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Murder in New Eden

by Charles C. Cole

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Murder in New Eden: synopsis

Welcome to New Eden, an isolated city floating in space, whose founders believed the start of the 20th century was as good as it would ever get. Gun-free police supervise from atop their penny-farthings, carrying only batons. Aggression has been chemically suppressed for years. But then violence erupts. In response, the chief of police weighs the prospect of thawing secret soldiers. In the middle of it all, two bright young women push for equality and recognition.

Chapter 6: The Scene of the Crime

In City Operations, Lucy Nakamura lies on her back on the dusty floor, troubleshooting a dead monitor. The power and networking cables are abundant and wild and confusing. She drops her head to the carpet with a demonstrative thud.

“I’m done!” she yells. “If anybody wants to know.”

An unctuous male voice from above coos, “I want to know.”

Nakamura glances around the room at floor-height but doesn’t see the feet of any visitor.

“Who’s there? Hello?”


“Where the hell are you?”

“Standing on top of the desk you’re lying under.”

Nakamura scrambles to pull herself out from beneath the furniture to discover Director Pelkey, standing on high with legs wide, pushing the hung ceiling tiles with the flats of his palms, as if he were singlehandedly keeping the room from collapsing in on itself.

“What are you doing?”

“I came to help.”

“I don’t need your kind of help.”

“I hear I was the star of a recent movie.”

“Who told you that? Never mind, I know who.”

“Don’t I get a chance to defend my actions before you inform on me to the mayor?”

“There was no defense for what you did; she was gone. Sure, a couple of lights were on, but nobody was home. Of course, that didn’t stop you.”



“Glad I could entertain.”

“What do you want, Toby?”

“I want to know if there are any other movies I should be made aware of.”

“What do you think?”

“I think you might go too far one day. The mayor and I are friends, good friends. We understand each other. I’ve nothing to fear from him.”

“What about the chief?”

“The chief’s not in charge.”

“That could change.”

“Lifetime guarantee, last I looked.”

“Unless there’s a scandal so horrific that people can’t turn away fast enough.”

“Now you’re scaring me.”

“Good. Go home. And stay where the cameras can’t see you, preferably the sewer pipes and dark alleys.”

“They can’t see me in here.”

“Actually,” says Nakamura, pointing to a little box with a glowing red light in the corner of the ceiling, “they can. Wave for the camera. It’s uploaded to the server automatically. So behave yourself: go home.”

“Good for you. Very well played. I have plans anyway.”

“I wonder with who? Never mind, I know who.”

* * *

Chief Schiavelli drives slowly around town in a shiny black vehicle resembling a new 1919 Hudson Super Six. Cody is sitting in the front passenger seat, window open wide, observing his new world.

“Have you ever been in one of these before?” Schiavelli asks, pushing back into his seat for dramatic effect, and with evident pride.

Humoring him. “I think so. Maybe not exactly this model.”

“No, not like this one, you haven’t. That was a rhetorical question. Get this: There’s a button in the dash to activate a back massage while you’re driving. And the seat can cool your buns if you have an overheating engine like I do! Hell, it still has that new-car smell! I don’t know how they do it, and I don’t care.”

“It’s like a Ground Combat Infantry Fighting Vehicle but without the anti-tank guided missile system, and it smells like oiled leather.”

“Guess you can take the soldier out of the battlefield but you can’t take the battlefield out of the soldier. That’s all right. If you were just like everyone else, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“It’s very... comfortable.”

“That’s it! That’s very important to civilians. Security and comfort. They go together more than you can imagine.”

“It’s like a sofa on wheels. I can see why you like it.”

“I’m glad. I mean, admittedly, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a hi-tech cryogenics tube. And where that contraption lasted you a hundred or so years, I’m bound to get bored and want something else after four to six, but you were looking a little cramped for a guy who unfolds to well over six feet. Here there’s a little more leg room and a little more elbow room, room for company on your travels. Hell, I could sleep in here. And you can’t beat the view.”

“That’s true.”

“Speaking of sleeping, did you dream when you were in that glorified electric casket?”

“I don’t recall. I don’t think so.”

“Maybe you’re dreaming now.”

Cody is not sure if he’s serious or not.

“That’s a joke. Not a good one.”

“I thought so,” he lies.

“No worries. You’ve got plenty of time to catch up. If you’re wondering, no, you don’t have to go back to your cryogenics tube, ever. Henceforth, you’ll live and refuel just like a real boy. I’ve got a spare room at my place, despite any offer you heard from Eartha Wayne. We’ll make it work.”

“Do you have kittens, too?”

“I’ve always been a dog person myself, but I currently don’t have any animals. Just me and the walls.”

Trying to joke. “And the ceiling and floor?”

“Those, too. You’re a details guy, aren’t you? First stop: the park. What we call the scene of the crime, in this case. And, on good days, we call it the heart of the city. It’s a great place to see what makes us tick. That okay with you?”


“So none of this rings a bell?”

“No, sir. No, bells.”

“I don’t know what it was like in your previous existence, but to us it’s home. I’m told it’s modeled after a simpler time, a couple hundred years ago.”


“Why what?”

“Why do you all pretend to be something you’re not?”

With unexpected passion. “We’re not pretending; this is who we really are. This is always who we’ve been. A close-knit community of like-minded folks who care about each other’s well-being. The rest of this is just about keeping our way of life simple, without a lot of temptations. What’s wrong with that?”

“It seems anachronistic, that’s all, as we fly through space on an artificial planet.”

“I suppose our founding fathers thought otherwise, that it was beautiful and peaceful and something worth defending.”

“I think I understand.” There is an awkward moment of silence. “Where do you keep your army? Can we go to the base at some point?”’

“This is obviously hard for you to understand, but we don’t have an army or navy or air force or militia. Or an intergalactic strategic defense initiative. We have an adequate police force, but you’re the only army in this whole floating city. I thought about finding you civilian clothes, so you wouldn’t frighten the children and the faint of heart, but then I figured: nobody around here is going to have any idea of the significance of what that uniform means. You might as well be the Good Humor man.”

“The Good Humor man?’

“He drives around town and gives ice cream to kids. Makes them happy. Parents, not so much. He’s kind of the enemy. You know what ice cream is, right?”

“I think so.”

“And kids?”

Drolly: “I’m familiar with the concept.”

“That’s a start. For all I know, you might have been cloned in a factory and set loose on the world fully grown.”

Vaguely, like from a childhood story only partly remembered: “Like Minerva.”


“She was someone who lived a long time ago, long before me, a great warrior.”

“A woman soldier? Good for her. I’ve often thought we should have women police officers, but I don’t think the mayor would go along. Some day if I ask just the right way.”

“But you’re the chief of police.”

“That’s true, but I have superiors. You’d call them commanding officers. What about you, did you always agree with your superiors?”

“Not always. But I did what I was told.”

“Me, too. Say, do you want to talk about your old life? You probably miss it.”

“Not really. It wasn’t like here, with like-minded people who care about each other. It was a simple life with a simple mission called ‘Stay alive until morning and you might enjoy one last breakfast’.”

“That’s a joke, I hope.”

Chief Schiavelli notices an iconic white truck pulled up against the curb, with a man dressed in all-white handing out frozen desserts to a cluster of energetic, cheering children standing in an awkward, weaving line.

“There’s the devil and his drugged-out minions now.”

“Do you want me to kill him?’

“What?! No. It’s an expression. You’ll know when I want you to kill someone.”

“Is he a good guy?”

Joking. “Of course, he’s a good guy; he’s wearing all-white, isn’t he?”

“Yes.” Cody misses the cultural reference. “Is he a soldier?”

“No. Lots of people wear uniforms around here. Some deliver milk. Some deliver mail. Some of them help little old ladies cross the busy street. But none of them are soldiers, I promise you. Present company excepted.”

Proceed to Chapter 7...

Copyright © 2018 by Charles C. Cole

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