A Jump To Conclusions No. 9

Amber turned the weapon over, then pointed to the number stamped into its frame. “It hasn’t been registered,” she said. “Will the serial number be in any way helpful?”

Tyson shrugged. “Many dealers in antique pieces keep detailed records for liability purposes. At the same time, most dealers who would keep records would also register their antiques.” Amber put the gun back into its evidence bag, and Tyson added, “I could put together a list of local dealers, if you think that would help.”

“It could,” Amber said. “One never knows how accurate our records are. Thank you for your time, Mr. Tyson. The desk officer on your way out will give you my contact information.”


We returned to the seventy-second floor, to find Baker and Carpenter still poring over McKenzie’s known associates. Carpenter told us that Dalton Heath would be arriving in fifteen minutes, so while Amber rang the information desk for their list of local dealers in antique firearms, I further familiarized myself with his life story as told by records from across the City of Nexus.

His was a privileged life. His family’s fortune had come from investment in the colony in New Caledonia, dating back almost eight hundred years. Money could hardly be much older than that. Prior to the time of the Dalton Heath of whom I was reading, the family fortune had been on a steady decline for generations, and so Heath’s childhood had been spent in the pleasant environs of University Park. That district gave away something in ritziness to the ritziest parts of the city, but although it was not a traditional home of the wealthy, the availability of green space set it apart. Room for a child to play was, however, equivalent to room for a teenager to get into trouble, and Heath’s file indicated he had done so. I scribbled a note to have his juvenile criminal record unsealed, then slid it over to Amber. Precisely what sort of trouble he had gotten himself into during his youth would serve to illuminate whether he was apt to be capable of getting into rather more serious trouble as an adult.

His adult record was not illuminating at all, owing to its nonexistence. That avenue closed, I read on about his career in business. Eleven years had passed between his Academy graduation and his partnership with McKenzie, which he had spent by personally managing his family’s investments. He had made money hand over fist, through tactics people given to the same tactics would call bold. Others might have called them aggressive to a fault.

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