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Prime Suspects

Posted on Apr 25, 2018 @ 1:43am by Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Edited on on Apr 25, 2018 @ 1:44am

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale

“Prime Suspects”

(contd from ‘You reap what you sow’)

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Location: SHERMAN’S PLANET
SD: [2.18] 0425.0007
Scene: Main Street


Jasmine navigated her way through the crowd, coughing and using one hand to wave off the smoke that spread in every direction. She stepped on the road, while at the same time moving out of the way of a crying woman, who might be searching for her loved ones. She was searching around for Kane or any of the other Phoenix officers. When she looked over the shoulders of some tall locals, the security chief spotted the Captain and sighed with relief. Good, he was alright. She continued moving until she caught up with him.

The CO spotted the Asian approach him and nodded. “Glad to see you’re alright, Lieutenant.”

“You too, sir?” Yu nodded, noticing a number of medical and engineering personnel materializing on the scene. The medical teams, proceeded to set up triage in a nearby building with assistance from the locals. The engineering personnel began extinguishing the fire and making sure the flames didn’t spread everywhere. The security teams, already on the planet, met up with Silsby and were coordinating with the local law enforcement to control the crowd and helping everyone to safety.

“Lieutenant, the ship is now on yellow alert,” he stated, pausing for a moment to clear his throat. “Obviously, someone or a group, was responsible for the explosion, most likely to disrupt the festival. This puts all of us in danger. So I want you to coordinate with Sheriff Edwards and his staff on their investigation.”

Jasmine nodded. “Understood, Captain.”

“One more thing,” Kane brought up. “Sheriff Edwards seems to be a proud man and may not be amenable to our offer to help them. I suggest you find a way to get involved without the Sheriff assuming we are trying to push him aside and take over the investigation.”

“Yes sir.” Yu and her CO then parted ways, the Asian walking down the road in search of Edwards. From her interaction with the black man, this was going to be a rather challenging task. Already, Ethan was very clear about who was in charge and that Jasmine and her officers were to abide by the laws and not interfere in local matters. Well, the explosion also affected Phoenix personnel and some of her fellow crew might be among the wounded. So the Phoenix had every right to be involved in the investigation but she still needed to be tactful, when dealing with the Sheriff.

She finally spotted Edwards, deep in conversation with his deputy, whom she already met before. Jasmine walked up to them and stopped to stand in a circle between Edwards and Hobbs. While Treena smiled at her, Ethan just gave her a curt nod, touching the tip of his hat. Yu could tell from his tense body language that he didn’t seem keen on the Phoenix crew helping them. She inhaled in a deep breath before speaking. “Sheriff Edwards, Deputy Hobbs, my people and I are here to assist you in the investigation.”

“Well, yer people certainly got involved,” Edwards remarked, not hiding the fact that he was unhappy with Starfleet getting involved. He nodded at Silsby and other security teams helping the local enforcement with managing the control, the medical teams working with the townsfolk in setting up triage and so on.

Jasmine realized, right from the first meeting, the dark skinned man didn’t like losing control, wanting to be the one in charge and the Phoenix officers’ presence was seen as an encroachment into his territory. Now this explosion had turned everything upside and down. “Sheriff Edwards, I’m here to find out how we proceed with the investigation. What leads have we got?”

“Lieutenant Yu,” Ethan began in a stern voice, “Mah deputies and Ah got it covered so we don’t need yer help.”

Treena suggested, “Sir, Ah don’t mind the assistance from Lieutenant Yu.” When the black man raised an eyebrow, giving her a skeptical look, she added, “It could speed up tha investigation.”

Edwards furrowed his brow, considering his deputy’s suggestion and nodded, “Okay.” He then proceeded to give the security chief a stern warning, “Ya’ll follow her lead. Clear?”

“Clear.” Jasmine nodded.

Hobbs waved at the Asian. “Come on, Lieutenant. Let’s go find us some leads.” The two women left the scene to commence their investigation. Yu notified Silsby that he was left in charge to bring the situation with the crowd under control.

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Scene: Emily’s Saloon
TI: An hour later

As the duo were going around town, talking to people, one of the waitresses from the saloon came up to them with information that a customer wanted to speak with them. The waitress sounded skeptical but still relayed the patron’s message. The person claimed to possess information that could help with the investigation of the explosion.

Jasmine followed the deputy sheriff inside the establishment, which was empty, except for a few patrons, spread out around the large room. She watched the other woman glance around the area, looking for the particular individual, who requested to speak with them.

“Over there,” the waitress said, pointing her finger to a booth at the far corner of a room.

“Thank ya, ma’am.” Treena nodded and the two women headed for the booth, passing a bunch of empty tables. “It’s not usually this quiet.”

“Maybe it’s because of the incident and people just went home.”

“Yeah. Folks’re prolly scared.”

Yu asked, “Will the festival be cancelled?”

“Hell no,” Hobbs replied in a defiant tone. “It may be postponed fer a day or two. But cancelled. Nah, the folks here won’t have it.”

“As they say, the show must go on.” They had reached the booth and Jasmine followed Treena as they slid on the seat, opposite a sullen looking Klingon woman. The security chief took note of the empty mug in front of the Klingoness and wondered if the latter might have been drinking.

Hobbs, on the other hand, was annoyed, her eyes narrowing. “Rusa, this had better not be a trick, otherwise Ah’ll haul yer ass to jail fer wasting mah time.”

“This isn’t a trick,” the Klingon named Rusa, growled and judging from the clearness of her speech, the woman wasn’t drunk. “I do have vital information that will help with this investigation.”

“Alright, Rusa, spill,” Treena commanded. “What’d ya got?”

Rusa leaned forward, lowering her voice to a harsh whisper. “Last night, I was walking home from the saloon after a few mugs of blood wine.” She growled. “The blood wine’s terrible in this town.”

“Stay on topic, Rusa,” the deputy ordered, letting out a sigh of exasperation.

The Klingon bared her teeth at the human before continuing in her deep voice, “I came past the warehouse, where all the floats were stored.” Now this caught the law maker’s interest as she and Jasmine leaned forward. “I saw a human male coming out.”

“Human male?” Treena raised an eyebrow. “Can ya describe him?”

Rusa closed her eyes for a brief moment before reopening them. “Well, he was tall, very skinny and bald. Middle-aged. Pale skin complexion, I mean really pale – doesn’t seem to spend much time in the sun. His clothes were all black and there was this look in his eyes that would make everyone tremble with fear…well, except warriors like myself.”

“So did ya confront him?”

“Yes, I planned on challenging him to a fight,” the Klingon replied brusquely. “So I marched towards him and then he’s gone.”

Jasmine raised an eyebrow. “Gone?”

Rusa’s eyes widened. “He just vanished. I blinked and poof, he wasn’t there anymore.”

“So ya saw a man who magically disappeared?” Hobbs inquired, her voice containing traces of skepticism.

“Yes. I blinked and he vanished.”

Yu asked, “If we show images, matching your description of this man, will you be able to identify him?”

“Yes I can.” Rusa nodded.

Treena informed, standing up, “Well, that’s all ah need. Rusa, thank ya for yer time.” Jasmine followed suit. “Come on, Lieutenant. We’re done here.”

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Scene: Sheriff’s Department -> Street

A few minutes after entering the building, Jasmine asked the deputy if she could use a computer console. When Treena granted her request, the Asian woman took a seat at one of the empty consoles and entered the description of the mysterious man that Rusa provided to them. That man might either be a potential suspect. After finishing inputting the information, she tapped on her comm badge. “Yu to Lieutenant Procter.”

[[Procter here,]] came the voice of the Assistant Sec/Tac, whom Jasmine left in charge of the department on the ship, while she was down on the planet.

“I’m going to send you a file, which contains parameters for a search I’d like you to conduct.”

[[What kind of search?]]

“An image search, using these parameters. I want you to conduct a search through the list of colonists, currently residing on this planet to find a human male. This individual may be a possible suspect.”

[[I’m on it. Procter out.]]

“Lieutenant, Ah’m not sure if Rusa’s account’s reliable,” Hobbs said, approaching the young woman.

Jasmine looked puzzled. “Why do you think so?”

“Well, firstly, the broad had a few drinks,” the deputy began, folding her arms across her chest. “So her senses may not be functioning right.”

Jasmine pointed out in a polite tone, “A few drinks doesn’t mean she was drunk. It’s possible for her to recall everything to the best of her ability.”

“Nah, this here’s Rusa we’re talkin about.” Treena sighed, making Yu wonder what she meant by that statement. “And tha part about the man vanishin in thin air when she blinked. Ah don’t know about ya but Ah don’t buy it.”

Yu shrugged. “You may be right. She might have been mistaken but I believe until we know for sure, whether her story checks out or not, I don’t recommend dismissing her claim just yet.”

“Well…” Hobbs was interrupted, when shouts were heard outside. “What tha hell’s goin on?” She got her answer when the doors slid open. Sheriff Edwards entered the room with one of his men, dragging two humanoid males inside. A woman and another man tried to follow them, shouting all kinds of insults at them but Edwards shoved them out and closed the door.

“What’s goin on, Sheriff?” Treena asked.

Ethan waved at some of his officers and ordered, “Take these two to the jail cells.”

Jasmine recognized one of the prisoners, who glanced behind at her and bared his teeth. Wait, he was the Klingon who confronted her during the protest the other day. She couldn’t recall his name but did remember the anger in his voice, when he spoke to her.

As the men were taken away, Edwards turned to the two women and explained, sounding satisfied, “Hobbs, we got here our prime suspects behind tha explosion.”

Jasmine inquired, getting an uneasy feeling, “How? If I may ask, Sheriff.”

“Well, Lieutenant, two witnesses, highly respected members of tha community, came forward with information that make Lumpek and Q’pac prime suspects.”

Treena asked, “How?”

“Edna Miller,” he began, caressing his chin. “Ya know, she runs the bakery here in town. Well, she was takin her usual early morning walk and spotted Q’pac enterin the warehouse that stores tha floats fer tha parade, carryin something under his jacket. And ya know ole Edna, she never lies.”

“Okay and tha other witness?”

Ethan answered, “Well, Lenny Ngo. He pilots one of tha river boats.”

“Yes, Ah know Lenny.” The deputy nodded.

“He was havin supper at the Emily’s Saloon yesterday evenin.” He paused to take a breath. “Well, young Lenny was sittin near Lompek and Q’pac and overheard an interestin conversation between them. Accordin to him, Q’pac suggested they should do something to disrupt the parade and Lompek asked what’d he had in mind. Q’pac proposed maybe visitin the warehouse early next mornin…and git this…sabotage one of tha floats. Lompek never gave an answer as apparently his communicator beeped and that was tha end of tha conversation. Still enough ta make them our prime suspects and Qpac was spotted enterin the warehouse by Mrs. Miller.”

“Pardon me, Sheriff,” Yu brought up, knowing the black man wasn’t going to like what she was going to say. “But if they are only suspects, then why have you thrown them into jail. Shouldn’t we question them first?”

“Oh we will,” Ethan replied, sounding a little impatient.

Jasmine asked, “Shouldn’t we verify the stories provided by the two witnesses? I or one of my officers can interview them.”

“No, Lieutenant, that’ll not be necessary. Edna and Lenny’re good folks who’ve done nothin wrong.” His voice was raised, containing traces of anger. “Are ya sayin they’re lyin?”

“No, Sheriff, I’m not accusing them of any wrong doing,” Jasmine quickly answered, trying to diffuse a tense confrontation, developing between them. “I’m just trying to get all the facts straight.”

“Facts?!?” The Sheriff bellowed. “The facts’re, young lady, that, those two Klingons were found ta be conspirin to disrupt the festival and one of ‘em was seen enterin the warehouse on tha morning before the festival.”

“Sheriff, with all due respect, just because Q’pac was seen there, doesn’t mean he was the culprit,” Jasmine said calmly but despite her best efforts, Edwards grew angrier.

“Yer tellin how ta do mah job?” Ethan questioned, glaring at her. “Listen, Ah’ve been Sheriff fer a long time, heck before ya’ll were even born, Lieutenant. So don’t ya tell me how ta do mah job?”

Yu said, keeping voice even. “Sheriff Edwards, I wasn’t trying to. I just want to get to the truth just like you do.”

“Well, Lieutenant, if ya’ll wanna help, then get outta our way.” Edwards turned around and marched towards his office.

Jasmine turned to the deputy and asked, “Why didn’t you tell your boss about Rusa’s testimony?”

Treena sighed, eyeing her with sympathy. “Ah’d like to, but Ah know Ethan. He ain’t gonna believe her story and just dismiss it as her being drunk. Ah don’t blame him. Ah mean, who’s gonna believe a man vanishin in thin air just like that.”

“I know there’s not much to go on with Rusa’s story as well,” Jasmine said. “That’s why I believe we should do some further digging before deciding to throw people in jail.”

“Listen, Jasmine,” Hobbs said, softening her tone. “Ah like ya and still wanna have ya fer dinner with me and Pam. But ya don’t understand how things work around here.”

Jasmine blinked in confusion. “I don’t follow.”

“Sheriff Edwards’s under a whole lotta pressure ta conclude this investigation and start makin arrests sooner rather than later,” Treena began, sighing. “This explosion has shaken the entire town and folks’re already demanding justice. So I hope ya understand just how tough the situation’s fer us.”

“I do,” Jasmine said slowly. “However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our duty to conduct a complete and thorough investigation, leaving no stones unturned. I apologize if what I say may offend you and I’m not accusing you of not doing your jobs. I just want to find the truth and bring the criminals to justice.”

Hobbs gave her a weak smile. “Ah wasn’t offended and Ah understand what ya mean. Ya may be right but Ah’m not the one in charge here.” She shrugged.

[[Proctor to Yu.]]

“I need to take this call,” Jasmine said.

Treena nodded. “No problem. Ah’ll need ta check on our suspects.”

Yu tapped on her comm badge as she began heading for the exit at the back of the building. “Yu here. Did you complete the search?” The doors opened, allowing the security chief to leave. She walked a few feet from the building and stopped in a narrow street.

[[Yes, Lieutenant.]]

“What did you find?”

[[I’m afraid the search revealed no such individual.]]

Jasmine’s eyes widened. “You mean he doesn’t exist?”

[[Not necessary. This man might still exist but isn’t a resident on this colony.]]

“So someone could be here besides us or Rusa was drunk or lying.” The Asian woman felt her muscles tense in anxiety. This could not be good at all. “Thank you, Lieutenant. Yu out.” She needed to inform the Captain immediately.

*************************************************************************************

~*~
Ranjani S.
Writing for

Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Chief of Security and Tactical
USS PHOENIX

 

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