A Jump To Conclusions No. 3

“Inspector!” someone called. I turned, as did Amber. Watson Baker was the speaker; he stood by the shrubs in front of my building.

“Let me know of any developments,” Amber said, and Underwood nodded. Amber trotted across the street, and I followed at a brisk walk.

Watson Baker was the junior of the inspectors under Amber’s command, and besides that, he was perhaps the most quintessential example of the stereotypical citizen of Nexus ever to walk the city’s streets. Amber had a Nexus accent in the same way that I did a Basis one: each of us occasionally found the other’s phonetics amusing, and she was happy to replace ‘elevator’ with ‘lift’. Baker had the sort of accent prone to inserting what it would call haitches before ‘w’s; it would scream refinement screaming weren’t crass. The man oozed class. He had been educated by the Naval Arm before electing not to go into the service, which said something about the degree of wealth in the Baker family. Notably, he wore a moustache that put me in mind of a walrus.

He held up an evidence bag containing a pistol. I was unfamiliar with the design, but it was scuffed and dented in a way I took to mean it had fallen from the same window as our unfortunate victim. Amber took the bag and turned it over in her hands. “A cartridge revolver?” she said. “How delightfully old-fashioned.”

Baker’s moustache quivered as he spoke. “A break-top reproduction antique, in fact. Even if it had a serial number,” he said, presumably for my benefit, “it wouldn’t be registered.”

Amber passed it back. “Put the word out that we need an expert. How many of these can there be?” Baker nodded. “Have you heard from Andrew?”

“He went straight to the scene upstairs,” Baker replied. “Seventy-fourth floor.”


Amber brushed aside the questions from concerned residents, and the more persistent questions from the first few reporters to arrive on the scene. We crossed the lobby, and the elevator doors cut off those parties concerned enough to follow us. Amber watched the numbers tick up toward 74. “What do you think?” she asked.

“I hardly have enough to work on,” I replied. “The timing and the weapon speak to premeditation. If that’s so, our suspect willbe an associate of our victim, probably a close friend. Someone who jumps from buildings in a parachute may have other criminal connections, but I would lean toward a more reputable-seeming friend, given the setting. The doorman doesn’t let just anyone in.”

“I would have thought crime of passion,” Amber said.

I lifted my shoulders and let them fall. “They aren’t necessarily exclusive. A man comes to confront a friend who has betrayed him, they exchange words, a shot is fired. We have little besides speculation at the moment. An identity for the victim and the scene of the crime will both tell us more.”

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