The Detective Prince
Alteration in Ego
A strong scent of an ongoing shower came to him. He opened his eyes, feeling the smooth surface below him. The first moments were that of a blur, taking time for his vision to clear up. He looked down to see he was laid out on a couch. Knowing this he turned his head to the right to find himself in an unfamiliar environment.
"Where am I?"
He slowly sat up from where he laid, removing the light blanket that had been placed over him. He then browsed the rest of the room, looking to the wall opposite of himself to see a fish tank set up atop a dresser. He then focused his attention to the left, finding an opened window in the clear where small drops continued to drift in.
"What is this place?"
Not a moment later did it take for him to realize that something was off, reaching for his face to find that his glasses were not in place. This raised more questions than before. Not wanting to sit around any longer he dropped down from the couch, taking notice of a door on the right side.
"That could be my way out, pending that it's not locked from the other side."
Making little noise as possible he quietly made his way to the door, not wanting the possibility of someone to hear.
"Step one complete."
He reached for the knob once there, slowly turning it only to hear the sound of a voice from behind.
"No need for the stealth, it's just the two of us."
"Let me guess," Conan said turning around. "You were there the whole time."
"Only for the past five minutes." Tim replied stepping away from the wall.
"Guess this is what happens when you don't check the whole room," Conan said. "What is this place, and why did you bring me here?"
"We had a dispute with the time and all last night, so we came to the decision to bring you here," Tim answered. "My place."
"Ok, that explains," Conan said. "But what about my glasses, where did you put them?"
"I thought you would have been more concerned with what happened after that black out of yours."
"I blacked out?"
"You don't remember?"
He took the next seconds to try and rehash what had happened, trailing his way back to the sofa as he did. He took a seat once there, bringing a hand to his head with the shake of his head.
"You really don't remember, do you?"
"The last thing I recall is going on a search of the room."
"As I was told," Tim said. "Something about finding a way out of there right?"
"Yea, that's right," Conan said sliding down from the couch. "The thief, what happened with him?"
"One topic at a time, you first," Tim said. "What's the last thing you remember from last nights occasion, preferably what you remember seeing last?"
"Let's see here."
He brought a hand to his chin, stepping around the couch as he did.
"So you went in search of the room, then what happened?"
"If I'm not mistaken I followed the the outer wall on the left side in hopes of finding an unattended vent."
"I had the intent of planting a recorder onto it," Conan replied. "It was all part of the plan."
"So you're following the outline of the wall, at any point did you stop for any given reason?"
"I don't recall.."
He paused, giving it a couple seconds to think back.
"Now that you mention it there was something," Conan said looking up at him. "That man, he was there."
"What man," Tim asked. "Anybody I might know?"
"Korn, I'm sure of it."
"Wait, you don't mean the less than talkative Korn from the Organization do you?"
"I know it sounds far fetched but I'm positive it was him I saw."
"Ok, let's say this is true," Tim said. "What would he being doing here in Gotham?"
"I don't know," Conan replied. "It could be a variety of things, a planned hit would be my first guess."
"I was thinking the same."
"Was anyone hurt or maybe killed last night that you might know of?"
"Not at the convention," Tim replied. "If that was indeed him, there might be another reason for his attendance."
"And I doubt he was there for the big reveal."
"What exactly did you see him doing, was he with anyone?"
"No, he was alone," Conan replied. "I didn't notice him at first, he had a newspaper covering his face."
"Sounds to me like he might have been waiting for someone."
"That must have been around the time I lost conscious," Conan said. "That leaves us with no real way of finding out."
"Not necessarily," Tim stated. "We can still get ahold of the security tapes, that might reveal just what we're hoping to find."
"I didn't even think about that," Conan said. "How soon do you think we can get our hands on these tapes?"
"Not completely sure, we'll have to call in and set up a time," Tim replied. "Shouldn't take any longer than a day at max."
"Let's hope we can cut it shorter than that."
"And you're sure that's all you saw," Tim asked. "Are you certain you didn't see him make eye contact with anyone, perhaps a guest who might have approached him?"
"Sorry, but that's all I can remember," Conan said. "Whatever happened next is unknown to me."
"Not that I really care to know, but how did everyone react when I fell over," Conan asked. "How did Bruce take it?"
"I didn't see his initial reaction, but that woman," Tim said. "Ademia Kefalas, she was one of the first to come to your side."
"She even called for an ambulance," Tim informed. "That's when I stepped in and said I'd take over."
"She sounds like a really decent woman, you're not still suspicious of her are you?"
"Don't know, but that's not what we should be focused in on."
"You're right, now it's your turn," Conan declared. "What happened with the thief?"
"Unfortunately he got away."
"I was afraid that'd be the outcome," Conan said with the shake of his head. "Are we any closer to finding out who this guy is?"
"I tried asking Damian about what happened last night, but he completely refused to answer," Tim replied. "I left it up to Bruce and Dick to handle the situation from there, that's when I brought you here."
"What about Hattori, is he around?"
"Out looking into something, and soon will I," Tim said. "Bruce plans to brief me in on what he learned about our run away thief."
"I want to come with."
"I don't think so," Tim declined. "I agreed to make sure you stayed put, at least until the blood results come back on the blood sample collected."
"And how long is that going to take?"
"Some time to day," Tim answered. "If something is wrong with you, which appears to be the case, we'll know what soon enough."
"Leaving me to sit here and wait while you guys get to handle the case," Conan remarked. "Sounds like a joy."
"I've always found reading to be a helpful way of passing time, there's actually quite a selection to choose from in the up stairs room," Tim notified. "I could take you there now if you'd like."
"No thanks," Conan declined. "I'd rather not."
"You feeling ok?"
"I'm fine, maybe just a little tired is all," Conan replied. "You never did answer my question to where you put my glasses."
"Hold on for a minute, I'll go and grab them," Tim said before heading for the door. "I left them sitting on the kitchen counter."
"Great, I'll come with you." Conan said following from close behind.
"Fine by me."
After over an hour of driving they had finally arrived. He tipped the cab driver before stepping out, waving him off before watching him drive into the clear.
"Finally, now maybe we'll get some answers."
He checked his watch, wanting to clarify the time they had discussed.
"Thirty five after ten, this might be pushing it," Heiji thought to himself. "Good thing I don't plan on staying long."
He made his way to the entrance from there, looking to see the parking lot was more than half full.
"Never expected business to begin on such a high note."
He continued toward the building, looking up to the print upon the sign which read 'Living Green'. He entered in as a group of people exited, wasting no time in trying to sight an employee.
"Excuse me." Heiji said approaching someone working in front of a set of flower pots.
They immediately turned to face him.
"What is it I can do for you?"
"It's actually quite simple," Heiji replied. "Would you happen to know where I might find Mr. Matthews, Steve Matthews to be precise?"
"Oh yes, he's working today."
"In which department?"
"If I'm not mistaken he should be out back watering the outside plants, that would be the best place to look."
Knowing where to go next he left with no further questions needed. He checked the time once more, wanting to make sure he remained on schedule. After reaching the other side of the room he followed the wall all the way to the back, stopping after reaching the door. He pushed it aside with ease, looking into the near distance to see a lone man standing with a water hose in hand.
"That must be him."
He removed his hands from within his pockets as he approached, coming to a halt after reaching his side.
He turned to face him, lowering the hose as he did.
"That would be me," Steve confirmed. "You must be the one who wished to speak with me."
"That is correct." Heiji replied before pulling out his phone.
"A picture," Heiji replied holding the phone out for him to see. "This woman, I was told you've seen her before."
"Let me see here."
He moved in for a closer look, shaking his head at what he saw.
"That's right," Steve confirmed. "She comes in every few days or so."
"I was told her name was Sam."
"Not Sam, Pam," Steve corrected. "Or at least that's what she told me."
"What else do you know about her," Heiji asked. "I heard you two spoke on a regular basis."
"Only about the merchandise," Steve said. "From the types of plants we have here to the ones we would be importing in."
"At any point did she discuss anything regarding her personal life?"
They were interrupted by the sound of his phone. He pulled it out to see the incoming number.
"It's from the station," Heiji said. "I have to take this."
He turned his back to him to take the call.
"This is Heiji."
Not much needed to be said on his part, only listening to what was told to him. The conversation didn't take long, shocked by the information that was given to him.
"I'm sorry," Heiji said turning back to face him. "But I must go."
"You mentioned something about a station, are you some kind of investigator or something?"
"Something like that," Heiji replied. "Appreciate the information, I'll leave you back to your work, we're done here."
"Nice talk." Steve said as he watched him walk off.
He followed him down the stairs, letting him take the lead as the two made their way toward the door. They entered to find him sitting at the desk. He looked up at the two, almost as if he had been expecting them.
"I checked for traces of DNA on that hang glider like you asked," Dick informed. "It came up negative."
"I'm not surprised," Bruce said. "Especially after pulling the file on the presumed thief."
"So is it true, is that guy really who he said he was?"
"From the description you gave I'd say we have a match," Bruce confirmed. "He goes by the name of Kaitou Kid, a well known and successful thief who operates predominantly in Japan."
"Never heard of the guy prior to last night," Damian commented. "His skills were slightly above mediocre, but did have the edge to catch me by surprise."
"Japan isn't his only known playing field," Bruce continued. "I had heard about some of his other activities that have taken shape over the past year or so, only now has he brought his travels here to Gotham."
"Any clue as to why that may be?" Dick asked.
"If I knew the answer to that I wouldn't be sitting here," Bruce replied. "Finding out what he's after is our main priority."
"What exactly was it that he stole?" Dick asked.
"It was known as a G3 Power Emitter," Bruce replied. "It was said to have had enough energy to power a half a city the size of Gotham."
"That can't be right," Damian spoke out. "There's no way the device I saw him stash away within his jacket could be capable of that length of power."
"You wouldn't think," Bruce agreed. "But you'd be surprised, I saw the prints for the device myself this morning."
"So we know the what, now only the why remains," Dick said. "Any ideas as to why this guy might have taken the gizmo?"
"Unfortunately not," Bruce replied. "There's nothing in his profile evading toward an item such as the one taken, commonly what sparks his interest is jewels."
"Any particular type?"
"Why does his routine even matter at this point," Damian said taking a spot to the wall. "I doubt we're even going to find him, if he's smart he's probably hiding it out somewhere."
"What are you implying, that we should just give up?" Dick said looking his way.
"Father said he went after something he normally wouldn't right, that means there's a high possibility he was hired for the job," Damian said. "Which means instead of looking for the clown in white, we should be looking for someone who'd have something to gain with a device like that."
"Taking a methodical approach I see," Dick commented. "I'm impressed."
"The question is, will we be receiving another riddle?"
"I was wondering that very question myself."
"Then let it be put to rest," Bruce said regaining their attention. "Before worrying about anything that has yet to occur, we need to figure out the other message presented in the riddle."
"Another message?" Dick said looking at him in confusion.
"the prosper of growth isn't fostered within the past or present, for the Diamonds eye is for all to see," Bruce reminded. "That phrase was clearly referring to the Futures Building."
"Then there's the second part of that riddle," Bruce continued. "the Shows beginning shall proceed with all λ0-(-30) 105 accounted in."
"Which was the link between important structures throughout the city."
"But had little to do with what unfolded last night," Bruce said. "Let's not blind ourselves from the importance of the (X) at the beginning of the riddle and the (Y) that closed it off."
"Which we've concluded as placement and distance," Dick said. "But besides the Futures Building, what else could we be looking into as a place of interest?"
"All locations that lead us to where we are now," Bruce replied. "Cennals Inc, Delmore Industries, Syclons, Salvon's Bridge, Silver Engineering, Kelver Side Crafts, and Wayne Enterprises."
"Are you sure about this?"
"He got ahold of one of the Wayne helicopters, I'd say he knows a thing or two about the company and how we work business," Bruce replied. "And probably a sufficient amount of information on the other companies as well."
"Makes sense when you put it that way."
"From this point forward this is now one of our top priorities."
"From the sounds of it I'd say you're taking this whole thing rather personal." Damian stated.
"The moment that Kaitou Kid impersonated me to see his mission through was the moment it became personal."
"Oh.. kay then," Dick said. "Where do we start?"
"While reading through the many reports involving Kid I happened to sight a certain someone who seemed to be at the middle of several of the encounters."
"Someone we know?"
"Correct," Bruce confirmed. "I want you to bring me the boy, if there's a quick counter to Kid he's our best option."
"You mean Conan?"
"He knows this guy better than any of us as it would appear."
"Wow, talk about desperate measures." Damian remarked.
"I'll give Tim a call in a bit to see if he's awake," Dick said. "Speaking of which, did you get the results back on that blood test you ran?"
"Still in the process." Bruce answered at the ring of his phone.
Not sure as to who was calling he removed the phone from in his pocket, surprised at who was was calling. He answered it, listening to the person on the other line who delivered some unfortunate and disturbing news. He understood what was needed of him, hanging up after nearly a minute of conversation.
"What is it," Dick asked after seeing the look on his face. "What happened?"
"It's Mr. Fournier," Bruce said resting his phone to the desk. "He's dead."
"Mr. Fournier, as in Lonard Fournier?"
"No, but his brother," Bruce replied. "Grahm Fournier."
"They're saying he was shot," Bruce replied. "And that's the only information that was given to me."
"But why call you, I don't understand."
"They're gathering everyone who made contact with the company in the last twenty four hours," Bruce replied. "I told them I couldn't make it but would send a representative in my place regarding the business aspect of things."
"No, I want you here working the Kaitou Kid case while I go check on that blood sample," Bruce said sitting up from the chair. "I'll call Tim and have him head down there."
"Either way works."
"I'll be back shortly," Bruce said. "If you unexpectedly need me for whatever reason, you know where to find me."
"Of course," Dick said. "Damian and I will see what we can come up with."
"Good, then I'll leave it to you."
With that he turned for the other side, exiting the room with the push of the door.
"We do as asked of us," Dick replied. "Our best bet is to decode the remainder of the message, with any luck that will lead us right to him."
"And if it doesn't?"
"It will," Dick said in response. "After hearing what he had to say and revisiting the riddle, I'm certain of it."
"I sure hope you're right about this one."
"Don't over think it, you'll see in time," Dick said. "Now, what do you say we get this investigation underway?"
"The tables yours."
He followed him out of the room they had been in, leading into a larger one. He observed the place as they walked, taking in every little detail that came to view. There were a set of stairs leading to another floor, but most notable were the unique paintings of art that filled the wall. They stopped upon reaching a door on the far side, walking in past it which lead to yet another room.
"And here we are." Tim said walking over to the counter located on the left side.
He reached down, grabbing hold of the desired item before turning back to hand it to him.
"I take it this are what you wanted."
"Thanks." Conan said taking the glasses into hand before placing them on.
"I don't get it, why wear them when you're here," Tim questioned. "It's not like you have vision problems or need to disguise your appearance from anyone around here."
"It's more of a habit, and in case a situation arises where they're needed."
"Sticking with the simple approach I see, we'll go with that."
"Not a bad place by the way, not as big as the mansion," Conan commented. "But still spaced out none the less."
"Would you like anything," Tim asked. "Perhaps something to eat or drink?"
"No thanks, I think I'll be fine for awhile." Conan said bringing a hand to his forehead.
"It's nothing," Conan assured. "Just a minor headache is all."
"I know just the thing," Tim said with the snap of his finger. "How about a bath, if anything it could at least help mellow down the headache you've got going."
He took a few moments to give it some thought, looking back up at him after coming to a decision.
"You know.. that might not be a bad idea."
"Great, the bath water has already been set," Tim informed. "It should still be relatively warm, I took care of that right before coming to check on you."
"You had this all planned out didn't you?"
"You seemed warm when I checked last, so I thought it might be a good idea," Tim replied. "You'll find the bathroom first door on the left upstairs."
"Back onto what happened last night," Conan said shifting the subject. "How did the general public take it, do the police know what went on?"
"Only parts here and there," Tim replied. "Not as much information as we have on the matter."
"I guess it's a wait and see approach."
"That's one way of putting it." Tim said to hear the sound of his phone.
"Who is it?" Conan asked out of curiosity.
"Think it's about what happened last night?"
"Only one way of finding out." Tim said taking the call.
He kept his position from where he stood, watching as the look on his face gradually changed from what it had been. He wasn't sure if he should be concerned or not, waiting over a minute for his conversation to come to an end.
"What was it, what did he say?"
"There's a problem at the Nano High building," Tim replied. "Grahm Fournier was found dead in his brother's office."
"He was murdered, one bullet to the head."
"I can't believe it."
"It's surprising news for us all," Tim said. "Anyway, Bruce wants me to head up there for certain proceedings."
"Can I come," Conan asked with a step taken. "There's bound to be a case."
"I thought that's what your response might be, but the answer is no," Tim said declining his request. "More important thing in your regard right now is getting some rest."
"Is Heiji going to be there?"
"I'm not certain, but there's a chance," Tim said. "I'll tell you what, why don't you hold onto this."
He reached into his pocket, pulling out a familiar device which he handed to him.
"A codec piece," Conan questioned. "What for?"
"This way you can hear all that goes on while still here."
"Is this supposed to make me feel better on the matter?"
"No, but it does give you an option besides being completely left out."
"Alright," Conan said placing it into his ear. "Can't get any worse than this."
"Bruce also wishes to speak with you about something," Tim informed. "I said I'd swing you back once business is wrapped up at Nano High."
"Did he tell you what about?"
"No idea," Tim replied. "But it sounded important."
"Not much to take away from that."
"I guess I better be going, they want me down there as soon as possible."
"If there's anything you want or need while I'm away just give me a ring, I'll try and get back to you whenever I can."
"Good, then I better be getting on my way."
He turned for the other side, exiting out of the kitchen through the same door he had entered.
"Grahm Fournier..," Conan thought. "What could have possibly lead to his death?"
He sat in silence as the cab drove along, taking a peak out of the window side to see the building was finally coming into view. He took a deep breath, readying himself for what was to come next.
"So, this is Nano High."
The cab came to a stop shortly there after. The two of them looked on, coming to find a large group of people from newscasters to police officers occupying the area.
"Is this good enough?"
"Yes, this will do," Heiji replied. "I can walk the rest of the way from here."
"Big crowd I see, any idea to what's going on over there?"
"Still don't have the full story myself," Heiji replied. "The only thing to my knowledge is that an important man has died."
"Good luck getting through there."
With that he stepped out, gently closing the door before stepping up to the sidewalk. He made his way toward the building, finding it difficult to do so with the many that stood in his path. It wasn't just the reporters that surrounded the area, but a fleet of spectators coming to see what had occurred.
"Didn't expect a showing quite like this."
He continued to push his way toward the exit, surprised to see a man in a dress suit waving over at him in the near distance.
"Hey Hattori, over here."
"He knows my name."
There was something familiar, but he couldn't quite pin point where he had seen him. None the less he made his way toward the man who stood a few yards away.
"You wanted to speak with me?"
"Yea, I'm your ticket in," The man replied. "They won't let anyone in unattended without a police officer."
"That's right," Heiji said having it all come back to him. "I saw you at the City Hall, officer Celek right?"
"So you do remember me."
"Didn't recognize you at first," Heiji admitted. "Being that you're out of uniform."
"Glad we're on the same page," Celek said. "Now come, they wish to see you as soon as possible."
"Me," Heiji questioned. "Why?"
"On behalf of Lonard's wishes," Celek replied. "You must have left a good impression."
"You don't say," Heiji said. "So what's the deal, he wants me to try and piece together what happened?"
"That would explain."
"On another note, have you spoken with Gordon?"
"No, why," Heiji asked. "Did he want to see me?"
"He wanted to have a conversation with you about what happened last night at the Futures Building," Celek replied. "Looks like you may have been correct in your deduction."
"Yet it wasn't enough to catch the guy before making his move."
"Not all is lost," Celek said in response. "The diamond, the one left behind in the devices place."
"What of it?"
"It was stolen from Kelver Side Crafts exactly a month from yesterday." Celek informed.
"Is that right?"
"They're already running it for prints at the lab, with any luck it might lead to something," Celek continued. "Maybe even to who took that device."
"You don't know how helpful you've been."
"I'm glad to hear," Celek said. "Has something come to mind?"
"Not yet, but it is certainly an angle to work."
"Come, it'd be in our best interest not to keep them waiting any longer."
"Sure, but I must ask," Heiji said as they began to walk. "Why are you in a regular suit and not in uniform?"
"For undercover purposes," Celek informed. "My goal is to look out for any suspicious activity amongst the many employees."
"Why is that?"
"It seems there's been a bit of a subtle problem within the company," Celek replied. "It appearers that."
"No need to go on," Heiji said cutting him off. "Lonard had already come to me with this exact problem, the plan was for me to meet with him on the matter today."
"Looks like you're caught up with the situation even more so than myself."
"Besides you, who else is here to see this case through?"
"Just a couple of the locals," Celek replied. "Many of the other are still piecing together where that thief might have run off to."
"On the subject of Kelver Side, how did things turn out last night," Heiji asked. "I didn't hear of any incident, am I to assume all went well?"
"About as good as you would expect," Celek replied. "Which in affect confirms the one to write the riddles was in fact a guest at the Futures Building."
"That nails it," Heiji said. "But there's still one thing that bothers me."
"The last riddle given out," Heiji said. "How was the thief able to deliver it to all of the stations and have it so they were all discovered at the same time?"
".. That's a really good question."
"An answer which may not be easy to come by."
The two became quiet as they pressed on, slowly making their way around those who stood in their path toward the front entrance. It took much patience, finally reaching the door nearly a minute later. The flash of several lights past by, turning to see it was only camera's. The door was immediately closed upon the two stepping in, greeted by a man who stood in what appeared to be a lab suit.
"Welcome to Nano High, you must be the detective I was informed about."
"And you are?"
"Edward Canoe," He replied pointing to his name tag. "But you can call me Professor Canoe, I've been helping with a lot of the hands on stuff we've been working on in the lab right beneath us."
"Professor Canoe it is."
They were then joined by another man who made his way over from the large desk on the left side.
"This here is Anthony Hamilton, the front clerk who checks in all guests." Edward introduced.
"This must be detective Hattori," Anthony said. "That must mean we're all set to head up."
"To where?" Heiji asked looking to him.
"The top floor," Edward replied. "That is where the the crime occurred, and is also where they would like us all to gather."
"Is this all of us, or are more to show?" Celek asked.
"As far as I know this is it," Edward said turning for the right side. "Come, the elevators are just around the corner."
"Has the problem been fixed?" Anthony asked.
"It hasn't given anyone trouble for the past thirty minutes, so I think we're good to go." Edward replied.
"Problem," Heiji questioned. "What kind of problem?"
"We had a little malfunction with one of the elevators, but it is now all clear," Edward assured. "It is no longer anything to worry about."
"I still think we better have someone give it a look later just in case," Anthony said. "You just never know with these things."
"Agreed, but right now our focus is needed elsewhere," Edward said. "Now what do you say we all head on up?"
"No argument there." Celek agreed.
With that they made their way for the elevators just ahead.
Things had become completely silent from the time he had left, taking his time as he made his way up the stairs. The door on the left mentioned to him before could clearly be seen as he neared the top. Each taken step seemed more draining than the last, stopping for a brief moment after reaching the top. The headache from before had escalated, no matter how minor it may be. He brought a hand to his forehead at the same time his phone began to ring. Not wanting to delay the call he reached down and grabbed hold of it, answering it on the spot.
"Conan," A comforting voice softly spoke. "Conan is that you?"
"It's good to hear your voice again, I'm sorry your phone burned out the last we spoke."
"Oh yea," Conan laughingly agreed. "It had been on for most of the day."
"So are you doing ok?"
"Couldn't be better, it's been a great run so far."
"Speaking of which, where are the two of you now?"
"Heiji told me about your travels," Ran clarified. "I was just wondering where it is you two are now."
"Oh yes," Conan said with a sudden pause. "We're actually in Chicago now, but plan on taking our journeys further east in the next day or so."
"Sounds like fun."
"It has been, what about you," Conan asked. "How have things been since your return?"
"Still settling in, but it is good to be home," Ran replied. "Though of course it's not the same without you, when do you plan on coming back anyway?"
"Five days, a week maybe."
"Don't cut it too long, after all school's back in session a week and a half from now." Ran reminded.
"I haven't forgotten."
"Good, then I'm going to let you go," Ran said. "I think it's about time I got a little sleep, it's been a long day."
"You're right," Conan said having a peak down at his watch. "It's after eleven PM there."
"If I don't hear from you soon, I'll be sure to call back in the next couple days."
"I'll be looking forward to it," Conan replied. "Good night Ran."
"Hope to see you soon."
He lowered the phone from his ear after ending the transmission, placing it back into his pocket before heading for the door once again.
"It sure was nice to hear her voice," Conan thought. "Hopefully she's doing better than me."
The elevator finally came to a stop upon reaching the twenty fifth floor. They all exited one by one, following Edward Canoe who lead them down the left side. He could hear voices in the clear, only getting louder the closer they got. He signaled for everyone to stop after reaching a door halfway down the hall.
"And here we are," Edward said turning the knob. "Once in they should update you with the details you need to know."
Without further ado he opened the door, being the first out of the four to step in. It was just as expected, everything set up just like any other crime scene. The first thing that came to view was the small area blocked off by crime scene tape on the other side of the room.
"That must be where the body was found."
He moved in, coming to a stop only after reaching the tape. Large amounts of blood could be seen embedded in the carpet below, there was no mistaking it, this had been where Grahm Fournier had been shot.
"This is defiantly where it happened." Heiji thought as someone joined up at his side.
"Hello there," An unknown officer greeted. "You must be that other detective who Lonard requested for."
"That'd be me," Heiji confirmed. "Was this where the body was found?"
"That is correct."
"At approximately what time was that?"
"Eight twenty four this morning."
"Who was the one to find the body?"
"Ms. Fournier," The officer replied. "The niece of the late Mr. Grahm Fournier."
"That's never a good way to start the day," Heiji stated. "Do we have an estimated time for when he was shot and killed?"
"They're working on that at the lab as we speak, we should have an answer to that soon enough."
"In the mean time why don't you go and let Lonard know you're here," The officer suggested. "I'm sure he'd like to have a word with you."
"I'd assume so," Heiji said. "Where is he now?"
"Right over there accompanying his daughter," The officer said pointing to the left side. "As you can see she's very distraught over this whole ordeal."
"Which is understandable, its not every day you walk in to find a dead family member," Heiji said turning to where he had pointed. "Thanks for the information."
He made his way into that direction from there, looking ahead to see Lonard who was still comforting his daughter through the current procedures. It took all but a few seconds for him to look up to see he had finally arrived.
"Detective Hattori, " Lonard greeted. "I'm so glad you were able to make it on such short notice."
"I wouldn't exactly call it short notice, after all we were scheduled to meet about an hour from now."
"You're very right," Lonard said. "That completely fell to the back of my mind with all that has happened."
"Which is understandable."
"I'm sure by now you know why you've been summoned here."
"To investigate the circumstances surrounding your brothers death."
"Exactly," Lonard confirmed. "The more people we have working on this the better, I want the one responsible for this held accountable for their actions."
"As do we all, but first I'd like to start off by asking a couple questions."
"Starting with your daughter if that's alright with you."
"Well my dear," Lonard said looking down at her. "Are you feeling up to it?"
She didn't respond for the first moments, taking her a time to finally give him the nod.
"Are you sure Bernadea?" Lonard asked.
"I want to help in anyway that I can." Bernadea replied.
"Very well," Lonard said. "In the mean time I'll be over there speaking with the Lieutenant, I'll return as soon as I can."
"I'll be right here." Bernadea said.
He nodded, turning for the opposite side of the room with nothing further said. That left just the two of them. He wasted no time, wanting to get straight to the point.
"Tell me," Heiji said stepping up to her. "What was it like when you entered the room at the time, was it dark?"
"To a degree, yes," Bernadea replied wiping the visible tears from her eyes. "There were no lights on, only the sun which was in the mist of rising provided a visual."
"I'd ask you about the position of the body, but I'm sure they have photos that could cover that field for me," Heiji said. "Could you clarify the time when you came across the body."
"Twenty something after."
"At what hour?"
"Eight this morning."
"Alright I'll check it down as eight twenty for now," Heiji said. "Besides the time, is there anything else of importance you might be able to tell me?"
"The room, it was cool," Bernadea said. "Almost as if someone had left the window open."
"Not when I walked in."
"Air conditioning maybe?"
"It's currently a no go," Bernadea informed. "When I reported that bit of information they checked for that very possibility only to find that the air conditioning was non functional."
"How long do you believe it was out?"
"It was working just fine yesterday afternoon before I left."
"Do you think there's some meaning to it?"
"Can't say for sure," Heiji replied. "While we're still on the subject, is there anything else out of the ordinary that you noticed or can tell me?"
"That was virtually it, once I saw the body seconds after I freaked," Bernadea said. "I left to go and find help immediately."
"What you've given me is good enough, and could prove useful."
"So are we done?"
"For now, yes," Heiji replied. "Of course I'll come back if there is anything else that needs to be asked."
"I'm glad I was able to help."
"Keep your spirits high, we'll eventually get this thing solved."
With that he turned for the other side, thinking about all he had just learned from his conversation with her.
"The estimated time of death will prove key," Heiji thought. "Then there's the temperature deal.. could someone have tried to change the apparent time of death?"
He finally reached the bathroom, closing the door on his way in. It was then that the thoughts of what could be going on at Nano High came back to him.
"I wonder if he has arrived at the facility yet," Conan thought. "I'm sure he'll inform me when he does."
Wanting to keep a close link as possible he activated the ear piece given to him, only hearing the sound of static in the first moments.
"Doesn't sound like anything is going on," Conan said. "Either he hasn't arrived or this thing is out of commission."
He looked ahead to the tub a few feet away, coming to find it had been filled with water like he had been told.
"This might actually be a good idea," Conan said. "Besides I could use the relaxation."
His shirt was the first of his clothing to be removed. Only then did he stop at a sharp pain in his chest. He anticipated it would only last seconds but quickly found that not to be case. It started with his chest but escalated to his head. He tried to reach for his chest to grab hold but found the pain to be too damaging.
"My body, I feel so... so cold inside."
Feeling this was urgent he dropped a hand into his pocket for his phone, finding it hard to get a good handle on it.
"Must call .. must let them know."
He finally brought the phone to his sight after a minor struggle, quickly dialing the last number that had been called. He raised the phone to his ear only to hear it ring twice before having it fall out of his hand. The pain from within pushed onward, causing him to fall forward into the tub with the clutch of his chest. What happened next was unknown, falling into an unconscious state.
The next minutes that came were spent in search of the room, spanning from one wall to the other. All was clear, finding nothing out of the ordinary. He then decided to rejoin the others who stood around the tape where body had been found, tapping officer Celek on the shoulder who turned to face him.
"Find anything worth mentioning?"
"Not upon my first look," Heiji replied. "This here seems to be the vocal point to where it all happened."
"Everything seems to point that way."
"When was the body removed from this room?"
"Roughly ten O'clock," Officer Celek replied. "Of course after all the necessary precautions were taken."
"How about pictures of the body," Heiji asked. "Would you happen to have a shot of the scene before the body was removed?"
"Most certainly." Officer Celek replied before reaching into his jacket.
He pulled out a lot of three photos, handing all three to him within that very moment. The first of the photo taken was the most graphic of them all, a clear picture of where the bullet had entered just below his forehead. He then flipped through the other two, giving him a better understanding of where the body had landed after being shot.
"Positioning is just as key as any other factor," Heiji said dissecting the third photo even further. "From the looks of it the body landed around two yards and a half away from the center window."
He then looked to the door leading to the room for further reference.
"I didn't notice that."
"Notice what?" Officer Celek asked overhearing his side comment.
"The center window, where the body was found, and the door leading to this room are all aligned." Heiji replied looking back to him.
"Could there be a deeper meaning to it?"
"Possibly," Heiji replied. "Defiantly something to take note of."
"We find out the times every employee left last night," Heiji replied. "We also need to know who's responsible for working the air conditioning system in this room."
"I'm inclined to agree," Officer Celek said. "Wait here, I'll see what I can find out."
"Good luck." Heiji said as he watched him make a move for the other side of the room.
He looked to the stained carpet of blood once more, wanting to give the near area a more in depth skim. Before getting the chance to do so he heard someone step up to his right side.
"So, how's the investigation coming along?"
"Tim," Heiji said twirling around. "How did you get in here?"
"Same way as you," Tim replied. "Security escort."
"You didn't answer my question about your status concerning this case."
"Still feeling my way around," Heiji replied. "If you'd like I could fill you in."
"Sure thing, but first I need to speak with Lonard," Tim replied. "After all he was the one who wished for Bruce to come, I'm only here on his behalf."
"What about Kudo, was he awake when you left?"
"He sure was."
"How was he feeling?"
"Besides what he explained as a minor headache, I'd say he was alright," Tim replied. "He actually called about three minutes ago."
"What did he want?"
"Don't know, unfortunately I missed the call," Tim replied. "And he didn't even leave a message."
"Did you try calling back?"
"He didn't pick up," Tim answered. "I'll try again as soon as everything is situated here."
"I'll try giving him a ring myself."
Before an attempt could be made he looked to the other side to see Lonard was in approach of the two of them.
"Hello again," Lonard said rejoining the fray. "How did your talk with my daughter go?"
"As expected," Heiji replied. "She gave everything I was hoping to hear with a little extra."
"How did she react afterward?"
"Seemed fine, but you can go check on her for yourself if you'd like."
"I see Wayne has sent one of his young accomplices in his place," Lonard said focusing his attention to him. "Good to see you my boy."
"I'm sorry he wasn't able to make it himself, he deeply apologizes for his non attendance," Tim informed. "He has another line of work he had to take care of."
"Which is quite understandable."
"What is it you wished to speak with him about?"
"There's actually a set of files I wanted him to take a look at," Lonard replied. "Since you're here I'll hand it over to you to forward to him."
"That works for me."
"Good, then I'll go and grab the folder."
"Wait," Heiji said stepping in his path. "Before you go there's something I'd like to ask."
"Would you happen to know who was responsible for working the air conditioning in here?"
"That was one of Grahm's many jobs." Lonard replied.
"One of his many jobs.. what else did he work on?" Heiji asked.
"Well, he was head of security," Lonard added. "So anything running from surveillance to those hired in that field was his job to handle."
"Thank you," Heiji said with a nod. "That's all I needed to know."
"Stay put," Lonard instructed. "I'll be right back with that case file."
"I'll be right here." Tim assured.
He smilingly made his way to the other side toward his large desk in the corner. With a little time to spare he pulled out his phone, dialing his number once more in hopes of reaching him.
"He's still not answering." Tim said in response.
"You're not worried are you?"
"With the spontaneous black outs he's showcased within this last week I'd say that raises a level of concern."
"Point taken," Heiji said. "After he retrieves that file I think you had better go check on him before visiting Bruce."
"That's the plan," Tim said. "Think you can handle things here?"
"Don't see why not, I've made strides of progress from the moment I walked in up until now."
"While we're still on the subject, have you heard from any of the others regarding what happened last night," Heiji asked. "We never were informed on what Damian encountered out there."
"I'd rather talk with Bruce about that in person, which I will do after the check up."
"Keep me informed."
It wasn't long after that they were rejoined by Lonard who brought a folder along just as said.
"Here you are my boy, be sure that Wayne gets ahold of this," Lonard stated. "Every sheet inside is just as important as the next."
"I'll be sure to let him know," Tim said. "What is this for, in the case that he asks?"
"Alrighty then," Tim said holding it close. "I think it's about that time."
"Leaving so soon?" Lonard asked.
"There's an important matter that calls for my immediate attention."
"I'll have security see you out," Lonard said in response. "Right this way."
He followed him from there, leaving Heiji to stand alone once again. He scoured the room once again from where he stood, noticing Bernadea was still standing in the same corner, looking even more worried than before.
"I wonder what's got her so tangled."
Concerned by her position he decided to walk over. As he closed in he caught sight of something held tightly to her chest, unsure of what it was.
"Fournier, what is it you've got there?" Heiji asked upon reaching her.
"He's not answering."
"Nathan," Bernadea clarified. "My fiance, I've been trying to contact him all morning."
"When is the last time you saw him?"
"When he dropped me off this morning."
"At about time was that?"
"Some time after one."
"Your sure he's not just at home still asleep?"
"I've called several times, it's not like him not to pick up," Bernadea exclaimed. "Especially if he knew it was me."
"I'll talk with your father and see what we can do," Heiji said. "In the mean time try not to worry, I'm sure he's fine."
He smiled on his departure, giving her a small level of comfort. He returned to the center of things, beginning yet another search of the room. Several minutes carried along in the process, a quick five turning into thirty without even realizing. He tried dialing both numbers to check up on the situation after completing his analysis, only to receive a ring in return.
"Neither are answering, I hope everything is ok."
He became more and more concerned by the minute, finding himself distracted by it. He turned to the other side of the room at the sound of someone entering in past the door, coming to find officer Celek had returned.
"Sorry about the wait, but you'll be glad to hear I was able to gain some very valuable information."
"Grahm Fournier was shot at the estimated time of twelve midnight," Officer Celek informed. "We have a list of all of those who were still here at that given time."
"Alright, who are we talking?"
"Most of the employees who are in here now," Officer Celek replied. "Canoe Edward, Hamilton Anthony, and Fournier Lonard himself."
"That would make those three our prime suspects."
"There were two others, a Carol Flowers and another young gentleman who was here," Celek added. "We've already called each of them, they should be in soon."
"That extends the list of suspects, but not by much," Heiji said. "How did you know they were all here at that given time?"
"They have clearance cards that they use to swap in and out."
"I was just about to head to the security back room to check the cameras, I thought you might want to come along."
"You thought right," Heiji said. "Where is this room?"
"Just down the hall from here," Officer Celek replied. "I'll show you the way."
"Right behind you."
He remained in deep thought, scrambling everything they had learned throughout his mind in hopes of finding the true message to it all. He unintentionally found his finger tapping down to the table, looking across from where he sat to see him writing something down on a sheet of paper.
"Wow, it's not often you see him putting in work dealing with the investigation stages."
He continued to watch him for awhile longer, finally speaking out a short time later.
"What is it you're jotting down there?"
"I listed out all of the locations that were referenced in alphabetical order," Damian replied. "I'm just now adding the distances between each, that may give us a hint to his next move."
"Points for the reflexive thinking." Dick complimented.
The door flew open in the next moment, causing the two to look over to see he had entered to room.
"What was that about," Dick asked. "Is something wrong?"
"I finally got the results back on the blood test I ran on his blood," Bruce informed. "I now know what's been aggravating him."
"Shinichi is in serious trouble," Bruce stated. "We need to get to him as soon as possible."
He had quietly followed from behind, which lead to a large door at the end of the hall. Celek gave it a knock, taking all but a couple seconds for someone to open it which allowed for the both of them to walk in. They entered a dark room filled with many TV screens, accompanied by a set of computers.
"This is it fellas, our very own security lounge."
"And you are?" Heiji asked.
"You can call me Cyless," He replied having a seat in front of one of the computers. "Most everyone does."
"Alright then, Cyless it is."
"What is it you wanted to see?"
"We need to see the footage recorded from eleven last night all the way until two this morning." Officer Celek replied.
"At what speed would you like it set?"
"4x should be sufficient enough."
"That might take some time to get through all the footage."
"Which is fine," Officer Celek said. "We'll take all the time we need."
"Your wish is my command."
With that he played back the tapes to the specified time which took a couple minutes to do. The three watched on from there, taking note of all activity that occurred between those given hours. They all focused their sights to separate screens, making sure to have an eye on every exit and entrance there was. Nearly thirty minutes passed from the time they had began watching when someone finally appeared to the screen he was keeping tabs on.
"Wait, pause it there," Heiji pointed. "Which entrance is that?"
He paused all footage in compliance with his wishes, given them the chance to have a look at what had caught his attention.
"That's the west side entryway, only employees can gain access to the building from that side." Cyless informed.
"What about the person approaching the door," Heiji asked. "Do you recognize them?"
"Let's see here."
He zoomed in on the imagery in question, giving him a closer look at the blurred figure.
"If I'm not mistaken I'd say that's Bennet."
"That's right, Nathan Bennet," Cyless said. "The guy always closely collaborated with Grahm on anything he worked on."
"And you're sure this is Bennet?" Officer Celek asked.
"I'm almost certain of it," Cyless replied. "There is one way to find out, we can check to see who entered the building at that given time."
"Which would have made it at the time of thirteen after two." Heiji said noting the time at the bottom of the screen.
"One second, this won't take long." Cyless said.
The two looked on from over his shoulders, watching as he brought a log with a list of names to the screen.
"Let's see here." Cyless said navigating down the list.
It took under a minute for him to locate the sought out time, leaving them all in shock at the name that was displayed by the time of thirteen after two.
"Grahm Fournier, it can't be," Heiji said. "He was already dead."
"Which means this Nathan guy must have got ahold of his card some how," Officer Celek said. "Do you think he was the one to do Grahm Fournier in?"
"Not sure how that's possible since he wasn't present in the building at the time of Grahm's death," Heiji said. "But that doesn't mean we can't follow his activities further, would you happen to have a camera set up on the other side of the west side door?"
"Of course, that is the case with all entrances and exits."
"Good, then let's see where he went on from that point."
He did as instructed, switching to the camera inside the west hall to that given time. To their surprise they saw nothing but an empty hall. This left them speechless for a time to come. He checked all other cameras, generating the same results.
"I don't get it," Officer Celek said with the shake of his head. "Where could he have gone to?"
"Try fast forwarding the tapes," Heiji said. "Maybe we'll see when he exited."
They watched on for minutes to come, coming to find he had never exited after apparently entering thirty minutes earlier into the tape.
"I don't get it," Heiji said. "It's like.. it's like he disappeared."
"This is some crazy stuff." Cyless added.
"I think we better head back and rejoin the others in Mr. Fournier's office, we've been gone for nearly an hour now," Officer Celek said. "Cyless if you happen to come across anything, let us know."
"I'll see what I can find."
With that officer Celek took charge like he had done before, being the first of the two to exit out. He followed at his side. Nothing was said between the two, both thinking about how he seemingly vanished without a trace.
"We never saw him leave, nor a clear shot that he ever entered," Heiji thought. "Could this Nathan guy still be in the building somewhere?"
It didn't take long for the two to return to the crime scene. They were greeted at the door by another officer who was exiting out as they entered.
"Where are you going?" Celek asked out of curiosity.
"It seems there's a situation down stairs."
"What kind of situation?"
"Some foreign kid is trying to come up," The officer replied. "He claims to have some important business to see to in this room."
"Is he from an outside unit?"
"No idea, only saw him from the camera," The officer replied. "I'm heading down now."
"Would this foreign kid happen to be a young boy wearing glasses?" Heiji asked.
"He had on no glasses, nor is he as young as you seem to implying."
"Never mind," Heiji said. "It's not who I thought it might be."
"If anything I'd say he's your age, not too far from it in any case."
"Mind if I come with you," Officer Celek asked. "I'd like to check out this guy for myself."
"Be my guest."
The two left from there, exiting the room in a hurry. He walked further into the room, stopping after reaching the crime scene tape once again.
"This case is about as complex as they come, we need to gain more ground some how."
He studied the area for a long period of time, losing track of how long he stood to that very spot. He caught a glimpse of her approaching from the left, not surprised when she stopped after reaching him.
"How did things go in the security room, did you find out who shot uncle Grahm?"
"Not yet, but we're still working on it," Heiji replied. "You seem like you're in higher strengths, did you ever hear back from your fiance?"
"Oh yes, he called about twenty minutes ago."
"What did he say?"
"Not much, he said he was busy but would call back in the next hour or so."
"You see, I told you not to worry," Heiji said. "If you don't mind me asking, what was the name of your fiance again?"
"Nathan," Bernadea replied. "Nathan Bennet."
He froze at the sound of this.
"You said you parted ways with him around one, correct?"
"That's right," Bernadea replied. "We had spent most of the evening and night together."
"At an amusement park called Mount Zomoph," Bernadea replied. "It's actually not very far from here."
"I'm sure you had plenty of fun."
"As always." Bernadea said flashing a smile.
"Great, that leaves him with an alibi," Heiji thought. "The estimated time of death has been set at twelve midnight, no way he could have done it if he was with her at a theme park."
"Are you alright?" Bernadea asked taking notice of his sudden change in tone.
"I'm fine, just thinking is all."
"You should really stop by there some time," Bernadea suggested. "It's one of the better amusement parks in town."
"I'd listen to her, Mount Zomoph is an experience of wonders." Someone spoke from behind.
"That voice.. could it be."
He spun around to see Tim had returned with detective Celek as well. But it was the person in between the two who had spoken.
"You seem excited, why don't we save the claps and cheers until after we've caught the culprit ok." Shinichi remarked with the subtlest of grins.
To Be Continued