Walkabout, 4.5

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Last night I lied to the cop and stared at Helena as I did so. He shrugged in Tokyo and I changed my posture as a response in Seattle.

“What happened to the gunman?” I asked the room at large.

“Got nailed himself by Miss Mons’ security detail.”

“Not much of a detail.”

“No comment.” Detective Wong nodded and lead me toward a body by the back door.

The assassin was a short man in black, camo texture, possibly Chinese, with a round tattoo around the left eye. The right eye was hidden behind black plastic, a permanent goggle-eye mod. The top of the man’s head was blown off.

“Security guard shot his leg off,” Wong said, pointing in an arc around an elliptic blood trail. “Then the perp took his own life, by jamming his weapon underneath his head and squeezing the trigger. This resulted in the perpetrator’s death.”

I looked around and didn’t notice any smirks. These people had no sense of humor. I kept my mouth shut.

“You were talking with miss Mons today?” Wong faced my shell now.

“We both remoted into Mexico City, so we shared our shells for a while. I was on my lunch break.” I paused and put my face into a hopefully-sufficient facsimile of concern and asked, “How is she connected to this? Who was that? Where did Helena go?”

Wong looked back toward Kia’s body and pointed a finger.

“That computer claims that Helena Mons is logged on, and has been, for the past hour.”

I looked from the detective to the dead woman, then back.

“What are you talking about?”

“Tokyo police have had Helena Mons under surveillance for the past five years. We follow her everywhere. Even we thought that the woman who walked into this cafe was Helena Mons.”

“Were you listening to our conversation? If so, you know she didn’t say anything to me. This is just as much a surprise to me as it is to you.”

Wong didn’t respond, instead concentrated on the assassin’s left arm. It was covered in small tattoos, each one different in size and color, a hallmark of the junky tattoos done in the dangerous parts of town.

Wong pointed to a numerical tattoo in the crook of the man’s arm. “Prison, China, in-land.” He continued looking over the crime scene.

Detective Willows approached me, her shell walked up to mine, and asked if I knew where Helena was. I looked around us, shrugged and asked, “here?”

Willows looked at me and cocked her head to the side.

“I’ll let Helena know the police is looking for her.” I puffed at that, the whole thing seemed so silly. “Am I a suspect?”

“Witness, at this point. Please don’t leave town.”

“What does the Seattle PD care about this case? The crime was committed in Tokyo…”

“By a Chinese in-land slave, apparently.”

“… and we’re on the other side of the planet.”

“Wong and his superiors think this is important. I got called in on this on my day off. That means some of my superiors think this is important.” Something about that reply made me think that Willows was a fixer, someone who got called in to handle the big messes. If that’s the case, Kia’s death was bigger than I thought.

“Fine, I won’t leave. I’m home now. Mind if I bug out? I need to throw up.”

Willows shooed me away, so I lead my shell outside of the building, onto the closest sidewalk, and disconnected as soon as it looked safe.

I yanked off my goggles and noticed that during the interview Helena had set the kitchen table. She produced salted fish and vodka out of thin air, a gift that was indispensable at parties. In addition to that she had scavenged salted bacon and pickles out of some improbable time-space wormhole.

We got to talking and drinking.

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