View Full Version : [FIN]Star Wars: CSI Coruscant Episode 1
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Hi, Fellas. CSI series is back. This time it's not CSI: Nar Shaddaa, it's a new CSI Team: CSI: Coruscant.
This is NOT an epic or adventure fiction. This is indeed a DETECTIVE fiction. If you feel don't like it, please don't read along.
Special Thanks to JediMaster12 for her beta-reading for me. Also Jae Onasi for pointing out my inappropriate contents in my fic. And Pottsie, Dark_Lady, Revan Master of Darkness, for their support.
Of course, everyone in the forum deserves a sincere appreciation, too.
Disclaimer: Includes, but not limited to, Star Wars, and its logo belongs to Lucas Arts Ltd. CSI and its logo belong to CBS Studios, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Atlantic Alliance. This fiction is not intended to be commercial use, just for fun.
This story is originated from CSI, Episode 100, "Pilot".
When Nihilus walked into the door of Crime lab, he felt hard. New people, new environment, and new mood.
“Hi,” the receptionist greeted.
“Hi,” Nihilus didn’t want to give other people impoliteness, “Excuse me, where is the Supervisor’s office?”
“Oh, you must be the new supervisor other people talking about.” The receptionist smiled and revealed white teeth, “Go straight forward, and make a left turn, and the third door. You can’t miss it.”
Nihilus went straight, and prepared to make a left turn. “Ouch!” He crashed on a red-haired woman who walked around the corner. Her files on her hands fell on the floor.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry, lady, are you okay?” Nihilus used the force to help her pick up the files shattered on the floor.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you.” She smiled and hurried away.
Nihilus shook his head, smiling, and headed to his office-Supervisor’s Office.
Opening the door, he found a desk, a chair, a real collection of glass jars of animal exemplars, and a computer.
On his desk, he found a short note and assignment sheets from previous supervisor: “Hi, Nihilus, congratulations and welcome to CSI Coruscant branch. Hope you have a nice day here. The assignment sheets on the desk is for fellow CSIs: Mira, Visas Marr, Carth, and Malak. Here is their bio in their appropriate folders. Eh, that’s all. Have a great day.”
Nihilus then took a quick glance to the folders on the desk: there were 4 CSIs and with their photos.
After he finished, someone was knock the door. “Come in.” Nihilus didn’t even raise his head.
“Eh, Lumiya, what’s our assignment today?” A lady in dark red dress asked, “Wait…You’re not Lumiya!” Nihilus looked up: Eye cover. She must be a Miraluka.
Looked up, he noticed the red-haired woman he crashed on was behind the first woman, too. She can’t cover her surprise.
“Yeah, where is Lumiya?” A humanoid man with a red jacket asked. Nihilus noticed he had a artificial jaw.
“Oh, I recalled when I walked into here, all people are talking about the new supervisor, so you must be our new supervisor, right?” A mid-aged man with a good beard asked Nihilus.
“Yeah, I’m the new supervisor, and…why don’t we go to the conference room and have a short meeting? I haven’t introduce myself yet.” Nihilus said.
“Yeah, Sounds like a good idea.” Artifial jawed man said.
The five people went to the conference room. When everybody sat down, Nihilus stood up and said: “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Nihilus, I was transferred from Crime Lab Nar Shaddaa branch.”
The red-haired woman said, “Isn’t that the crime lab that solved the sniper case?”
The information passes so fast, Nihilus thought.
“That’s correct.” Nihilus answered reluctantly.
“That’s a great job. I like it.” The Miraluka said.
“Thank you. Eh…Why don’t you introduce yourselves? Eh, from you?” Nihilus nodded to the man with a good beard.
“My name is Carth Onasi. I worked here…” His speech was interrupted by the ring of Nihilus’s intercom.
“Excuse me,” Nihilus went outside to answer the intercom transmission.
Through glass, all people can see Nihilus is nodding and talking.
“Alright. Bye.” Nihilus hung up after some time.
“We’ve got company. Let’s cut this short and just tell me your names then we’re off to go, OK?” Nihilus announced, “A suspected suicide occurred.”
“Visas Marr.” The Miraluka said.
“Mira.” The red-haired one said.
“Malak,” the artificial jaw man said.
“OK, let’s grab our gear and meet at garage. Let’s go, let’s go!” Nihilus announced.
“He’s got an attitude. I like it.” Visas whispered to Mira.
In the back, Nihilus shouted: “And remember, a new CSI is going to join us!”
At night. Coruscant night was charming, but if you were not careful, deadly would be more appropriate.
One man loaded the last chemical chamber into his blaster.
With a quiet “click”, he closed the chamber. “My name is Weric Elsiri. I reside at 7642 Carpenter Street, City of Coruscant.” He said to his recorder, “I am 41 standard years old, and…” He sobbed and continued, “I’m going to kill myself.”
Holding the blaster, he walked slowly into the bathroom. The dimmed light rays from windows showed mysterious atmosphere.
Walking, he said to the recorder: “I’d like to say ‘I love you’ to my mother Rakef and my sister Lumel. I’m so sorry. I never wanted to put you through this. I just can’t do it anymore. I love you, Mom…”
Then the blaster shot echoed through the small bathroom.
The dark sky was cut into stripes by the squad speeders’ lights. The CSI’s speeder landed nearby. Nihilus disembarked the speeder.
“Here comes the nerd squad.” The detective, Arren Kae, told another detective.
“Lady and gentleman,” Nihilus greeted them after looked at the house for a while.
Nihilus walked into the crime scene: the bathroom along with Arren.
The victim lied in a bathtub, there was some blood spat on the wall beside him. Nihilus put down his kit, opened it, and took out a pair of gloves.
“Suicide.” Arren said.
“You think so, huh?” Nihilus replied.
“You got the sleeping bag for easy clean up the bathtub to catch the trace, huh, open window so the stench alerts the neighbors…God bless him.” Then she turned on the light.
“Oh, geez.” Arren coughed a little and sighed.
Nihilus said nothing; he was concentrated on his work. He took out a pair of forceps and picked up a small larvae. “Pupa, stage three.”
“Basic please. I’m not an entomologist.” Arren complained.
“It’s the third stage of larvae metamorphosis.” Nihilus observed, “This guy’s been dead seven days.”
“That’s a maggot, and he stinks.” Arren took a look at her watch, “Oh, good, it’s almost 11. Maybe if I’m lucky I can break out of here in time for a shot at the first rack in the Cantina.”
Nihilus noted and saw a recorder in the victim’s hand; he took it out and said: “I think we may have our suicide note.”
Arren just stood there and said nothing.
“I never wanted to put you through this,” At Rakef Elsiri’s home, Nihilus pressed “Play” of the recorder, “I just can’t do it anymore. I’ve lost hope. I love you, mom…” After the short note, a blaster shot came from the speaker of the recorder. It was loud enough to shock her and vic’s sister, Lumel.
“Oh, my god!” Lumel cried.
“Go upstairs, Lumel,” Rakef comforted her, after she ran upstairs, she continued, “This can’t be happening.”
“We’re so sorry about this, Ms. Elsiri,” Arren said sincerely, “I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you.”
“No, you don’t understand.” Rakef replied, “This is his picture, but that’s not my son’s voice.”
Exar Kun parked his speeder in front of the Crime Lab Coruscant Building. He entered the main gate and asked the receptionist: “Where is the supervisor’s room?”
“Sorry, we already got a new supervisor.” The Receptionist mistaken him as the new supervisor.
“No, I’m being hired here, so I think I’d better to see my new supervisor.” Exar explained.
“Oh, you’re the new guy. Just go straight, and make a left turn, third door. By the way, welcome to CSI Coruscant.” She smiled and revealed her trademark white teeth.
“Thank you.” He thanked the receptionist.
He walked to Nihilus’s office, and knocked the door. No one answering. “I’m entering,” he announced. Still no one replied. He pushed the door open, and was surprised to see the shelves with lots of examples of animals and plants. Fetus pig, Dead flies, sheep skeleton, human skeleton, unknown plants and more, more were kept in the glass jar.
“Hi.” A sound appeared behind Exar.
Exar gasped and turned back by reflex.
“Sorry.” Nihilus apologized and offered a handshake, “Welcome to Forensics. Nihilus. I’m your supervisor on night shift.”
“Exar Kun.” Exar shook hand with Nihilus, “Nice office.”
“Thanks. Would you mind taking of your jacket and roll up your sleeves?” Nihilus asked politely.
“What for?” Exar asked.
“I need a pint of your blood. It’s customary for all new hires.”
Nihilus scoffed: “So many reasons.” And helped him to take off his jacket.
“I haven’t clocked in yet,” Exar signed.
In the break room, Carth Onasi put a magnet marked “Solved” on a whiteboard full of cases.
“One more, baby, one more.” He chuckled and patted it.
“Hey. There he is. What’s up?” Malak appeared, and put another “Solved” magnet on another case, “99. You and me, dead heat.” He said amusedly.
Carth only smiled.
“Next crime solved gets promoted to CSI III, man.”
“Yeah, yeah, choice of shift, 8000 Credits raise, extra week vacation--”
Malak nodded and smiled.
“Oh, ho, it’s all about relaxing, bro.” Carth added.
“Twenty bucks, by the end of shift, I’m the man.” Malak imitated the Bartender in the Cantina.
“Is there anything you won’t bet on?” Carth frowned.
“Nope.” Malak smiled, “It’s Swoop Race Reason, man. I won eight of ten this weekend. Kilt ‘em. Outside the Swoopers and them punk-a** Trandos, I’m about 4K Reps.”
Carth only smiled, “What the line on us?”
“On us?” Malak chuckled, “I’m like tiger, man—I’m heavily favored.”
“Come on, give me a winner for tomorrow.”
“Ah, Flicker, minus seven and a half over niners.” Then he walked away.
“Um-Huh.” Carth answered, “Cool. Hey, good luck tonight, man.”
“Thanks. You, too, Carth. I hope you get that ‘trick roll’ case. You’ll never crack that in a shift, never.” He gave Carth a warm handshake.
Carth exploded out a laughter.
“Yeah, well, we’ll see, and I hope the Pack win by seven.” He added.
“We scrutinize the crime scene, collect the evidence, recreat what happened without ever having been there.” Nihilus said as he put the jar containing Exar’s blood, “Pretty cool, actually.”
“I just got out of the Academy—I already know this.”
“Of course you do.” Nihilus passed a bunch of paper and a pen, “Then if you’ll just sign these waivers for personal injury or becoming one with the Force in the line of duty, and we can begin our shift.”
When Exar was signing the paper, he felt a little dizzy. He moaned.
Nihilus noticed: “What’s the matter?”
“Um…I’m kind of light-headed.”
“Sit down, sit down.” Nihilus had Exar a seat, “You’re probably low on blood sugar.” Then he opened the fridge and took out a jar, “I’ve got just the thing. Here, try one of these.”
“No offense, but I don’t think I want to eat anything that’s been in this office.” Exar said.
Nihilus said nothing and still holding the jar.
Exar had to take one of the “food” out and examined it closely.
Nihilus took one and put it in the mouth, chewing.
“Is there a grasshopper in there?” Exar frowned.
Nihilus only smiled.
“When we get some free time, try and catch up on your reports.” Nihilus said on a lab meeting, “I’m getting a lot of heat from the Security Force’s Office. There, I said it: Administration, not my favorite thing. Alright, here we go.” And he began to read the assignment sheets:
“Carth Onasi, 414, trick roll.” Carth make a “Kill me” face when heard that, “Victim found drugged and robbed at the scene.”
Malak smiled in a relief.
“Malak, 407, home invasion, forced entry. Person reporting crime fired multiple rounds at the suspect. Suspect’s condition is unknown.” Nihilus paused, and asked, “Anyone seen Visas?”
In front of the lab, Visas just got to the front door—the traffic had driven her crazy.
In the supervisor’s office, Nihilus told Visas: “I suggest you go home and grab some rest. After reading your file, you worked too many double-shifts. Resting is very important. But remember, if we need you, I’ll let you know.”
Visas studied him for a while, then walked out of his office.
In Nihilus’s office, Nihilus told Exar: “Well, congratulations. You’re now officially an CSI. I think you need some experience for the first night. But I have an autopsy for the case (Remember the Chapter 0.5? He’s mentioning that case) You coming?”
“Another crime was being committed,” Malak commented when he and Mira walked into the house which a body lied on the hallway. He got good hit on head, and Mira noticed the door lock was broken.
“Yeah, and a waste of that good door.” Mira observed.
After they came in, Mira noticed a desperate husband and a lovable wife who is calming her baby.
Putting down the crime kit, Mira took a close look to the wife: he looked worried, concerned, and comforted her baby: “That’s okay. Shh.” Then she kissed her baby’s forehead.
“Madam, are you alright?” Mira asked.
“Yeah, she’s fine. She’s just shook up.” Her husband explained.
“Somebody want to tell us what happened here tonight?” Malak asked the husband.
“My wife invited her drunk friend to stay here so he could get back on his feet. Two week tops, she says. That was six months ago…” The husband brought Malak and Mira into the flashback:
The husband came into the meeting room and saw his wife’s drunken friend was laying on the sofa. His feet was on the head pillow.
“Jimmy, Jimmy!” The husband said, “Please take your sweaty feet off the head pillow. They stink.”
Then Jimmy threw a unknown object away, soon, a sound of glass break could be clearly heard.
Opening the front door, the husband pushed the drunken guy out, gave him his coat and twenty dollars: “Here’s a 20—twice as much as you came with. Hit the road.”
After a while, he came back and knocked the door furiously like a hungry beast was about to attack its victim.
“Open up!” He shouted while knocking the door—no, knocking is not the exact word, it’s like he was ramming the door.
The husband loaded a blaster for self-defense. His wife looked worried.
Jimmy attempted to open the door but in no vain. So he used his last resort—to kick the door open. After the door was open, the husband shot out a blaster beam, and Jimmy fell down—dead.
His wife screamed.
“Call 911.” The husband said calmly.
“That was it.” The husband finished, “I feared for my wife and my baby.”
Mira and Malak simply stared at him.
“Let’s put the baby to bed.” He comforted his wife.
His wife nodded rapidly in agreement then they walked away.
After looking at their backs, Mira asked Malak: “What do you think?”
“Oh, he’s lying.” Malak smiled, “That’s why I took this job.” He used a tape to get some sample on vic’s clothes; “I can always tell when Whitey’s talking out his a**. It’s a gift.”
“It’s also your 100th.” Mira raised her camera and lowered it.
“Yeah, that, too.” Malak felt amused, “So tonight you might say I’m extra suspicious.”
Mira raised her camera again and made a quick snapshot to the foot print on the door: “Why don’t you print that tread and see how good you are?”
Malak looked at Mira surprisingly. Then he accepted a tread sampling tape Mira gave him. Bending down, he took a sample of the victim’s foot print. Then he took the sample to compare to the print on the door.
“Why are you doing that?” The husband asked.
“It’s just procedure, sir.” Malak explained, “We’re just want to make sure the shoe on the suspect is the same shoe that kicked down your door.”
Mira noticed something: “Wait…Wait a minute.”
“What’s the matter?” Malak asked.
“Sir, after you shot the deceased, did you move, re-dress, or alter the body in any way?” Mira asked.
“No. Why?” The husband asked.
“Talk to me.” Malak still didn’t follow.
“The left shoe’s tied differently.”Mira explained, “Sir, in the six months that the victim lived with you, did you ever wear his shoes?”
Malak noticed it, too.
“No, why would I do that?” The husband asked.
“You willing to sign a statement to that effect?” Malak turned around to face the husband and asked him.
“Sure.” The husband replied.
“What happened to your pinkie toe?” Mira wrote something on her notepad.
The husband looked down and noticed his small toe was injured and tied a band-aid: “Oh, that. I tripped over a rattle.”
Malak and Mira just smiled and said nothing.
In the autopsy lab, Jolee Bindo agreed Nihilus and Exar Kun: “Hi.”
Nihilus replied: “Hi, what do we have here?”
“Mmm…I can see we have a new CSI, huh?”
“Oh, him. Yeah.” Nihilus introduced, “Jolee, Exar.” And they shook hands.
“Now this is the fun part,” Jolee said when he uncovered the corpse found in the bathtub.
Exar put on the mask because the smell was so disgusting.
“You got to breathe through your ears, Exar.” Nihilus said briefly.
“First dead body, Exar?” Jolee said amusedly.
“Yes, sir, but I’ll be okay.”
“I hate to put a damper on your night, Nihilus, but it looks like we got ourselves a homicide after all.” Jolee said.
“You see, if the victim had extended his arms like…” Nihilus noticed Exar didn’t follow, “Here, I’ll show you. Give me your hands.”
Nihilus grabbed Exar’s hands, and continued: “And pushed the trigger with his thumbs, like so…” Then he pressed Exar’s upholding thumbs, a blaster beam entered into victim’s chest and burning the nearby tissues.
“The wound would look like this.” Nihilus concluded, “The wound will be smaller, and no burning on the surface of the skin.”
“He’s right. This wound is too big.” Jolee agreed and observed, “This person was shot from six to seven feet away. It’s like somebody stood over him, and…” He formed a signal of firing a blaster, “Bam!” The blaster beam entered the wound and left a bigger wound.
“Criminal homicide,” Jolee concluded and held up the surgery knife, “Let’s see what the Force would have to say,” and then he began to cut the skin of the victim. A strong odor spread throughout the room.
Exar frowned and wrinkled his nose.
This slight movement didn’t escape Nihilus’s sharp eyes: “Are you okay?”
“I’m sorry, sir, I can’t take the smell. Oh, by the name of the Force, restroom?”
“Right down the hall to your right,” Jolee replied.
Exar nodded and hurried away.
“He’s cute.” Jolee observed.
Nihilus looked at him.
Exar ran down the hall, but still can’t find the restroom. He looked around and found the Hall of the Dead—a lot of corpses rest there. He could bear it no longer—and puked.
When he finished puking, he felt better. When he realized where he was, he was scared by the numerous number of corpses. Suddenly, he stepped on a cover, and the cover fell, revealing a deformed Rodian corpse beneath it.
Astonished, he attempted to open the door, but the door was locked.
“How soon does the Captain want that one out?”
“Eight hours.” Nihilus said without any thinking.
“Whoo!” Jolee proclaimed excitedly.
On the nearby view screen, Exar was pounding the door fiercely, too bad they could not hear the sound.
Turning around, he saw the deformed corpse was indeed laughing at him. He screamed: “Help! Somebody help me!”
Nihilus rushed over and opened the door for Exar.
“There were bodies! I can feel them breathing!” Exar’s sound rushed over Nihilus’s eardrums.
“That’s okay. That’s okay. I’m here.” Nihilus patted his back and shouted back to the corpses in the room, “You ********!” Then he turned back to Exar, “There. Okay?”
Exar only could smile embarrassingly.
Carth Onasi went to a hotel where the “Trick Roll” happened.
A waiter passed him, and he asked the waiter: “What’s up, fella? I got a call about a trick roll.”
“Right there, Room 1143.” The waiter replied.
Carth thanked him and walked into that room.
Some Security Force officers finished taking notes and were going to leave the scene.
“Hey.” Carth greeted them and looked at the victim who was sitting on the bed: “I’m Carth Onasi, with Criminalistics. You mind if I ask you a few questions?”
The victim shook his head and held out his palms: “She got everything, my wallet, my ID…Hell, she even got my wedding ring.” He showed his ring finger to indicate the vanished ring.
“Did you two have a nightcap?” Carth asked, “You think she could’ve slipped you something?”
“No. I can’t drink. I got this bum ticker.” He paused for a while and looked at Carth, “Look, officer, I…”
“Carth.” Carth took a seat, “You can call me Carth.”
“Carth, I…” the victim signed: “I love my wife. We’ve been married 31 years now. I’ve never cheat on her before. I come into this town for a convention and I’m setting in the lounge, minding my business, when this sweet-smelling Twi’lek came up to me and…Next thing I k now, she’s nibbling on my earlobe and…”
The victim walked out of a casino, holding a beer bottle. One Twi’lek came at him from the street. The duo walked into the room, and [Sorry, I don’t think it’s appropriate for PG class]…and the Twi’lek looked up to the window.
“For a second there, I thought I was your age again.” The victim finished.
“We’ve been seeing more and more of these the past 48 hours.” Carth comforted him. Then he took out a blue-lighted flashlight, “Open your eyes wide for me, sunny side up.”
After a brief observation to the victim’s eyes, Carth guided the vic, “Now say ‘Ah.’”
The victim did so and tucked out his tongue.
“Was she hot?” Carth joked.
The victim made a chucking moan.
“Attaboy.” Carth smiled, “Mr. Mukai, your eyes look okay, but I notice some discoloration around the inside of your lips. Have you always had that?”
Mukai looked into a mirror.
“No. What the h*** is that?”
“I’ll swab your gums see if we can find out that made you pass out.”
“You know, my first robbery solved was a store like this,” Nihilus dove the speeder onto a parking lot of a liquor store and looked at Exar, “When we caught the guy, the owner was so happy that he gave me a dozen farm fresh eggs out of his cooler.”
Exar frowned: “I never thought you’re here that long.”
“No, not here. Nar Shaddaa.” Nihilus explained.
“You’re trying to cheer me up, aren’t you?” Exar thought aloud. “Nice person,” He thought quietly.
“Yes, I am. How am I doing?” Nihilus blinked.
“Good. Ok, look, this was a routine robbery. Dust for prints, check the videotape, take lots of fun photos. I’ll be back in about an hour to pick you up.”
Exar nodded and thought: “Eh. This should not be difficult as I thought.”
“Okay.” Exar nodded and jumped out of the speeder.
“If you get done early, use Channel Seven.” Nihilus added.
Exar nodded while he watched Nihilus’s speeder vanished into the beautiful sky of Coruscant.
In the lab, one of Malak’s buddy walked into the lab. He was amazed the mess in the lab. He swept for Malak and finally found him at one of the microscope.
“Hey, rookie. Hair fibers from the home invasion. Take a look.” He moved away and signaled his buddy to take a look into the microscope, “Take a look. Tell me what you see.”
His buddy smiled and jumped onto the chair. He couldn’t miss the chance to be a CSI.
“I see a lot of things,” Under his eyes, he saw a lot of fibers.
“Look at the end of the follicles.”
He hesitated for a while, and took a close look, “Oh, yeah, you know, I see, like little tiny seeds or sacs or something.”
Malak nodded and thought: “Cute kid.” But instead he said, “That’s pulp when the human hair was yanked out like this.” He pulled a stray of hair from his buddy. The pain almost caused his buddy to jump.
“Aw, man! D***!” He complained.
“Nice reaction.” Malak thought again.
“Look, you see the seeds?” he indicated the white “seed” to his buddy, “Hair only comes out in that form when it’s yanked or pulled, signifying a struggle. You know what? I got to go.” He packed up his stuff and told his buddy, “Tell Nihilus when he gets back, I went to the Security Force to do a follow-up on the husband.”
“Now how long is this gonna take?” The owner complained when Exar was dusting for prints, “I’m losing business because of you.”
“Madam, I told you, if you let them in, it will contaminate the scene.” Exar hated this kind of people but he had no better idea to do otherwise.
“Oh, contaminate, my a**! What the h*** difference does it make? You ain’t gonna catch them! You never do!”
Exar signed: this is just getting better and better! I hate this kind of people!
“Sir, I’m on your side.” In the interrogation room in the Security Force Office, Malak told the husband, “I want to clear you.”
“Then clear me. I already told you everything.” The husband looked innocently.
“I understand that,” Malak held out his palms, “But the evidence is telling us something different.” Man. I trust evidence more than you. Malak thought. “So I’m going to ask you again, just one more time—before you shot the deceased, did a struggle ensue?”
When the drunken friend, Jimmy, broke in, “I have a gun,” the husband threatened. But Jimmy didn’t listen to him. Then a struggle began. The husband was pulling Jimmy’s hair and Jimmy’s left shoe stepped onto the husband’s left foot. Then Jimmy pushed the husband onto the ground. With a blaster fire, Jimmy fell down and his left shoe was off. The wife screamed and the baby went crying. “Call 911,” the husband said calmly after hurried to tie up the left shoe onto the victim.
“I must have tied the laces wrong. I’m sorry I’m wrong, but I know I should have told you earlier but…I was nervous. I mean…I took a man’s life here.”
Malak simply stared at him, but his brain was thinking: “Should I trust this guy or the evidence?”
“You don’t believe me, to you?” The husband’s sharp eye seemed to have penetrated through his heart.
Still, Malak said nothing and simply stared at him. He felt calmed because he decided to believe the evidence.
“This is Exar Kun requesting back up at Junkie’s on Sector West, over.” Exar said into his Intercom. His eyes wide, and his another hand reached into his lightsaber. “What the heck?! Man. This is not going to be okay…”
“This is Mira. Are you in danger?” Mira’s assuring voice replied.
“Uh, we’re getting there.” Exar was thinking of an appropriate phrase to answer. His forehead was filled with sweat and signed in irony.
“This is my Popsicle stand—I’ll defend it to the hilt if I have to!” The owner waved her modified blaster around and shouted at Exar. She means the surrounding—the messy ground with lots of empty shelves, dusted shelves, and lots of other mess.
Exar’s hand still on his lightsaber, but he thought: “Calm down, you the piece of… Don’t wave the gun at me! Put it away!”
“So, this is it, huh?” Carth looked at the speaker, who continued, “The $8000 Q-Tip.”
“Well, you’re the chemist. I just need to know what knocked the old man out.” Carth looked at the test tube speaker was holding, and thought: “Man.”
“In 20 seconds, this will give us a complete chemical breakdown right to the atom.” The speaker was Tahiti, the lab technician, “But I’m going to warn you, though. These mouth swabs don’t always read. Vaginal swabs, no problem. Anal swabs—money.”
“Anal swabs?” Carth frowned and thought: “What the hell is that?”
“Ouch.” Carth signed while Tahiti pressed some buttons on the machine and it began to whir quietly.
“Dude, you get NPL-3S for Dreamcast?” Carth asked when they were waiting for results. (NPL: National Podrace League) Boring, anyway.
“Yeah. Bought it the day it came out.” Tahiti answered, “Those graphics are killer, aren’t they? My team’s the Falcons. What do you use?”
Tahiti frowned and took the paper from the printer. Carth read it and said, “It didn’t take, did it?”
Tahiti shook his head: “A hint of saliva; some denture adhesive…That’s it. Sorry, man.”
“All right, put the blaster down.” Raising another blaster, Mira entered the Junkie’s store and said. What a hell night.“What! Who’s getting robbed again now?” The owner put down the blaster.
“Are you okay?” Mira asked Exar.
“Yes, madam.” He watched Mira took the owner’s gun.
“Control, Junkie’s is a Code Four.” Mira said into her intercom.
“Copy that.” The intercom said.
Mira put away the blaster and asked Exar: “You the new guy?”
“Yeah. Hi, I’m Exar Kun.” At last I saw a good person, right? No, Nihilus is the first.
“Hi, I’m Mira.”
“And I’m Meela Tavon. Let’s forget the formalities here! Which one of you people’s gonna clean my counter here?” The owner complained.
“Let me tell you something, lady—if you don’t care about catching the suspect, neither do we.” Mira’s sharp tongue worked out smoothly, “We’re out of here. You can pick your gun tomorrow.”
“You can do that?” On the way out, Exar asked Mira.
“No.” Mira chuckled wryly.
Behind them, Meela pushed the cash drawer back and screamed, “Aw.”
In the lab, Nihilus swung a wooden club onto a fake head. And the blood inside the head splat onto the white cloth behind it.
“D***!” A sound behind him.
Nihilus turned around and found Malak at the door. Malak was looking at the white cloth. Now there is a beautiful red flower blossomed on it.
“Blunt force trauma case. At the hotel. Pregnant wife caught her husband in bed with another girl.” Nihilus grabbed a camera and asked, “What you think? Malicious intent?”Nice flower, Malak thought. He said: “Little bit, yeah. How’s it coming?” Then he heard Nihilus pressed the shutter.
“It’s coming,” Nihilus put the camera away.
“Whose blood is that?” Malak pointed at the white cloth.
“The new guy’s. Would you like to donate?” If everyone donates 1 pint blood, then I’ll have enough blood to do experiments.
“Hell, no.” Malak frowned.
“How’d the follow-up go with the husband? Boe tells me you were onto something.” Nihilus sat down and wrote something on the record book.
“The story’s changed a bit. Now he says there was a struggle.” Malak looked away, “Said he stepped on his shoe while they were fighting.”
“You believe him?”
“At first, no. But now—I don’t know what to think.”
“Forget the husband, Malak. Forget about the assumptions. Forget about your promotion. These things will only confuse you. Concentrate on what cannot lie—the evidence. Follow the reason we’re having this conversation.”
“Follow the shoe.”
In the evidence processing room, Malak took out the shoe from the husband’s feet. He frowned as he smelt some odor from the shoes. Not a very good job to de-odorize this, Malak thought.
He sat back and took a close observe at it. It was just a normal shoe. Then he took it up and made a closer observe. He turned it over and over to find the slightest trace.
Turning it over and over, finally Malak was tired of this. He took a careful look at shoe lace and signed. No trace so far. Then he peered into the shoes despite the odor and his sharp eyes were searching for something. Something! There was something inside the shoe!
“Well, I’ll be damned.” He patted the bottom of the shoe, a plastic thing fell onto the desk.
Malak picked up that up using forceps and scoffed: “Tripped over a rattle, my ass.”
In the Fingerprinting Lab, Traya put down the holocron recorder under a UV light to reveal a white impression with lots of ridges. Fingerprint: “Remember this from your suicide case? Minute I pulled it, I knew something wasn’t right.” She made a pause, “The impression is perfect—maybe too perfect.”
Then Traya put it down into the microscope and called Nihilus: “Take a glance.”
Under the microscope, Nihilus saw some red dots: “What are those red particles?” Funny, what are those red dots? Looks like the pressure point on the bombs. Nihilus joked.
“Protective gloves, maybe…but the way I figure it, this guy is smart—probably planted these prints.”
“So on a hunch, I chemically tested the flakes. Guess what it was laced with?”
Nihilus shook his head and signaled her to go on.
“The chemical’s found in cooking spray?” Nihilus looked away and thought aloud, “If latex rubber and cooking spray went on a blind date, how would the night end?”
“A lot better than ours did.”
“I know, Pink Floyd’s not your thing.”
“I have on Security Force boots.” Traya said, “I work in the lab. What makes you think Heart of the Guardian and the Mantle of the Force is going to warm my barn?” (She refers to books, Heart of the Guardian and the Mantle of the Force.)
“I just thought it’d be something different.” Nihilus said wryly.
“You want to be different?” She signed, “Well, you’re still too early to hear that. You’re slacking, pal.” Then she sat back to the computer and work on the prints.
“How long is it going to take?” Nihilus asked.
“Maybe four minutes, maybe four days, but you can bet on yourself that she’ll give you something.” Traya shook her head, “She always does.”
“Look, um, I got to be honest.” Exar signed: What a hell day! “This isn’t me. I was pushed into it by my mom. She’s a lieutenant in Security Force. She’s never going to get out of fighting with criminals, so um, I’m fulfilling her dreams, not mine.”
“I can sit here and I can baby you and I can tell you to quit,” Mira sat up, “But I’m not going to do that, because I really love my job. We’re just a bunch of kids that are getting paid to work on puzzles. Sometimes there is a piece that’s missing.” Mira closed her eyes, yup, hell of a day. “Sometimes we solve it in one night.”
“But do you think I should stick with it?”
“Stick with it? The Security Force?” Mira signed and stared into Exar’s eyes, “Forget it. They would not know fingerprints from paw prints and the detectives…chase the lie. We solve. We restore peace of mind and when you’re a victim, that’s everything. Stick with it. At least until you solve your first and if after that you don’t feel like Rancor on Death Stick, then you can quit. But if you stay with it, my hand to the Force, you will never regret it.”
“Mira, cut your lunch short.” The intercom cut in inappropriately, “You got a 428.”
“If you want me to call the Judge at 4:00 in the morning show me more than a toenail.” Arren snapped.
“Detective, you’ve got to make that call.” Malak snapped back, “If you don’t, he’ll walk.”
“And what do you got? Hair fibers. Big deal. So there was a struggle. I mean, who gives a corn cob? The guy was protecting his wife and kid.”
“I’ve got the toenail.” Malak was quite mad at Arren’s attitude, “If I can get a warrant and match the husband’s shaving to his toe, I can prove that the suspect’s foot was inside the victim’s shoe. That alone will establish it was a murder.”
“The guy lived there, Malak. Maybe he put on the victim’s sneaker and fetched the paper one morning.” Arren was mad, too.
“I have a sworn statement stating he never wore the victim’s shoe.” Malak’s voice raised up.
“You don’t even know the toenail was the vic’s.” Arren shouted back.
“It can’t be the vic’s. He was wearing socks.”
“Not good enough!”
“Not good enough?”
“Look, I said no, Malak, damn it!”
Malak nodded and grasped the paper from Arren’s desk. The phone rang ironically.
“We’re not done, Malak.” Arren pointed at Malak, “You stay right there.” Then she pressed the button, “Detective Kae.”
“We’ve got a name on the suicide case, madam. He’s local.” Nihilus said.
“He’s local, good. I’ll phone the judge for a warrant.” Arren looked at Malak.
Malak’s expression shifted from astonishment to scoffing.
“Hey, Malak, I guess we’re all done now.” She posed a fake smile, “do you mind closing the door behind you? I’m gonna make an important call.”
Malak scoffed at Arren and slammed the door behind him and shut Arren’s voice (“We’ll talk about your little foot fetish later.”) behind the door.
In the office, Arren picked up the headset and said, “My Honor, please…”
Carth Onasi walked into an accident site. What on Coruscant dispatch called a CSI for a normal accident? Carth wondered.
“Hi, Carth. A Human female, mid-20s. Thought you might want to check it out.” A Security Force officer said to Carth.
“All right. Thanks, brother.”
Carth approached the wrecked land speeder and found a woman sitting in the cockpit: “Hi. Carth Onasi. Criminalist. Mind if I take a look?” He took out a blue-ray flashlight and noticed she was injured on her forehead.
The woman regained consciousness and responded: “I don’t know what happened. All I remember was the music that was playing on the radio.” Then she frowned, still looking a little dizzy, “I don’t remember passing out.”
“Say ‘ahhh...’” Carth instructed.
“You know, ahhh…” Carth tried to explain with mouth open and made a interesting face of stuck out his tongue and smiled.
The woman chuckled and opened her mouth gently: “Ahhh…”
Carth looked into her mouth: “No discoloration.” Then he noticed her head injury, “I don’t see anything criminal here.”
Then he said to a Security Force officer: “Take her to a hospital and have her checked out.”
Outside the Judge’s home, Malak was sitting in his speeder and sighed: “Well, might as well roll the dice; take that a**-whooping.” Then he threw his lightsaber into his glove box. When he got off, he noticed a Security Force’s speeder whooshed down, with siren blaring.
Malak sighed and turn around to see two officers climbed out of the speeder: “Police!” Each one had a small blaster in his hand. Perfect. The Security Force never appear in appropriate time. Malak thought.
“Put your hands on top of your head and walk backwards towards me.”
Malak said nothing and obeyed their order. What a hell day! Malak thought. He lowered his head and turned around, with his hands behind his head and tried to clarify himself: “I’m ID. Check the badge. I’m from the Criminalistics.”
One officer walked slowly towards him and said, “Keep your mouth shut and follow my instructions. Now get down on your knees.”
The Judge just came out in time.
Malak protested quite loudly: “I’m not getting down on my knees for anybody. You can shoot me.”
The officer looked a little irritated: “I said get down on your knees!”
“Hey!” The Judge said to the officers.
Malak looked at the Judge in disbelief and scoffed.
“What the hell are you doing? That’s Malak from the ID! Put your blasters away.” The Judge clarified for Carth.
“Sorry, Judge. We got a call about a man outside your house. We responded.” The officer replied.
“All right. You caught him. Congratulations.” The Judge smiled wryly and said, “Clear out of here before you wake the neighbors.”
“Yes sir.” Then the officer called into the intercom: “Dispatch, please be advised the Judge’s residence, a Code Four: false alarm.” Then they flew away quietly.
“Malak, what the hell are you doing?”
“I’m sorry, Judge.” Malak shrugged, “Captain Kae won’t call you for a search warrant. I got a whopper on the line with a 100-pound test.”
“You got a winner for me?” The Judge smiled and said, “I’ll make it worth your while, you give me a name.”
“The Bird.” Malak replied.
“Oh, I knew it. Listen, kid, I’ll make a deal with you. You put 5000 Republic Credit on the pack for me, I’ll give you a blank warrant. All I ask is that you have the ticket in my chambers before kickoff. You do that, I’ll square it with your Captain.” Judge said.
“No problem, Judge.” Then they shook hands.
“A Staged Suicide.” The suspect said to Arren, who was walking around him, “You’re kidding, right? I swear on my kids that I never seen that man in my life before.”
“Then how the hell did your fingerprints wind up at the scene?” Arren bent down and stared at him into his dark eyes, “We talked to the family. The deceased didn’t even know any Corron Horwalker’s.”
“Oh, I…” The door was open and Nihilus walked right in. “Hi, Detective.” Nihilus greeted Arren Kae. She looked at Nihilus as he was the actual suspect.
“Would you mind if I…” Nihilus pointed at Corron Horwalker, who was being interrogated by Arren Kae.
“Oh, you want a whack at him, Nihilus, be my guest.” Arren shrugged.
Corron said nothing; instead his eyes stay fixed on a dark spot on the table.
“Hi, Mr. Horwalker, my name is Nihilus.” Nihilus offered Corron a handshake and Corron accepted it, “I work in Criminalistics.”
Corron’s eye widened. He never saw any officials so kind to people.
“May I ask you a few questions?” Nihilus’s kind request broke the thinking of Corron.
“Do you have any hobbies? Like make model airplanes, make toys, wind chimes for the backyard, that sort of thing?”
What the hell is this question for? Corron wondered. “No. Why?” Corron asked.
“Well, we found some particles of latex on your thumbprint.” Nihilus’s dark eyes showed that he meant no harm. “Would have any reason to have access to that particular substance?”
“Well, yeah. Sure. At-at my job.” Corran replied.
A while later, Corran led Nihilus and other people into a warehouse. First he saw is rows and rows of shelves of sculptures, both finished and unfinished. Some were even covered with clothes. The light turned on, and it revealed a lot of sculptures like the Halloween on Earth.
“Wow, you made all these?” Nihilus admired.
“Yes, sir, everything from scratch.” Corran responded proudly, “We mold, carve, shape, paint and authenticate.”
“Excellent work.” Nihilus admired while he touched one of the rubber heads, “These seem very real.”
“You ever made rubber hands?” Nihilus asked.
“Sure, we do, uh…” He looked around to find the hands.
Arren was taking a careful look at a monster’s head (Like Frankenstein’s) and put it back. Nicely done. She thought.
Corron bent down and drag a carton out and opened it. Nihilus saw there were a lot of rubber hand and arm cut-offs, with fake blood on them. Then Corron handed Nihilus one of the replicas and said: “This is our best seller, right here. Sold 10,000 of those units last festival. Even used my own hand for the mold.”
“These are your prints.” Nihilus thought out aloud.
“Yeah, why? What does that mean?” Corran asked.
“It means you’re free to go.” Nihilus said at last, “He’s not the guy.”
“Nihilus, are you sure?” Arren asked.
“That explains the latex and the lecithin. You need oil to make a print.” Nihilus used the Force to illustrate: Using a latex glove, someone was painting oil onto the fake hand. The oil spreads everywhere. “Anyone who purchased one of these hands could be the killer and what is worse, he’s proficient in forensics.”
Still holding the fake hand, Nihilus fell quiet and his brain began to work.
Later, Malak’s speeder raced down onto the crime scene. His mood was reflected in his driving for he drove a little too fast and he was silent. He was still seething with rage against Arren when the speeder pulled up to the crime scene. The scene was protected by two Security Force speeders with flashers on. The neighbor looked unsavory but what do you expect in a sprawling metropolis?
“Sorry you gotta baby-sit,” Exar apologized to Malak when he stopped his speeder. Exar may be the newbie but he was smart enough to know when to leave well alone. Malak thought.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, too.” Malak nodded and said to his intercom: “Control, P-4422 arrived.”
Dispatch responded: “OK, go inside.”
Then he instructed Exar, “Dust for prints, make sure you take plenty of photographs…”
“Photographs. Be thorough. Don’t worry. Nihilus told me that.” Exar smiled. After the incident in the mini mart, he felt ready for anything. He thought nothing could be worse than that.
“Good. Look, I gotta run an errand. You okay for your own?” Malak asked Exar. Malak knew he wasn’t supposed to leave the newbie alone and he was under orders to shadow Exar but he also had his word to the Judge. At first he thought nothing of it as he watched Exar get out.
“You kidding? I’m fired up, ready to go.” Exar said happily. It was his first time in the field, so he was very excited, “Besides, there is a Security Force officer here.” Though the neighborhood was not the best part of town, Exar felt okay. It was going to be a piece of cake.
Malak nodded as Exar disembarked the speeder. “I have a bad feeling about this,” became a nagging thought as Malak drove away.
Exar watched Malak pulled away and walked towards the scene. He sighed, and tried to clear his head out a lot of things. It was going to be a busy night.
At the husband’s house, Nihilus knocked the door and the door was opened by the husband. With the mask on the face, Nihilus said professionally, “Good morning. Nihilus, Forensics. I’m taking over the case for Malak. Mind if I come in?”
“How can I help you?” The husband let out a deep sigh, his irritation apparent.
“I need to give you a pedicure.” Nihilus explained. If it were any other occasion, it would have been a funny situation for Nihilus was not prone to being funny on purpose.
“Come again?” The husband asked confused. He had a strong suspicion that Nihilus knew something.
“I have a warrant for your toenails.” Nilihus had a serious expression on his face. All that mattered was the evidence.
“A warrant? What? Am I a suspect?” The husband let Nihilus in and read the warrant carefully.
Nihilus walked in and studied the surroundings carefully. He knew Malak would have done a thorough job near the door. He pushed Malak from his thoughts as he went to collect his evidence.
“I already gave you a sworn statement,” The husband replied with annoyance.
“A statement is just a public record of your version,” Nihilus clarified, “We still need proof.” Then he noticed the concerned wife walking into the living room. She looked scared and nervous, almost as if she knew something was not right.
The husband turned his head and looked at her for a few seconds, then turned to Nihilus again, “Well, I’d love to help you, but I already cut them.” He had a smug look on his face as if he thought he was going to get out of this.
“May I see where you discarded the clippings?” Nihilus asked politely. Well, this is not a good thing, at least not a clean thing to do. Nihilus frowned slightly but gave nothing away.
“I flushed them down the toilet.”
Nihilus’s heart sank when the husband said that. He cursed the husband a thousand times in his heart. Then he thought of something. With professional courtesy that could provoke anger, he asked, “May I see your toilet?”
Opening the refresher door, Nihilus turned on the light. The husband waited at the door curious and nervous but Nilihus took no notice of it as he approached the toilet. Nihilus lifted the toilet seat and bent down to study it closely. I hate this but I gotta follow the evidence, Nihilus thought.
The husband smiled slightly after watching Nihilus bending down. How do you think you’re gonna find them? Dig them? the husband wondered, this CSI was different from the other one. He was persistent, too persistent.
Finally, Nihilus stood up and walked toward the husband. Stopping, he said, “I’ll be right back.” As he walked to his speeder, an idea forming in his mind.
He returned a little while later with a UV light system and proceeded back to the refresher, ignoring the look that the husband was giving him. He took the UV light system into the refresher, turned the light off, and lit the UV system. Blue* light filled the tiny room. Nihilus, with his trademark mask on, said politely to the husband, “Excuse me.” With a polite smile, he closed the door in the husband’s face.
Nihilus went down on hands and knees and used the UV light to search the floor carefully. When he hit the mat in front of the toilet, he found something strange. With a practiced hand, he held the light while he took out a pair of forceps and picked it up—a cut toenail. Never underestimate a CSI, Nihilus smiled.
“Nope, loser.” Nihilus was in the lab with the tech looking into the microscope and comparing the cut toenail, “Give me the next item up for bid.”
The tech looked into the evidence bag and used the forceps to pick another toenail under microscope. He had a disgusted look on his face as he handed the clipping over. “It’s nasty,” he remarked.
“No, striation. Whenever two objects are broken, there occurs what we call striate—two unique connecting points.” Nihilus didn’t look away from his objects, “If I can match the nail in the sneaker to the suspect’s clippings…” He cut off his reply. Smirking, he exclaimed, “By the Name of the Force!”
They had their man.
“The brother was right, wasn’t he?” The tech asked excited.
“Uh-huh.” Nihilus nodded and snuck his tongue out as he peered closer into the scope.
“Yeah!” the tech jumped up and began dancing.
“Careful, you’ll hurt your back.” Nihilus let a smile show. Malak had been right. If only he kept his mind on the evidence, he thought. He left to go have Arren make the arrest.
At the Coruscant cantina, Malak parked his speeder in front of a booth. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right but he had to do this. He owed the Judge.
“What’s up, man?” The booth agent asked in a semi bored voice.
“Gimme Packers.” Malak replied, ignoring the tone of voice.
“Malak, come in.” The intercom shouted. OK, whoever is calling, this is not a good time to, Malak thought. Sighing, he picked up the comm and replied, “This is Malak. Go ahead.”
“It’s Nihilus. We got him.”
“Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo, yeah!” Malak cheered, “I’ll be right there.”
“Who do you want now?” The booth person asked again.
“Gimmie Niners for Five hundred credits.” Malak had been distracted by the call that he gave the name of the wrong team. It would later prove to be disastrous in his dealings with the Judge. He thought none of this as he collected his ticket and raced down towards the suspect’s home.
At the house, Nihilus and Malak watched the arrested husband to the squad speeder. In their minds, they put together what had happened based on the evidence they collected.
The husband loaded up the blaster while Jimmy was banging the door, “Open up!” Then the husband said calmly, “open the door.”
“What are you gonna do?” The frightened wife asked.
“Don’t ask questions.” The husband replied, “Don’t ask questions, just open the door.”
“You son of a b****!” Jimmy walked in.
With three blaster shots, the husband shot Jimmy and he was killed instantly.
Pointing the blaster at the dead, he made sure that he was the one with the Force. Then he took off Jimmy’s left shoe and attempted to put it on. During that, he broke the toenail.
“Do it!” He ordered his wife to walk away. Then he went out and locked the door with his key. Taking a calming breath he then kicked the door open to create the self-defense scene.
“Hey, weren’t you supposed to be shadowing Exar?” Nihilus asked Malak as they were standing there. Something wasn’t it right and he had to know.
“Oh, he’s cool. He’s doing prints on that 407.” Malak replied calmly, “There is an officer there.” Then he patted Nihilus’s back and walked away, “I’m on.”
Nilihus watched as Malak walked away. He had the distinct impression all was not right, that something bad may have happened to their new guy. Something is not right, Nihilus thought. I have a bad feeling about this.
Exar was dusting for prints on a telephone in the robbery case. It was simple enough and should be an easy case. There were prints all over the room. He didn’t notice when a man walked in quietly and said, “Excuse me, sir,”
“Hi, sir, eh, can I help you?” Exar cleaned his sweat on his forehead. He tried not to show any fear. Civilians weren’t allowed to crime scenes but this guy didn’t seem like a civilian. It sent the hairs on his neck prickling.
“I’m the neighbor from across the way and I just saw a Squad speeder leave. Is everything okay?” The man appeared to be concerned and sincere.
“Yeah, we had a robbery, but everything is fine.” Exar appreciated the gesture but that tingling feeling wasn’t going away. The best he could do was play it cool.
“Oh, okay.” The man gave a smile and made to turn and leave.
Exar smiled back and hurried back to his work, obvious to the fact that the man didn’t leave.
The “kind” neighbor reached behind him to reach the blaster that was resting in the waistband of his pants.
At the hotel, Carth Onasi knocked Mukai’s room door. He had a satisfied smile on his face and waited until Mukai opened the door. With a smile, Carth said, “Room service.” Still smiling, Carth handed Mukai a package.
“You’re kidding me.” Mukai flung open the door and gently took the package. Then he opened the package. “My stuff! You found my stuff!” Mukai was excited. He didn’t think that he would ever see his stuff, especially his wedding ring.
“Yeah, yeah, your wallet, your cash, credit cards…and wedding ring.” Carth showed him his wedding ring.
“Oh! Thank you!” Mukai thanked Carth and placed his wedding ring right where it belonged.
“Ok, next time you wanna take a shot, go to a dice table. At least if you crap out, you can go home broke instead of busted, you know what I mean?” Carth smiled.
“I sure do. Thank you very much,” Mukai replied with gratuity in his voice. It seemed that kindness was still a norm in the galaxy, even in this part of town.
“Congratulations, Carth, my boy. You’re now a CSI level III,” Nihilus said and showed Carth his new badge.
“Whoo!” Carth raised his hands in a prizefighter victory.
“Good job, Carth.” Malak gave his praise with good form.
“Thanks. Uh, hey, Malak, listen, I heard about the whole thing with the shoe and…” Carth was trying to be the good friend and show sympathy.
Malak stood up and shook Carth’s hand. “Forget it, man. It’s all you.” Malak meant every word of it. Nilihus was right. He showed have kept his mind on the case and the evidence.
“Thanks.” Carth said.
“Let’s get some breakfast. It’s on me!” Mira said.
Their celebration was cut short when Arren walked in and put a dampner on things. “Sorry to break your party but I need grave to pull a double,” she said, “Exar Kun has been shot. He’s in hospital now. Apparently the suspect returned to the scene.”
Not a word was spoken. The only thing apparent was the look of astonishment mingled with grief and in one’s face, guilt.
“They don’t think he’s gonna make it.” Arren added, “Malak, I’m putting you on administrative leave pending a full report on your whereabouts. So wash your face and change your socks.” Malak’s face shifted from surprise to angry, but Arren ignored it. She directed her comment to the rest of the group, “You have a long day ahead of you.”
Nick sighed and threw his new badge on the table. Malak shook his head, the guilt burnt in his ears. Nihilus said nothing.
Next day, the HoloNet broadcasted the shooting. Everyone was watching it in the break room. The announcer spoke, “Tragedy struck early this morning when an on-duty Coruscant Criminalist was brutally gunned down.” Mira and Carth sighed and covered their eyes while the announcer continued, “It was his first night on the job. Victim Exar Kun was investigating a robbery/homicide in an apartment on the corner of Coruscant and Commerce. The crime lab now faces the daunting task of investigating the shooting of one of their own. The wounded CSI has been taken to Jedi Memorial Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.”
Malak was watching the HoloNet standing behind Carth and Mira. He felt guilty and it was eating him alive.
“The suspect is still at large…” Ignoring the rest of the broadcast, Mira turned to Malak, “Weren’t you supposed to be shadowing Exar?”
“Malak, man, what happened?” Carth asked him kindly.
“I left him to hook up with Nihilus on that toenail case, and then, I came back here.” Malak sighed.
“You left Exar solo?” Mira asked with an incredulous look on her face. Newbies had to be shadowed until they were confident enough to go solo.
“It was just supposed to be an easy print job. Look, I feel bad enough, okay?” Malak responded in slight agitation. Things were bad.
Mira and Carth said nothing more when Nihilus came walking in. After watching them a few seconds, Nihilus announced, “Here is what we know: Arren assigned Malak to shadow Exar on a robbery. He left him at the scene. The suspect returned and Exar was shot. The Security Force told me earlier this morning, Arren went back to Security Force.”
“Who’s going to run the unit?” Carth asked.
“For now? Me.” Nihilus said.
Carth sighed and Mira looked as if she had been bitten by a gizka. Nilihus noticed and tried to reassure the team, “I know. We’ll just play it by ear, okay?” Taking a brief glance at Malak, he continued, “All right. Here we go…” He began to read the case briefs. When he was finished handing out the assignments, he stated the obvious though no one said anything, “It’s time to let Visas come back. We need her.”
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