The Detective Prince
The demonstration had finally gone underway, starting with the slow deterioration of the walls that kept everything intact. It then escalated to the main drive, spreading its damages from one file to the next at an increasing rate. This lasted for a short time more, both looking on to see everything wiped clean right before their very eyes. Not a single file remained, nothing but an empty system.
"Excellent, it works better than I had imagined," Bruce commented. "And to think this is only the beta, which only shows flashes of its full potential."
"That's what it'll do to a hard drive with an average security wall." Tim said.
"And have you tested it against a formidable security system?"
"A system similar to my own, one created just for the occasion."
"And the result?"
"It took a timely two days to wipe the slate completely clean," Tim replied. "Which shows an adequate security wall can cause for a delay in its progress, the amount of files within a system can also alter the time."
"Is there anything this virus can't bypass?"
"Stumbles in the road have been recorded, but the Red Eye evolves as it migrates," Tim replied. "Nothing has been seen to completely contain it."
"What about an anti virus?"
"Already working on it."
"I'd like for you to launch another trial."
"What security level?"
"Clearance ten," Bruce replied. "That will tell us where we're at with this project."
"Taking it to the extreme I see."
"How long before you can have it all set up?"
"In the next three hours at most," Time replied. "Generating results of course will take time."
"Which is not a concern."
The door opened in that next second, causing the both to look over to see who had entered.
"I see you've begun testing."
"We were actually wrapping up for the time being," Tim said. "It'll take time for the next test to be set."
"And the first was a success?"
"Affirmative," Bruce replied. "The Red Eyed MB after entering the system showcased its flexibility in shutting down all systems, regardless of the conditions that were presented."
"And you plan on using this virus in the field?"
"If a situation calls for it, then yes," Bruce replied. "With the increase in technology having something like this at our disposal could prove useful."
"On another subject, I have some saddening news to bring," Alfred said. "Unfortunately young Mr. Collins of Nitro technologies has past."
"Mr. Collins the CEO?" Tim asked.
"Correction, his son." Alfred replied.
"What was the cause death?"
"Said to be a heart attack as of now."
"And how old was this guy?"
"Just turned twenty last week."
"What an age to be taken," Tim said. "Did he have any prior heart complications before hand?"
"I was told no upon asking."
"Think it could be related to the uproar in deaths involving the heart attacks?" Tim asked looking to Bruce.
"Only one way to find out," Bruce replied. "I'll have to see if we can get a hold of the file surrounding the details of his death, if there is a correlation between this and the other deaths we'll know by checking the brain."
"Might be our only way of finding out."
"I'll make the call." Bruce said reaching for his phone.
Conversation between the two remained to a distance as they paved the way along the road side. They had accomplished what they had set out to do, gathering needed information from both chosen facilities visited in the last hours. He looked over the sheet of data laying in his lap, memorizing anything of importance that came to mind.
"Six out of the eleven poisonus mushrooms found at Libits were lethal enough to cause next to fatal damage within a week, if absorbed by the body," Heiji thought. "The question now left to answer, what exactly was the victim given before their death."
He took a moment away from the wheel after reaching a street light, looking across to see he was hard in thought. Not wanting to disturb he decided to face forward, only a short time passing before the light reverted back to green.He pushed down to the pedal just in time to hear the sound of his voice from his side.
"How long do you think it will take for Mr. Jones to get this all analyzed?"
"It depends," Rick replied. "Let's hope he's down in the lab when we arrive, that way he can get this kick started right away."
"We're on a short leash of time as it is."
"So what's your final verdict on Libits," Rick asked. "Think we should return for a second visit?"
"If anything uncovered points that way."
"That Sal guy sure calls for suspicion, I got the feeling he was hiding something."
"I have to agree, but also the way he spoke," Heiji said. "Almost everything we asked was never directly answered."
"I know what you mean," Rick said. "His response to your question about his job at Libits is most evident."
"We won't worry about that too much," Heiji said. "After all, our objective is to find out what happened to the person who was found in the aftermath of that explosion, not to investigate Mr. Sal."
"Agreed," Rick said looking ahead once more. "Not much longer to go, we're nearly there."
He marched down from the upper floor, much still weighing down on his mind. There was no one to be seen upon reaching the bottom, the silence only reinforcing the emptiness that filled the area. Where everyone had gone was the first thing to come to mind.
"It seems like everyone around here is always out doing something."
A familiar sound found its way to his ear, turning to the right to see exactly where it was coming from. He followed the beep that continued, almost certain it was coming from the study. It was no surprise when he opened the door to see him sitting at the desk in front of a computer.
"I had no idea you were here," Conan said walking in. "I heard the alarm from the computer, what are you working on?"
"Setting up a system for a trial we're scheduled to run in a bit here."
"What kind of trial?"
"For a computer virus I've been constructing over the past year," Tim replied. "The Red Eyed MB."
"And why are you constructing a computer virus," Conan asked. "I don't see the reasoning in that."
"Accounting for anything that may come your way is key," Tim replied. "The meaning of this exercise is to give us an edge against those looking to hack or take over high security systems all together."
"Ok, makes sense," Conan said. "That the only reason?"
"And for studying purposes, as of now."
"So it's called the Red Eyed MB," Conan said. "Just curious as to what the MB stands for."
"Manipulating Boundaries," Tim replied. "A virus that continuously evolves, changing with every cross road that may stand in its way."
"Almost sounds like a common flu the way you put it," Conan said. "Always changing in its genetic form every wave in which it moves."
"Which also calls for an updated vaccine year after next."
"How dangerous is this Red Eyed MB," Conan asked. "Have you found away to contain it from spreading if by chance your system was infected?"
"Not yet, but progress is being made."
"Good luck with that."
"You're free to observe next trial, and who knows," Tim said. "You might find it interesting."
"Goanna have to pass," Conan declined. "I'd rather work on the riddles."
"Make any progress?"
"Was just looking to ask you the same."
"No, but something did come to mind," Tim replied. "It's only a hunch, but there could be some depth to it."
"We looked into all businesses associated with Starlest," Tim began. "But what if it's deeper than that, maybe we should branch off even further."
"Furthering our searches to the other companies," Conan said. "Maybe one of them is connected to the company named in the riddle."
"What do you say we look into it now?"
"I'm busy with this," Tim smilingly said. "But that's why there's two of us."
"I had a feeling you'd say something to that degree." Conan said as his phone buzzed from below.
Without looking he reached down to grab it, bringing it to his eye to see the number displayed.
"Who is it?"
"A missed call." Conan replied.
"That's strange, I didn't hear your phone ring earlier," Tim said. "Who was it that called.
It was as quiet as any other time walking down that empty hall, finding their way past all security measures before finally arriving to the forensics lab. A strong odor came to their senses almost instantly, being alerted of the dead body laid out atop the table before sighting it.
"Welcome back," Harold said appearing from the right side. "You two have returned at a very convenient time."
"Hopefully that means you've got something for us."
"I followed up with the examination of the body found at the explosion site," Harold said. "Focusing paticularly on their dental."
"I was able to get a match, the victim was listed in the database."
"Great," Heiji said. "So what's this guy's name?"
"She," Harold corrected. "The body discovered belonged to a woman by the name of Leian Foster."
"Any immediate relatives that can be contacted on the matter?"
"That has already been taken care of."
"Good," Rick said. "So what do we know about Leian, any criminal record?"
"Quite the opposite, she put in a lot for the community," Harold informed. "She even participated in a group created for collecting and donating canned goods on a weekly basis."
"Looks like we'll have to dig deep on this one."
"Maybe not," Heiji said. "Some times the surface isn't always what it appears, we should hold off on judgment until we've spoken with those who were closest to her."
"Up for another drive?"
"Sure, but let's not get too ahead of ourselves," Heiji said reaching into his jacket. "The samples, collected from our travels."
"What samples?" Harold asked.
He waited only moments before his question was answered, watching as two zip locked bags were pulled from from within his jacket.
"I gathered debris from both Living Green and Libits," Heiji informed. "When you've got the time could compare these samples gathered to what was found on Leian Fosters back side?"
"I;ll get to it as soon as I'm finished here."
"Thanks." Heiji said handing him the two enclosed bags.
"I also purchased a set of mushrooms from Living Green," Rick informed. "I'll leave them on the counter for your convenience, maybe one of them will match what was found on the body."
"We can only hope."
"Time will tell," Rick said. "We better be on our way, contact me if you come across anything worth mentioning."
"As always detective Gates."
"Come Hattori, we've got some relatives to visit." Rick said turning for the door.
He followed from right behind, glimpsing back at the lab after walking out.
"We now have all that we could possibly need, let's just hope it leads to the results we're looking for."
The next hour had arrived with yet another call coming to his phone, deciding not to answer it before dropping it back down to his side.
"So let me get this straight, you think it'd be beneficial if I had a story lined up before calling back?"
"I don't see any reasoning to your claim."
"Your journey here is bound to spark many questions."
"Point taken, but I don't see the harm in telling her I flew out for a short visit."
"Too sudden," Tim said. "That could lead to unintended suspicion."
"You sure do have a talent for making things more difficult than they need to."
"I'd suggest correlating a story with Heiji before calling," Tim stated. "No way you can go wrong with that."
"I'm almost inclined to agree," Conan said checking the time. "It's six now, which would make it about seven in the morning there."
"When do you plan on calling?"
"As soon as I get this all situated, which should be in the next hour or so," Conan replied. "Which is also about the same time of her morning jog."
"That's more than enough time, being that Heiji's already on his way here," Tim informed. "I received a message from him a short time ago."
"Where's he coming from?"
"Returning from a trip he and detective Gates went out on."
"No doubt something dealing with the body found at the explosion site."
"Heard you got a peak of the body yourself while visiting the GCPD Lab," Tim said. "How did that go?"
"Let's just say they were more than surprised to see me," Conan replied. "Speaking of cases, what's the update on that woman?"
"No luck at all, she never returned to that cavern," Tim replied. "Her current whereabouts are next to none."
"That's only one of three that have gone cold," Conan said. "We're still in relatively good position considering."
"Don't you mean four," Tim corrected. "There's still that loose cannon of a gunman we've yet to apprehend."
"Don't you find it odd, the shooter has not made a move in the last few days," Conan said. "Think their spree has come to an end?"
"No way of telling for sure," Tim replied. "They could still be on the move, only on more discreet terms."
"Maybe," Conan said. "But that wouldn't explain the dramatic change in form if they were truly keeping it under the radar, in both incidents all bodies were found in the public where they could easily be discovered."
"I think it's time we moved in on this from another angle."
"What did you have in mind?"
"Instead of focusing in on what he did do, why don't we direct our investigation to what he didn't." Conan suggested. "Starting with the weapons."
"Those were intentionally left behind, probably to elude us deeper into a scheme set in place," Tim said. "Which would fall under the category of what was done."
"Establishing what was intentional and what wasn't will be difficult to figure."
"You're right," Conan said. "Since all incidents happened out in the open, time had to be a high priority."
"Which would include potentially being spotted."
"We've got the weapons used, location, and the time of day," Conan said. "Yet no cause."
"And the only thing they seemingly didn't do was."
"Leave any hint to the why." Conan finished.
The two then turned at the sudden sound of the door, looking to see they had been joined.
"I just received information on Mr. Collins medical history," Bruce said walking toward them. "Turns out he had no prior heart problems."
"Sounds like one of ours."
"I put in a request to get an x-ray of the brain which his father agreed to, we should have the results back soon enough."
"And what did he make of your request?"
"I told him it was strictly for researching purposes," Bruce replied. "So naturally he accepted."
"Any other reported heart attacks in the past day?" Conan asked.
"Not someone of high profile," Bruce replied. "But we're keeping tabs as they come in, we should have a wide scale update in the next hour."
"This only continues to escalate, and all nations have experienced a loss over it," Tim said. "The cause must be wide spread, maybe even an unnatural virus of some kind."
"I don't think so."
"If not a virus, then what?"
"Something being distrubuted, maybe not appearing to be harmful at first glance."
"Are you suggesting a product of some kind?" Tim asked.
"A possibility, yes."
"If that is true, that would raise an important question," Conan thought. "Could someone intentionally be causing this outbreak?"
"I'll be upstairs if needed, there's a call I need to make," Bruce said turning for the door only to come to a quick stop. "Oh, and give this to Heiji when he gets in."
He reached down to his side, pulling out a small sheet of paper.
"When he gets in," Conan questioned. "Has he already arrived?"
"They're just now pulling in past the gate." Bruce replied before exiting the room.
"I didn't hear anything."
"Don't mind it, he's got really good ears," Tim said heading for the door as well. "What do you say we go and greet them?"
"Anything to get out of this room, even if it is only for a minute."
He followed from close behind as the two made their way through the main room all the way to the front door. They stepped out just as the car came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, watching as the passenger door slid open in the seconds that followed.
"How'd the trip across town go," Tim asked. "Gain any insight?"
"Hopefully so," Heiji replied with the close of the car door. "I left some collected samples at the lab to be tested."
"Samples for what?" Tim asked on their descension down the stairs.
"I collected debris samples from both Living Green and Libits," Heiji informed. "Two facilities that could be where our mystery victim took their last breaths before being stashed away."
"That's pretty much it in a days wrap," Heiji replied. "Didn't quite get around to anything else, though it's all been on my mind."
"Happens all the time."
"And what of you, any luck with any of the cases."
"Been busy working on an outside assignment."
"Some virus," Conan added. "What they're calling the Red Eyed MB."
"I heard you mention that before," Heiji said. "What purpose does this project serve?"
"Only time will tell, but we have work to do," Tim replied reaching into his pocket. "Here, Bruce asked for me to give this to you."
"What is it?" Heiji asked accepting the slip of paper.
He unrolled the folded slip of paper, finding a small list of names sitting in place.
"This saves me the trouble," Heiji said more than pleased. "I had planned on looking into this tonight."
"What is it?" Conan asked.
"A full web of companies associated with Starlest," Heiji replied. "Branched from its main partners within the circle."
"One of them has to be the chosen site referred to in the riddles," Conan said. "Now's the time we compare notes with each and every location."
"I don't believe it." Heiji said sighting it as he went down the names.
"What is it?"
"Libits," Heiji replied. "It's one of twelve companies listed."
To Be Continued