|More from Skyart||Crime fiction||G||None||None|
|Crime and Deductions|
Crime fiction Oneshot
29 May, 2015
Crime and Deduction is my entry for the 12th round of the Fanonbenders' fanon contest. The prompt was to introduce an original character. This oneshot was written as a tribute to our beloved Arthur Conan Doyle's character: Sherlock Holmes.
It was dusk when he arrived. Clothed in a refined black suit and a brown long coat, the first impression I had of the person who just entered my office was one of a wealthy and confident gentleman. It would have been a great first impression if he wasn't so late.
"Mr. Fitz," I greeted him in a displeased voice. "I believe we agreed to meet here at noon."
"Did we?" replied the man, taking out of his mouth a pipe that he had been smoking before coming in. "Well, I am very sorry. My complex life style tends to distract me from my everyday tasks, which often causes me to run late, as you can see."
While speaking, without even a simple handshake, Fitz had walked around in my office, observing everything his eyes could see, sometimes even helping himself in touching and moving some of my personal goods. But what truly shocked me was his obvious lack of sincerity in his apology.
Beginning to dislike the man already, I tried to speed things up, "Anyway, since we already lost a good total of six whole hours, we should immediately get to the point. Don't you agree, Mr. Fitz?"
"Oh, but of course, Mr. Jackson. I wouldn't want you to miss your son's pro-bending match tonight."
"I'm sorry?" I said, confused as to how he could know about such a thing.
"Your son. You're going to see his match tonight, right?" he answered me, like the most obvious thing.
"Yes, yes, but how do you know that?" I asked, starting to wonder if this man had done researches about me before coming here.
"Oh!" he said, like he just understood my confusion. "Well, it's quite simple in fact. On this shelf right here is a pro-bending trophy. Obviously, it's not yours, the sport is quite new and you're too old. So it's a gift. But from whom? Who would you be so close with that they would give you something as estimable as a pro-bending tournament trophy? I was asking myself this question when I saw this picture on the wall. Here, you're figuring with a woman, who I presume to be your wife, and a young man who is unmistakably your son, judging by his striking resemblance with you."
Taking a break in the explanation of his reasoning, Fitz took a puff of his pipe. As for myself, I had listened to my guest with eyes and mouth wide open, wondering whether he was mocking me or if he was serious. Then, he exhaled the smoke out of his lungs and started again.
"Now, I couldn't see why the trophy wouldn't be at your home if it came from your son, until I saw the heading of one of your letters on your desk. It said 'Dear Dad'. That made it quite clear that your wife and your son live outside of Republic City and that you do not see them often, considering how busy your work with President Raiko leaves you. So your son giving you his trophy as memento seemed the most likely possibility."
Fitz once again stopped talking to smoke, however, he did not start talking again this time, continuing smoking as if he had completed his explanation. Impatient, I called out.
"But you didn't answer the question," I said to his back while he was looking out the window.
"I'm sorry?" he replied while turning back, looking confused.
"The point was to tell me how you knew that my son had a match tonight."
"Oh! Right, yes. I'm sorry, explaining how my deductions work in words can make me lost track of what I was trying to deduct in the first place. But the rest was much simpler, anyway, now that I had determined that the trophy came from your son. First, we're right in the tournament period. Next, there is a pro-bending ticket sticking out of your coat's pocket on your chair. I couldn't see the date, but the fact that all your stuff is already packed and ready near the door indicates that you will be in a hurry when leaving tonight. Now, if it were for any match other than your son's, surely you wouldn't mind missing the first few minutes where the players are introduced. The most logical thinking made me believe that you didn't want to miss any second of your son's glory, given the fact that you scarcely see him. Was I correct?"
"Absolutely correct," I said in bewilderment. Fitz had delivered all of his explanation in a disinterested voice, like it was something absolutely normal and obvious, but my apparent admiration before his deductions clearly pleased him, despite his obvious effort to hide it from his face.
"And you deduced all this in just the few seconds you looked around?" I added.
"Well, it might seem long and complex when I say it in words, but with my methods, it's actually quite simple. More importantly, Mr. Jackson," he said, calling me back from my amazement. "You said you wanted to go down to business."
"That's right," I replied, getting my composure back. "And now that I had a glimpse of your talents, Mr. Fitz, I can see why President Raiko recommended you for this job. But please, sit down first. The task that we offer you, I'm afraid, will require your utmost discretion. Is that alright with you?"
"No problem, sir. I assure you that I do not care enough about others' business to take some of my time to use against them what I may learn in my investigations," he answered in a nonchalant voice.
"Right," I replied, struck again by this man's lack of delicacy. "Then here are the facts. Two nights ago, a safe containing secret armament plans got broken open and stolen. The safe itself was made of platinum and had a code lock known only by the President. It was found open by the security guard in duty, Officer Yana, a young female recruit who came directly to me as soon as she saw the broken safe."
"Since when is Officer Yana in your ranks?" he suddenly interrupted me.
"Only two months. But she's been investigated already, there's no way she could have the plans in her possession."
"I'll be the judge of that myself, if you don't mind. Anyway, since when were the plans stored in that safe?" he said with a touch of arrogance in his tone that did not miss to annoy me.
"The plans have been there for three months, since the meeting about upgrading Republic City's defenses after Kuvira's attack."
Still smoking, Fitz was looking at the ceiling, deep in his thoughts as he listened to me. Suddenly, like he got out of a trance, he got up and interrupted me again, speaking quickly while walking around in the office and looking at the ground.
"So, we got a new recruit only one month after the plans got put in that safe. Coincidence? Maybe. But never ignore coincidences. Now! The motive, obviously, is to acquire powerful armaments. But for whom? Remnants of Kuvira's troupes? It's too soon. Way too soon. They couldn't possibly have organized an operation like this in such a short time. Other candidates would be the Red Lotus that we haven't heard of for a while. Or it could just be a totally new and unknown organization. In any case, sitting here will get us nowhere, don't you agree Mr. Jackson? I say we put on our coats and go to the crime scene, what do you think? Allons-y!"
Before I could even reply, Fitz had opened the door and was already hurrying to the exit. I quickly followed him, taking my stuff near the door on the way, wondering in anxiety if I would be able to attend my son's match in three hours from now. When I arrived at the street, Fitz had already jumped in a taxi was doing big gestures with his arms in my direction.
"Hurry up, Mr. Jackson!" he called me out. "I'm a busy man!"
Ignoring the remark coming from the man who had made me wait six hours, I told the driver to bring us at the military facility. During our trip, Fitz didn't spoke a word, looking out the window, appearing to be deep in thoughts. When we arrived, I asked an officer to bring us the recruit Yana, and then led my guest to the broken safe.
"Here it is," I said. The safe in question was only one of many others, all located in the same small reinforced chamber. Each of them was only big enough to contain a small pile of paper.
"It seems that you forgot to mention quite a lot, Mr. Jackson, am I right?" said Fitz after having a quick look at the place.
"Such as?" I replied while trying to keep my face clean of my annoyance at the man's smug attitude.
"Well, for starters, the fact that despite all of those safes looking exactly the same, only the one containing the secret plans was opened. Which means that the robbers knew where to look. Which means your secret plans weren't so secret after all. Which means you have an information leak. Which means someone in your ranks is a mole. See, there's quite a lot of 'which means' that you omitted to tell me. But there's more! What about the fact that the safe's door was opened from the inside?"
"What?" I said, dumbfounded from his last comment. "How do you know that?"
"Why, it's obvious! Look at the bolt. It's bent inward. The door was either pulled from the outside or pushed from the inside. Except that if it had been pulled, the required strength that would have been used would have left any sort of trace on the front side of the door, but there is no such thing."
"But there's also nothing on the back side," I argued, after examining it.
"That's because, if it's from inside, there's a way to open it without a trace."
"But it's impossible!" I cried. "It's way too small in there for someone to fit in."
"Not impossible, only improbable," he replied. "And I never said someone went in there to open it. I said someone opened it from inside. But with what? What can easily enter in a closed safe, and then be strong enough to force it open. Any ideas Mr. Jackson?"
"Not in the least," I said, convinced that no such thing existed.
"Oh come on, sir! Get your brain working, the answer isn't that difficult."
"Wait, you know what it is?" I asked, confused.
"Why, of course. There's many things I had to think hard about in my life, but this surely isn't one of them. Just look at the first criteria. What can enter a locked safe? I can only picture two things: air and water. Now, if we consider the second criteria, water is definitely the only thing that come to my mind. If you keep filling a closed container with water, it's bound to break from pressure some time or another. Therefore, considering the culprit had to pour a high amount of water in the safe while keeping it from going out, our suspects list can easily be reduce to waterbenders only. Let's see if our Officer Yana, who I presume is the young girl coming towards us, can be ruled out of it.
"You asked for me, sir?" said the girl with a salute when she arrived in front of me.
"Yes, Officer Yana. This gentleman and I would like to know if you are a waterbender," I asked.
"Oh, I don't need to ask, Mr. Jackson. She's a firebender. You can tell by looking at the end of her sleeves. Little burn marks, characteristic of fire generation from the hands, are clearly visible. Now, Miss Yana, when you discovered the opened safe, I've been said that you went directly to Mr. Jackson, who happened to be at the facility at that moment, is that correct?"
When talking to Officer Yana, Fitz's face had taken a gentle and caring expression, totally different from the disinterested look he showed me. As a result, the young recruit seemed to be more at ease with him than she had when questioned for the first time. In fact, now that he showed that part of him, Fitz could have been considered a very attractive man, with charming gray eyes and a slightly tanned skin tone. In his late twenties, he still showed a lot of his youth and his charisma clearly had an effect on Yana.
"Absolutely correct, sir," replied the girl to Fitz's question, bringing me out of my thoughts.
"Thank you. But before doing so, did you actually check the content of the safe?"
"No, sir. The door was burst open on the floor. It did not occurred to me that something could still remain in the box."
"Right. And at what time was it, exactly?"
"I had just finished my shift, so it should have been around six o'clock in the afternoon," answered the recruit, forgetting her formal speech.
"But did you actually came inside the room?"
"I didn't. As soon as I saw the safe from outside, I ran off to Mr. Jackson."
"I see. Thank you Miss Yana, you are free to go," said Fitz, scratching his chin as he was visibly thinking deeply. "Mr. Jackson!" he suddenly cried. "I've reduced our suspect list. The culprit is indeed a waterbender, but those watermarks here and Miss Yana's testimony tell me something more," he said while pointing at little dark circles on the ground, in the corner of the room, directly to the right of the door. "We're looking for a waterbender who is an employee of yours and who left around six o'clock two nights ago. Now, if you don't want to miss your son's match, there's not a minute to lose. Allons-y!"
Ten minutes later, Fitz and I were in a taxi, heading to the home of the only man matching the criteria the detective announced earlier.
"So, would you care to explain how you deduced all this?" I prompted Fitz.
"Very simple, really," he said with his smug attitude back. "My first concern was to understand how our guy got inside the facility. Now, if it had been any other place, the whole thing would have been a bit more complex, but the Military Facility being the most guarded place after the City Hall in Republic City left me with only one solution: the culprit came from the inside. Thus, I established that it was one of your employees."
"You're right," I said. "Honestly, that's what I feared since the beginning."
"Now, to reduce the suspects list, I needed to determine the time of the crime, as the culprit surely wouldn't have stick around with secret plans in his possession. Therefore, it was very likely that he had committed his crime just before he left the facility. All we would have had to do if I could point out the right time would have been to consult the entries and leavings records. But the problem was that the crime could have been committed from the time that someone last checked in the reinforced room, to the time that Miss Yana discovered that the safe had been open, which left me with a pretty big range of possibilities. Until I saw those water drops in the corner of the room, that is.
"You mentioned those before, but I still don't see how they could have help you find our culprit."
"Well, you see, everywhere else, absolutely no sign of water could be found, despite the high quantity that should have been necessary to blow the safe up from the inside. That's obviously because the waterbender wanted to hide his tracks. It was an easy thing for him to remove every drop of water on the scene with his bending. But he made a mistake. He forgot some water so far from the safe that he couldn't possibly had thought that some would have splashed all the way there."
"So how did it got there?" I asked.
"He brought it himself. After he made the safe blow up from pressure, some water should have splashed on him. What I believe happened is that he was going to extract all of the water from the scene when he heard someone. Panicked, the best hideout he found was one of the corners that weren't visible from outside, if somebody looked through the door. And that's exactly what happened with Miss Yana. Shocked to find the safe broken, the girl didn't even took the time to come inside, where she would have discover the water. When she went away, the culprit quickly removed the water near the safe, but forgot the one that had dripped from his body while he was hiding. That's how I deduced that he should have left the facility at the same moment Yana was looking for you, at the time corresponding the end of her shift, so six o'clock evening."
"That's... incredible, Mr. Fitz," I said in bewilderment. "Everything seems so... obvious when you explain it."
"Well, it is obvious. You just don't know where to look. Anyway, Mr. Jackson, it seems we arrived at destination, which means it's time for us to part ways."
"You're not coming? Don't you want to know what's behind the robbery? Who organized it?"
"Absolutely not. I've done my part, now all that's left is matter of law and politics, two things that I find to be extremely dull and boring. It has been a pleasure working with you Mr. Jackson. I wish good luck to your son tonight."
Then, just like that, Fitz closed the Satomobile's door, and the taxi went away, leaving me with the metalbending police task force that had been waiting for me in front of the culprit's house. As I saw the detective getting farther and farther away, I thought that the man I worked with today was without a doubt the most unpleasant and strange, yet amazing man I've ever met.
The phrase Allons-y used by Fitz is a French expression meaning 'Let's go'. It is famous for being Doctor Who's tenth Doctor's catchphrase.
For the collective works of the author, go here.