Law & Order: Leanbox
LAW, Part 1
By Derald Snyder
"...this place was where my girl and I first met," stated the NPC witness as he leaned on the hood of his car, talking with Bennie Crisco. "Never thought we'd be driving up on a gunfight..."
"So what prompted you to climb up the cliff?" the older detective asked.
The NPC sighed. "Look, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I saw.... like, this swirling ball of energy coming from the top of the cliff! For a moment I though it might come down on us..."
"OK, well where did it come down?" Bennie asked.
"Somewhere over there, I think," The NPC pointed to the boulders to the left. "Figured I'd see where it came from, that's how I found the body."
"Hey, get someone from Forensics over there!" Bennie shouted to a nearby officer, who nodded. "You see or hear anything else?"
"Well, we heard gunfire before the energy ball appeared..." the shadow-man muttered.
Meanwhile, Eddie Green was busy grilling the girlfriend. "So you said you heard gunfire. Did you happen to hear anything else? Like say, a hovercraft taking off?"
"...well, now that you mention it," the shadow-girl mused, "I think did hear something like a hovercraft when that energy ball appeared. You know, if I'd been by myself and seen that, I'd think I'd have been hallucinating!"
"Anything else you can recall?" Eddie pressed, only to get a helpless shrug in response. "Well OK... if you remember anything else," he handed the NPC his card, "you give us a call, OK?" The woman nodded.
"Detecives!" an officer called. "We found something!" Eddie and Bennie followed the officer, working their way around the boulders where the strange energy ball had landed.
"We've got footprints," stated the forensic worker when the two arrived. "They go running off toward the highway..."
"Wait, so that 'energy ball' was a human?" Eddie said, confused.
"Either that or a bipedal monster wearing boots," the NPC snarked. "From the shape, it looks like they're female."
"So maybe that energy ball the witnesses saw was some kind of enhanced jump?" Bennie guessed.
"Either that or it was an illusion," suggested Green. At his partner's look of disbelief, he elaborated, "Y'know, so whoever saw her wouldn't know she was human or be able to identify her..." Turning back to the footprints, he muttered, "Wonder if she was trying to chase the victim's comrades in their hovercraft..."
be an exercise in futility," Crisco deadpanned.
"Unless she was trying to shoot it down with her plasma cannon or whatever," Green countered.
"Maybe," Bennie deferred. "Well, probably not much else we can do tonight... might as well call it a night and get some sleep, start fresh in the morning..."
"Fine by me," Eddie yawned...
APRIL 4, 9:31 AM
As the two detectives walked into their work area, they saw a familiar face with long blond hair in their boss's office... "Well, speak of the goddess... looks like you were right, Eddie," muttered Crisco as the two walked up to the office and entered... Sure enough, it was Leanbox's CPU herself, with a white suit of armor standing to her left, Eddie and Bennie's boss standing across from them.
"You're late," stated the lieutenant, a woman about an inch or two shorter than Bennie, with short brown hair, black eyes, and tanned skin... despite her short stature, the woman radiated authority from her stance and stern stare.
"Hey, c'mon, we were burnin' the midnight oil last night," Bennie stated in mild protest. "Man's gotta get his beauty rest, y'know..."
"Detective Green!" Vert's eyes lit up in recognition. "It's nice to see you again."
"Hello, Lady Vert," Green bowed his head in respect to the goddess. "Have you met my new partner? This is Bernard Crisco."
"Nice to meet to meet you in person, ma'am," Bennie nodded as he politely shook hands with Vert.
"Crisco?" Vert asked curiously. "As in the cooking oil?"
"Yeah, that's right," the older man chuckled. "Once I'm on the trail of a criminal, their goose is as good as cooked," he winked, drawing a chuckle from the CPU. "And who might this be?" he gestured to the suit of armor.
"Peach, would you kindly remove your helmet?" Vert sighed. The woman promptly did so, revealing blond hair tied into a high ponytail with two small red bobbles, and expressive blue eyes set into a very cute face. "This is my bodyguard, former Staff Sergeant Peach C. Macintosh. Peach, this young man is Eddie Green, the detective who initially worked the case involving your boyfriend."
"Is that right," Peach grunted as she shook hands with the young man.
"Yeah, sorry for dropping the ball back then," Eddie apologized. "Good thing your boyfriend had a good attorney at his court-martial..."
"I'll forgive you," the soldier stated, "provided you don't drop the ball on this one..."
"Well, that's why I'm partnered with Mr. Crisco- uh, I mean, Bennie," Eddie quickly corrected himself at seeing his partner's disapproving glare. "Honestly, Lady Vert, I gotta thank you for having him and Lt. Van Braun transferred here, the place is finally starting to whip into shape thanks to these two..."
"Hey, I'm just giving 'em a good example to follow," Bennie said. "L-T's the one who's been really cracking the whip..."
"They needed it," Van Braun stated simply. "Anyway, Lady Vert was just telling me that she's managed to convince JAG to back off for now and let us handle this case."
"On the condition that someone from the military is watching over the investigation," Vert added. "That's why Peach is here- she's going to be tagging along with you. I hope that won't be too much trouble..."
"Fine by me," Eddie shrugged.
"Just as long as she doesn't get in the way of us doing our jobs," Bennie insisted.
"Oh, no, sir," Peashy shook her head. "I want us to work together. After all, if the victim is one of my former brothers-in-arms, that makes this personal for me. Speaking of which... who was it that was murdered?"
"Second Lieutenant Joseph Starr," Eddie replied, eliciting a gasp from Peach.
"You know him?" Bennie asked.
"...Can I see the body?" the soldier inquired. "I want to be sure..."
*At the medical examiner's room...*
The sheet was pulled back, revealing the victim's face... "It's him!" Peach gasped as she recoiled slightly in recognition. "Oh, Adrian's not gonna be happy about this..."
"Adrian?" Bennie asked.
"Her boyfriend," Eddie clarified. "He's the one that was accused before..."
"Yeah..." the blonde nodded. "He and Adrian were really tight back in the day, before they got transferred to separate units... I got along pretty good with him, too..."
"Oh, Peach, I'm so sorry," Vert sighed as she gently embraced her bodyguard.
Peach swallowed, trying to hold back tears, before asking, "How did he die?"
"High-powered plasma cannon shot to the chest," Eddie said. "If it's any consolation, he was probably dead before he hit the ground..."
"Speaking of which, we wanted to talk to his buddies in 82nd Unit," stated Bennie. "Maybe if you're with us, that'll put 'em a bit more 'at ease', so to speak..."
"...right, I understand," Peach agreed.
"Are you certain you'll be all right?" Vert asked.
"With all due respect, Lady Vert, if I went to pieces over every dead comrade, I wouldn't have been fit for the army to begin with." The sergeant heaved another sigh. "Don't worry, I'll keep it together, I promise..."
"Just as long as you don't lose it and beat the crap outta the perp before we have a chance to arrest her," Bennie said.
"Well, I wish you the best of luck," Vert nodded.
*To be continued...*