Ellison and Sandberg were at the scene, which was still untouched, except for the fact that the corpses were removed and replaced by chalk drawings. They had arrived at the same time as the "experts" who were taking prints, and had taken enough pictures to fill a whole bag with used film.
Ellison shook his head, "It looks straight-forward to me. The poor guy got his guts and throat cut out with a blade. Amanda had a sword on her when she was arrested."
"Did the sword have blood on it?" asked Sandberg, looking around at all the blood, an expression of nausea on his face.
"No, but she could have wiped it off." He'd done it often enough with his knife. There would always be residuals in the fine nooks and crannies, but a good wiping with a clean rag could do the job. Ellison was one of the few in his group who cleaned his knife every time after use -- a lot of the others let the blood coat on their knives for a long time.
"What about DNA testing?"
He was hesitant. "It could be done, if there's enough blood left in the crack to sample... but there's so much room for error." He looked around the room a little closer.
"Do you see anything unusual?"
He shook his head, "No... but I smell something. Perfume. Do you smell it?"
"All I smell is blood and guts!"
Ellison smelled that too -- quite strongly -- but he was more than used to the smell. The perfume was fainter than the smallest hint of vodka in a fruit drink. "That's not Amanda's perfume. Another woman was with her. The question is, was this woman working for, or against, Amanda?"
"How do we find out?"
"Good question. We don't, yet."
Methos was having beer for breakfast at the house of an old friend of his who had nothing to do with immortals or Watchers. The man was an out-of-work scientist who knew how to drink like a demon. That friend wasn't in the room at the moment -- he had crashed out an hour ago after drinking whiskey all night long.
Bored, he flipped on the TV and was greeted by the news, and a female newscaster who was grinning in a very frightening way, as if she were a mannequin that gained the power of motion.
"...a woman named Amanda is the prime suspect and currently being held in
custody by Cascade Police Department, and has been formally charged for the murders of the security guards." The newscaster smiled even wider, "We have to go to our commercial break, but please stay tuned for our coverage of a murder-and-rape spree in a quiet town near Helena, Montana!" She fluttered her eyelashes.
Methos spilled what was left of his beer. "Bloody hell!"
On entering the station, Sandberg's eyes widened. They usually did. "Hey, Jim! Will you take look at that!" It wasn't a question.
Ellison snorted. He knew it was a woman -- only one thing on Sandberg's mind... He turned himself and smiled knowingly. "Trust me. She's not your type."
"Oh? And what would my type be?"
"Not her!" That's when he smelled the perfume. "It's her!" The woman seemed to sense that she had some unwanted attention. It was a good thing for her that the elevator shut by the time Ellison screamed, "Stop her!"
The Captain was already there. "What happened?" There was a look in the man's face that Ellison hadn't seen before.
"That woman in the elevator was at the scene of the crime. She might have killed those security guards!"
The Captain barked out, "We have a murder suspect in the elevator! Watch all exits and all floors! Spread the word! I want this building SEALED! Not even dead bodies get out of this building!"
Everyone dropped what they were doing, as if they realized they were holding red-hot irons. It was a moment later that Ellison noted that strange look in the Captain's face again, and he started to look around. That's when Ellison heard an unusual clacking sound.
"Pardon me, gentlemen, but what commotion seems to be about?" It was a crisp English voice that came from behind them. He wore a conservative business suit, complete with the hat, and held an umbrella in his hand. His black mustache was so immaculately trimmed that it could have been a paste-on job.
The Captain looked frustrated. "Nothing more than an escaping murder suspect! Who are you and what are you doing here?"
If the man was offended, he didn't show it. He produced a badge. "Inspector Martin Harlowe, at your service."
The Captain inspected the badge. "So you're a Londoner... What brings you here?"
"I took the first jet out of London once I heard the news about one of your latest acquisitions... Amanda."
Ellison looked relieved, "Then you know something about her?"
Harlowe nodded, "She's wanted for many thefts in Europe and the United Kingdom. I want to bring her to justice for a very particular theft."
"Oh?" Banks, Ellison, and Sandberg raised their eyebrows at once.
"Yes," he nodded seriously. "She stole my pocket watch."
"You can't be serious!" roared the Captain.
"Sir," Harlowe was very much offended now. "That pocket watch was made by a master clock maker in Geneva. Both the pocket watch and the master clock maker were dear friends of mine. That is no trivial theft. It is a theft that I intend to severely punish."
Sandberg tried with all his might to keep a stone face, but Ellison could tell that he was trying very hard not to bust up laughing. Although Ellison wished he could laugh about it too, he could tell that there was a very deep emotion within Harlowe that he was trying desperately to hide beneath his stiff manner.
Ellison, without even trying, could hear the man's racing pulse, and hear the man's clothing as he twitched tensely. It was obvious that the man wanted to act. What was it that he wanted to do? Whatever it was, it worried the Captain, who was beginning to show signs of severe tension. He decided that he'd break it. "Captain -- there's not much we can do now at the moment, so why don't I escort the Inspector to Amanda, and we can eliminate one item on our to-do list?"
The Captain nodded. "Go on. I might as well introduce you to the two who are on the case: Detective Ellison and Mr. Sandberg, an observer." He went back into his office.
That left Ellison, Sandberg, and the Inspector, who impatiently snapped, "Well, sirs? Let us see Amanda! Time passes quickly!"
It didn't take too long to bring Amanda back to the discussion room. This time, Amanda appeared to be rattled. She was rattled before she even saw who was in the room. That bothered Ellison.
The Inspector stood up, "Well, you little thief! Time has caught up with you!"
Amanda snorted, "Who are you?"
He straightened his lapels self-importantly, "I am Inspector Martin Harlowe, and you stole from the wrong man. You took something of great value from me. What did you do with it, thief?"
"What did I steal?" she asked carelessly, filing her fingernails.
"You took a pocket watch that was of immense value to me! Surely you wouldn't forget a timepiece such as that!"
She made a big face, "Ohhhh, that watch! I realized what a bad move I made that I tossed it back in the Thames like the bad catch it was."
His face reddened at that. "Why you --"
Ellison stepped in at that, "Inspector? Please step outside the room for the moment. It appears that this isn't going anywhere, and I need to discuss some matters that pertain to the current case."
The Inspector collected himself at that point, "Of course, Detective."
"Sandberg. Keep him company."
Sandberg saw the look in Ellison's face and nodded. Apparently, there were to reasons for that request. "Sure thing, boss."
When the door shut, Ellison looked at Amanda. "You didn't tell me about the second woman."
She raised her eyebrows. "Isn't that the accusation I'm supposed to make?"
He pounded the table, trying to hold his irritation in check, "Don't get smart with me, or I might just start spanking you!"
Amanda laughed so hard she almost turned blue. "I've heard a lot of threats, but I've never heard that one!" She smiled and made a face of someone who has lost all sense. "Would you like me to assume the position, or would you rather chase me across the room?"
After preventing his eyes from popping out of his head and the blood vessels in his neck from exploding, Ellison cooled down a little. "Look. You'll only be helping yourself if you can give me more information about the other one. Who is she? Does she work with you? Does she want you to sink?"
She sighed. "I did encounter someone I'd never met before who had an interest in doing something to me that didn't sound quite nice."
"What did she say when she saw you here?"
Amanda managed to look surprised.
"We caught her trying to leave. The whole building is sealed now. She won't escape."
Amanda shook her head, "Trust me. She's probably driving off this very moment."
Sandberg was trying to think fast. He figured that Ellison wanted to ask Amanda some hard questions and get some harder answers, but he also figured that Ellison's silent plea was also to get some more information about a man who would fly all the way over here because of a watch. Why not start with a first step? "Inspector?"
"Yes?" asked the Inspector distractedly.
"I was just curious. Why would a watch fill you with so much emotion?"
The Inspector nodded. "I imagined that this question would arise sooner or later, if I provided you with an honest reason for my coming here." He leaned against the wall and sighed. "That watch was my birthday present. The one who gave it to me was... my wife-to-be. She made it herself. We were to be married that very day, but she was kidnapped, and I never saw her again. I never knew who did it, or why, or what the outcome was, but the watch gave me some sense of peace... some way to remember her."
Sandberg's face was pale, "I'm really sorry."
"It's not your fault. You needed to know."
* * * *
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