Obsidian Command

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In Plain Sight I

Posted on 15 Jun 2024 @ 9:43pm by Lieutenant Commander Dresden Cage
Edited on on 30 Jun 2024 @ 9:16am

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Administrative Building, Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth
Timeline: Seven Days Prior to Arrival Onboard Obsidian Command
1583 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Back at the office, Dresden stared at the screen showing the surveillance footage. The unknown figure moved from the background to the foreground across a period of roughly six seconds. It repeated over and over again, as many times Dresden said “restart”.

“Computer, restart.“ he said again for the eighth time as his voice echoed inside the office. His lonely and neglected bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and coffee cup were to him on the desk as well. He was the only one present in the room.

The footage restarted. The figure was a black distorted, and hazy blob on the screen. It was just very mysterious. Dresden did make out one blue eye and a bright spot on top of the eye near the forehead. He couldn’t make out if it was a feature or just a reflection of light. In theory, the thunderstorm which passed earlier could have messed with the equipment but Dresden wasn’t convinced. He wouldn’t rule it out but he thought it was more likely some sort of foul play. Maybe some sort of dampening field or equipment purposely used to wreak havoc on the cameras.

Dresden looked around the empty office in contemplation. The office space was shared between him, his boss, Commander Sarah Lake, and both of their assistants - Cortes and Anson. The office had four desks that faced each other. The two closest desks to the entrance of the room were his and Cortes. The other two were Lake and Anson. It wasn’t the best set up but all four of them worked well together. They spitballed and collaborated all the time while they maintained the chain of command and respect.

The office was located on the 7th floor of the Admin Building just a quarter mile north from where they were earlier at the crime scene. Most of the floor was empty, save two storage closets on the other side of the building and a waiting area near the turbo lifts. The building was undergoing renovations but it was pretty well staffed.

Dresden stared behind Commander Lake’s desk and took in everything that was there. There was a storage cabinet akin to a dresser. It had some family photos, some of her sports awards and memorabilia she earned while in high school and college, various paperwork and data pads, and personal odds and ends which further personalized the space. One picture of her that stood out among the collection was her shaking a Commodore’s hand while accepting a citation and medal for bravery. She earned both of them from a case she solved a few years ago. Interestingly, it was a murder case similar to the case he’s currently working on.

He stared at her. Her ocean-blue eyes returned the favor as if she smiling at him. As if he was the best thing that ever happened to her. Light freckles littered her face across both cheeks, and her golden blond hair was tied behind her back in a ponytail. The go-to hairstyle that is both professional and casual.

Dresden turned back to the computer in front of him and returned to the blurry image. He knew the thing in front of him was the person behind the crime or connected in some way. He knew it had to be the suspect.

“Computer, analyze the figure I’m circling in this footage.” he requested as he moved his finger in a circular pattern around the figure.

“Provide parameters.” the computer responded.

“Isolate the figure in the foreground from the background”

“Affirmative.”

The computer opened up a new window and placed the blurry figure on a white canvas alone without any background.

“Computer, can you clear up the image? It’s pretty fuzzy and I can’t make any details save the blue eye.”

“Negative, the layer is already at maximum clarity.”

“Can you analyze the image and compare it with all known body markers in our investigative records.”

“Affirmative” she responded.

“Proceeded” he ordered.

“Security clearance required.”

“Triton 5449”

“Security clearance verified. Running the analysis now. This may take a few moments.”

A third window popped up and the computer began to shuffle through files and images stored in the security database to potentially find a match. Dresden grabbed his coffee cup and sipped. He then grabbed the sandwich and was ready to eat.

Suddenly, the room exploded with noise. The doors swooshed open and in came Cortes. His forehead was sweaty, his uniform pants almost falling because it was too loose at the waist, and his glasses fogged up. Cortes walked up to his desk, grabbed Dresden’s sandwich from his hand, and placed the remaining half of the sandwich into his mouth in one bite.

“Thanks, Dresden. I'm starving.” Cortes said but it wasn’t in a funny way. It was as if Cortes genuinely thought Dresden offered the sandwich to him as he walked in.

Dresden remained seated and stoned-faced as if the mythological Medusa won the fight. Cortes chewed as he watched Dresden sit back in his chair.

“Guess what?” Cortes said.

“What…. Cortes” Dresden answered as he pinched his nose.

“I got the autopsy report you requested”

“OK, proceed with your brief:”

“Ok… so… primary cause of death was asphyxiation. Mode of death: Strangulation. Ruled homicide.

“Hmm…” Dresden responded but added: “How long was she dead?”

“Coroner thinks approximately 10 hours. So the murder had to have taken place overnight or very early morning. But there’s one more thing. When the coroner removed the knife, a piece of paper was attached to the tip of the blade.”

“Did it say anything?” Dresden asked.

“Yes, it said: Tonight. 7 PM.”

Dresden looked at the time. “Well, it’s 1 PM now,” Dresden said.

“Results complete.” The computer responded breaking the colloquy between the two of them. She added: “The figure in the image does not match any known body markers in the investigative record.”

Cortes walked behind Dresden. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Trying to determine if we have anything on file that would match any of the body markers. This has to be our suspect.”

“Might I try?” Cortes asked.

“Sure, go for it.”

Cortes was committed to prove to Dresden that he could help him further. For many months, while they were a team, Dresden always took the lead in cases, investigations, and the rest of the work. Dresden appreciated everything Cortes did for him but he had trust issues. He feared Cortes would get it wrong under his watch. Dresden also had roughly seven years more experience.

Cortes took the lead.

“Computer was the figure in question ever captured on footage before?” asked Cortes.

“Affirmative.”

“What? But I just asked her….. Computer, you just informed me and I quote “the figure in the image does not match any known body markers on record”

“Affirmative. This figure is not currently in the investigative record. Security footage is not actively stored in the investigative record. Security footage is currently saved in a separate database unless specifically requested to be saved in the investigative record as part of a criminal or civil investigation.”

Dresden palmed his face. Cortes stepped in again.

“Computer, explain how the figure was captured before on footage?” Cortes asked.

“The body markers and make up of this particular figure matches three others found elsewhere on campus.”

Dresden looked over at Cortes with increased confidence.

“What are the other locations on campus where this figure has been spotted?”

“This figure has also been spotted in the cargo intake area in the basement, the men’s gymnasium in the main campus building, and this security office.”

“This security office?” Dresden questioned with emphasis.

“Computer, can you analyze all four instances this figure has been spotted and provide a best guess artificial representation?”

“Affirmative. However, there will be a margin of error of 10%.”

“Understood. Proceed.” Cortes replied.

“Affirmative. This will take a moment.”

Cortes took a step back and nodded to his boss. Dresden was internally Impressed. He thought to himself why didn’t he think of checking the security footage archives sooner?

Dresden let out a deep sigh and sat further back in his chair.

“Cortes, I will say that, as much as you annoy me, I’m often surprised by your tricks from time to time. For that, I toast to you”

Dresden raised his cold cup of coffee to Cortes in a sign of respect.

“Why thank you,” Cortes said giving him a short bow.

“Analysis complete”

“Here we go,” said Dresden as he placed the coffee cup down and moved closer to the screen.

“Computer, show the results,” said Cortes and he anchored himself to Dresden’s chair.

A new window popped up on the screen that was white and empty and then began to slowly fill in with a photo of a person. Blurry at first but it became clearer by the second.

As the picture became more clear, details emerged. The person had blonde hair, blue eyes, and was at least five feet tall. Then, it became weird. Freckles emerged under both eyes across the cheeks. The build was medium-light. The stature was good, with no slumps. Which meant this person had good a core.

There was nothing more Dresden needed. He got up and walked over to Commander Lake’s workspace and just looked around. Cortes took Dresden’s seat and sat back looking at the picture that finished developing. Their suspect was Commander Sarah Lake.

 

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