Caprica City is my home. There are few places like it anywhere in the Twelve Colonies. From its magnificent towers of the business district that point high into the sky like concrete trees to the quieter suburban districts on the outskirts of the city it is a spectacular sight to behold. It's true what they say in that Caprica is the home of art and culture within the colonies of man but the truth is that hidden beneath all the finery and beauty of the city there is a darker side. It is the opposite end of the same coin. It is a world of greed, corruption, vice, extremism and crime where life is as cheap here as it is on any of the other colonies. We all have a side of the coin that we exist on and we all have to ask that question 'Where do I exist?'
My answer is the edge of the coin separating both sides. I exist in the grey between order and chaos. I work for an organization called the Global Defence Department or GDD. I live in the glory of Caprican society but I experience its darker underbelly on daily basis. It goes with the territory.
"Agent Jack Bowman, GDD," I announced to the petite young Police officer standing beside the window of my car. I handed her my ID and after she was satisfied with it she gave it back before signaling for her colleague to open the cordon and allow me to drive through.
"Bowman!" a voice shrieked from the crowd of onlookers as I started to pull off. I deliberately ignored the man's voice and proceeded onwards through the cordon. I knew who he was. He was a reporter with The Caprica Herald whom I had met numerous times before. I had found him to be a useful source at times but there always came a price and so I made it a point to only speak to him if I needed something and not the other way round.
Passing through the cordon I found myself driving down a long street in a predominantly Gemonese district. In recent years there had been an influx of immigrants from that colony due to the recession that had hit their economy hard. Most of them had quickly taken over areas of the suburbs where the belief was that there was strength in numbers. Immigration to Caprica was becoming a growing political concern as violence against non-Capricans was steadily increasing.
I parked my car on the side of the road and stepped out onto the rain soaked tarmac. The night was now firmly set upon the city and a cold winter's chill blew through my suit causing me to shiver before buttoning up my jacket to keep out the cold. Leaving my car I walked forward towards the small cafe where several Police officers were huddled around talking. Just across the road was a parked Ambulance with two paramedics inside who looked enormously bored as they waited for the Police to give them the word so they could collect the body that I knew was still laying inside undisturbed.
As I approached the group of officers I took out my ID and once again I announced myself. "Agent Jack Bowman, GDD. Who is in charge please?"
"Well that would be me," croaked a voice from inside the shop. It belonged to a rather broad middle aged man wearing a long jacket that covered most of his body and made me envious that I had not brought my own given the low temperature.
"And you would be?" I asked.
"Detective Franks. Caprica City Police, 3rd District. Sorry to drag you out here like this but you guys have insisted we call you for crap like this ever since that Maglev bombing a few weeks ago."
It was clear from his tone of voice and by the looks I was getting from the officers that everyone had been waiting on my arrival so they could get on with their jobs rather than just standing around on a cold night. I guessed I hadn't arrived quick enough to satisfy their impatience. No matter. The two of us went through the motion of shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries but the feelings were as cold as the night air.
"Well let's get on with this shall we?"
"Sure thing," said Franks. "It's in here." I followed Franks through the door of the cafe as I listened to him explain what had happened. The cafe was small and quite cramped with the tables and chairs arranged quite close together, a Gemonese custom I believe although the logic behind such an arrangement has always escaped me. "The victim had been sat at his table for about five minutes when he was shot. The killer came in and deliberately approached the victim. Witnesses reported that the killer asked him his name before casually pulling out a gun and blowing him away before walking out like he had just picked up his take-out."
Franks stood aside to allow me to view the body. It was spread across the floor in the gap between two rows of tables near the window that looked out onto the street. It was lying on its left side and staring blankly forward. As the body had fallen it had dragged the chair that the victim was sitting on and was now on its side behind the victim's legs. I stepped over the chair and positioned myself behind the body.
"Do you have an ID on him yet?" I asked as I stood looking down, examining it with my eyes.
Franks looked into his notebook before explaining, "There was no formal ID on the body but some of the witnesses we interviewed have him as a Richard Fournier. According to the owner he started coming into the cafe about two weeks ago saying that he had just arrived from Gemenon and was looking for some work. We checked with immigration and they have no record of this guy coming on-world so we're assuming he's an illegal."
"So somebody knew he was here," I uttered. "Have your guys finished with it?"
"It's all yours," said Franks twisting his head to the side. I reached into my jacket pocket and took out a pair of rubber gloves that had sat next to a portable Dictaphone I carried with me. I proceeded to place the gloves on my hands and once they were firmly on I knelt down beside the body and began to examine it closer. The victim was wearing rather worn looking denim trousers and a dirty beige jacket over a thick red sweater. He had quite a thick mop of bushy brown hair that passed over the back of his neck and his face had at least five days worth of facial hair.
Kneeling beside the body I took out the Dictaphone from my pocket and held it to my lips before pressing 'REC' and I began speaking into it.
"Victim is approximately thirty five years of age. Attire suggests limited access to additional clothing or adequate laundry facilities."
I pulled the body over onto its back and looked into its lifeless eyes. The left side of the victim's face was stained pink and red with blood that had oozed from the bullet wound in the centre of the forehead just above the eyes. The first time I had experienced a dead body like this was back when I was an ordinary cop in Delphi. I remember looking at the more experienced officers working with me and thinking I could never be as callous as them and yet here I was, twelve years later with a murder victim and all I can think about is preparing a report and getting ready to go home to my wife and son. Yes this man was once alive and probably has family and friends, maybe even children, but you can't dwell on it or you'd never be able to do your job.
"Victim was shot at point blank range. Judging from the size and entry pattern of the wound coupled with reports from witnesses which states that a hand gun was used I would estimate that the weapon was military standard."
"Military!" gasped Franks which caused me to stop the Dictaphone.
"Yes," I replied. "I've seen very similar wounds such as this in a previous case. I'd say we're looking at possibly an M-408 sidearm like the ones pilots do carry."
"So what are we looking at here?" asked Franks who seemed to get a little more agitated at the thought of military weapons on 'his' streets. "Was this a hit by the Gemonese government? Could he be some kind of political prisoner looking for asylum?"
"I wouldn't subscribe to a conspiracy theory just yet, Detective. Military weapons have made their way into the hands of most organized criminal factions over the years. The type of weapon is no guaranteed clue on whoever did this and why."
Setting aside the Dictaphone I proceeded to examine the victim's hands before pulling up the sleeves of his jacket. There were numerous things to look for, too many to list but there were some in particular I was half hoping to find. Finding nothing on his hands and arms I rolled the victim back onto his side so that his back was facing me once more. I lifted up the bottom of the jacket before pulling the sweater up to examine the bare skin of the victim's back.
"Sweet Aphrodite!" gasped Franks as he looked on. The victim's back was filled with scars that criss-crossed one another. Some were quite fresh while others were at least two or three years old. "Looks like someone whipped the crap out of him."
"Self inflicted," I added as I stared at them and tried to imagine how they were made. "Look at their dispersal pattern. If these were caused by someone else then the lashes would be more centralized along the spine but these are actually concentrated either side of it. He couldn't reach all the way around as he did it."
"He did it to himself! What kind of frakking psycho would do that?"
I didn't answer the Detective although I knew the truth. I pulled down the sweater and jacket to cover up the scars once more and looked further up the victim's body. I noticed the thick hair covering the back of the victim's neck once more and so, acting on nothing more than a hunch, I brushed it aside to reveal a very small tattoo. The tattoo vaguely resembled a horizontal figure eight and was no bigger than my thumbnail.
From his viewpoint, Franks couldn't make out what I was so interested in and so he stepped in closer to see. I felt there was no point in trying to hide it and so, still holding the hair upwards to reveal the tattoo, i leaned back slightly for him to look at what was now one of the most well known symbols on Caprica thanks to the bombing of a Maglev eight weeks earlier.
"Is that..." asked Franks.
"Yep," I sighed as I thought of the level of paperwork this night was going to produce. "He's STO."
"Soldiers of The One! This guy's a frakking terrorist!"
That was all I needed to do at that point. I picked up the Dictaphone and finished making notes before I placed it back inside my jacket and removed my gloves.
"Ok, Detective," I said. "You can tell the blood bus parked outside that they can come and get it."
Franks signaled to his officers to get the Ambulance crew over while I started to walk back out onto the street. Franks decided to follow me despite my feigning ignorance and taking out my cellular phone. I dialed the number for the office and held the phone to the side of my head. A young woman's voice whom I knew quite well answered announcing that I was through to the GDD office in Caprica City.
"Hi Cindy, its Bowman. I'm at the scene of that murder in the 3rd District. You'd better wake Durham and tell him we got another one."
"Understood," replied Cindy, the secretary in charge of the floor my office was located on. "Shall I get him to call you?"
"If you can discourage him from doing it I'd appreciate it. It's my boy's birthday and I'd like to see him tonight."
"How is little Archie Bowman?" she asked. Cindy had taken quite a shine to my son but now wasn't the time for chit-chat.
"He's good," I replied quickly. "I got him that flight sim for his holoband that he wanted. He's still set on becoming a pilot."
"Good for him," she said. "Alright I'll tell Durham you'll see him tomorrow."
"Thanks Cindy. See you tomorrow." With that I hung up the phone knowing that Franks had overheard the whole conversation.
"You going to tell me what's going on?" he asked rather agitated.
"It's nothing for you to worry about, Detective," I said trying to throw him off but Franks was like a bloodhound who had caught the scent of its prey. He wasn't letting go and he followed me as I made my way back to the car.
"Listen!" he protested. "If STO is in my district then I don't just have a right to know, I need to know."
I knew better than to open my mouth to anyone other than fellow GDD agents about current cases. The department liked to control all the information that ever left our esteemed organization and the STO case was being controlled by Agent Durham. Durham was a first class tight ass who liked to make himself the face of the investigation to aid his own ambitions. He knew how to play the game and was in a position of authority to make my life a living hell if I spoke to anyone about what we knew even if it was a Detective. Therefore I repeated the line he had told me to repeat in instances such as this.
"You'll be told everything you need to know when you need to know it," I chanted as I reached my car and unlocked it. "That's all I'm allowed to say. Please, thank your team for me for the work they have done tonight."
I opened the door of my car but Franks slammed it shut again as he threw himself in my face, his nostrils flaring.
"Now you listen to me you arrogant son-of-a-bitch!" he spat angrily. "Now you might think I'm just some low end cop who's only good for doing your dirty work but this cop isn't as dumb as he looks."
"Oh?" I asked stifling my amusement at his outburst that I could only liken to that of a child having his favorite toy taken off him.
"No. Let's look at the facts here shall we? A member of a terrorist organization was killed in my district and this isn't the first time is it? Is it?" I remained silent. "So what does that tell me? Someone is offing STO members aren't they?"
"I've told you all I can at this point and that's all I will tell you. I'm sorry Detective but that's the way it has to be. Good night."
I opened the door once more and climbed into my car before driving off leaving the infuriated Detective behind. It was ten minutes later when I received a telephone call. I looked at the LCD screen and saw the name 'Durham' flashing on it so I picked it up and answered, "Bowman!"
"Everything go ok?" asked Durham.
"Yeah, perfectly. I even made sure that the Detective on scene could hear my phone call to Cindy."
"Good," replied Durham. "What about our boy? How did he do?"
"You could tell him to be a little more rushed next time. From the witness reports he seemed a little cocky about it."
"I'll be sure to let him know. Alright, get yourself home and see your boy. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Before I could even acknowledge him he had hung up the phone. The truth was that Richard Fournier had been killed by us. We had received intelligence that he had arrived on Caprica and when we narrowed down his location Durham had decided to take him out rather than arrest him. Our prior experience with interrogating STO members as fanatical as Fournier told us that they seldom broke and would therefore be of little help to us. Durham had decided to make it look as though a vigilante group was targeting STO members. This was good for us for two reasons. Firstly it drew blame away from the GDD and secondly, in theory anyway, it would discourage others from aiding them. Everything I had done tonight in front of Franks was well rehearsed so that the Detective was left with the right impression. In the next few days he would probably reveal to the press what he believed was going on and thus become a tool for us to use without him even knowing it. Sure it was dishonest but as I said before, we in the GDD exist on the side of the coin.