, as I
understand. Robert Smith was working on a microwave
gun, wasn't he?"
"Yes, that's correct."
"What about you? What sort of research do you do
Franklin smiled. "Nothing military, I assure you.
Come, I'll show you."
"Actually, it won't be necessary for me to
"Nonsense! I'm quite proud of the work I've done
here. I can't wait to go public with it."
"Well... alright then."
"It's a portal."
"A portal? You mean like your father built between
Extreme Force Six Headquarters and the
"Yes, exactly," Franklin said. "You remember my
"Of course. Your father was an exceptional
scientist. It's too bad about what happened."
Franklin nodded. "Yes, my father always blamed
himself for what happened to the Super Soldier and his
"It wasn't really his fault." Jacob grimaced. "But
are you sure this is a good idea, building another
"Oh but it's not what you think!" Franklin told him.
"This portal is tunable."
"Tunable? What does that mean?"
"It means that I can use this portal to connect to
any time and space anywhere in the multiverse! I can
observe other universes and even our own past!"
"Can anything come through?"
"No, not unless there's a portal on the other side.
We can, of course, send things through - and even send
people through, but they wouldn't be able to come back
"That sounds alright then."
"Here. Let me show you what I've discovered."
"I don't really have time..."
"Nonsense! Let me show you!" Franklin started
typing furiously on a computer keyboard. "Let me
search for a universe very much like our own... but
"What do you mean?"
"There are other worlds that represent what might
have been if our lives had taken a different path.
Ah, here! Look at the screen!"
"No, it's not us. It's people just like you and me
but in another universe!"
"If that guy is just like me then why does he have a
gun pointed at your head?"
Just then Franklin Reed witnessed the murder of his
counterpart in another universe at the hands of Jacob
"Can he see us?" Jacob asked.
"Only if by some strange coincidence their portal is
tuned to our universe," Franklin said.
Jacob Bailey's counterpart then jumped through his
"He's coming through!" Jacob said.
"Nonsense!" Franklin said but sure enough he soon
found himself in the presence of two Jacob Baileys.
The Jacob Bailey who had just came through the portal
pointed his gun at Franklin Reed. Our Jacob Bailey
also pulled out his gun.
"You drop it or I'll shoot him!"
"Just do as he says!" Franklin Reed said.
Our Jacob Bailey put down his gun.
"Good. Now go through the portal!"
"Do as I say!"
Our Jacob Bailey did as the other Jacob Bailey asked
and lept through the portal. On the other side were
police who arrested him for the murder of the other
"Now go!" our Franklin Reed told him.
"Alright. Fine. After all, for all anyone here
knows I'm him!" He laughed.
Monica King waited for Jacob Bailey outside.
"So how did it go?" she asked.
"How did what go?"
"Um... the investigation."
"Right. It went okay."
Monica sighed. "Do we have a suspect or not?"
He grimaced. "Wait. I need to go back in."
Monica stood there perplexed as Jacob Bailey's evil
twin went back into the labs.
"You're back so soon?" Franklin Reed asked.
The Evil Jacob Bailey pointed his gun at him. "It's
not going to work: I can't pretend to be a cop."
"So what are you going to do?"
"Send me somewhere else."
"I don't know. The past! Send me to the past."
"Okay." Franklin adjusted the portal. "How about
Pepperton City in the year 2008?"
"Perfect! Just do it!"
Franklin made the final adjustments. "It's done."
Jacob Bailey's evil twin jumped through the portal
NEXT: Superfreaks Forever
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