Sheldon Cooper liked routine, and order. A dead body in his office was not in the schedule. He'd remember that sort of thing, he was sure of it.

He couldn't recall her name, but the face was familiar. Under the swelling and the marks of asphyxia, anyway. She was one of his graduate students. Always flitting around with casseroles and cupcakes. There was what looked to have been a rather tasty chocolate cake spread over his floor and desk right now. A dark smear of frosting disfigured a whiteboard, and a distant part of his mind wondered how he would rescue the equation beneath.

Dimly, he was aware of the gasps and screams behind him, the running feet, the gabble of voices.

The last thought through his mind before it all went black was "Not another one..."


The senior detective was a big black man, with the grim demeanour of a cop who'd seen the worst the job had to offer. His name was Turner. His partner was thus known to most of the precinct as 'Hooch', but his real name was Landry. Spiky brown hair and blue eyes, he was looking into the distance with an intense stare and a grim set to his jaw. Turner eyed him sideways.

"What you thinking about?"

"Pizza." Landry said, promptly. "Unless you want to stop at the drive-by. Hey, you know what they call a quarter-pounder with cheese in Paris?"

Turner glared at him.

"If you start that shit up with me again, I'm gonna shoot you in the ass."

Landry grinned, unintimidated, then sobered.

"So, this makes a third." He leafed through the file in his hands. "Same M.O. as before. Ligature strangulation, thin cable, a generic brand, no other signs of assault."

Headshots of three young women. Gretchen Peters. Bethany Wells. Ilsa Nyman. Gretchen had worn glasses, Bethany had had brown eyes, but they were all varying degrees of blonde, they were all students at Caltech, and they were all dead.

"Gretchen Peters was discovered by a couple of mothers with their kids by the edge of Grant Park. Bethany Wells was clear over the other side of the campus, in the parking lot by the gym. Ilsa Nyman... was found in this guy's office. A couple of cleaners found him standing over the body."

"Do we like him for this?"

"I guess we talk to him, find out if there is any connection besides the workplace."


Half an hour later, Landry walked out of the room and leant against the wall. Turner followed him, and the two men looked at each other.



"I...just – wow. Is he real?"

"Shock makes some people a" Turner didn't sound entirely convinced.

"Last time someone presented me with JLA credentials, he was running round the Rosebowl in his underpants and a bedsheet, claiming to be Batman. He was five."

"Okay, yeah. The literal card-carrying geek squad thing was whacked. But you picked up the important thing?"

"He knew the victim."

"Hell yes he knew the victim. She'd been bringing him homebaked goods for a few weeks, and he didn't recall her name?" Consulted his notebook. "'I can't be expected to remember every labradoodle that follows me around.' I think we're gonna need to take a closer look at Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper."