“Would you look at that. There is a code for spontaneous entropic mass evaporation and/or intropic mass implosion.” Detective Goodstone blinked then marked the code down on a sticky note.
Detective Ferrero chuckled as he looked up from his underwood typewriter. “Seriously, you didn’t know that one?”
“The code for ‘It just blew up’? Or ‘It just disappeared’?” Goodstone pulled a flat mass of etched brass from the inside of his coat pocket. “Thankfully I did not. In this town, you’d think that would be one of them.”
“It just blew up?” A cute elfin smile leaned over into the aisle. Goodstone recognized the tone of her voice. This week, her hair was aquamarine.
“Vegas. Yeah, It just blew up. This time, the previous times it disappeared. A whole warehouse back on Tuesday.”
She blinked twice, “Wait, then there were two other places late last week. Had info trickle down my network. One was a sub-division that was new outside of town…”
“That’s the one. What do you know?”
She held up her hands, and the shiny handcuffs. “I know that this is an injust-”
“Three hundred and fourty four separate traffic violations, six ignored court summons and I believe one bail violated.” Detective Fererro recalled back. “Hence why I’ve got another 3 hours of paperwork before you can actually sign something.”
“My lawyer will clear this up. Judge Castle is back-”
“In Nantucket.” Goodstone interrupted her. “He’s kicking off a speaking tour for the Judicial system. What it’s like to Judge in a city with Gods/Aliens/Super Villains and still maintain an active sex life in your sixties.”
Vegas blinked at the new information, holding up the handcuffs. “Well, I didn’t know that. I’m a little cut off from my network.”
Ferrerro leaned over and looked to Goodstone. “It’s not going to help her.”
“Not this time.”
“Come on guys. Cut me a break.”
Ferrero looked to her, slid his fedora back a little, and then steepled his hands, pursing his lips. “I can’t do a thing. As the arresting officer.”
“Goodstone, buddy. Help me out here.”
“Well, right now an additional charge of withholding information on an active investigation is pending. But I can give Judge Rogers a good word on how cooperative you were at your hearing. Say Fererro, doesn’t he volunteer time to the Orphans of Another World?”
“I heard that.”
“Yeah, it would be really good if a benefactor would just drop a big donation into their lap. Hypothetically the money could come from… I don’t know. Maybe from proceeds of quasi-legal gambling on sports events. I’m quite sure that I could mention it to Judge Rogers.” Goodstone leaned back in his own chair, put his feet up on his desk, placing his hands across his chest. “Oh well, nice thought. All hypothetical too. I’ve got blowing up buildings with no trace, and you’ve got two hundred and ninety seven forms to get through.”
Vegas looked between the two detectives, in disgust, in amazement, and finally in resignation. “Haven’t you heard of photocopiers?”
“Sorry Vegas, technology barrier. It fritzes out when I come close to it. It’s as close as I’ve ever got to being an actual registered Power.” Ferrero pulled out another sheet of carbon paper. “But you know what that’s like.”
“Killing me here.” Vegas muttered under her breath. “Okay, I’ll do it.”
“Get me two solid leads in the next 24 hours, make that donation, and I’ll see what Judge Rogers can do for reducing the number of traffic violations.” Goodstone ticked off the items on his fingers.
“This is discrimination. My insights are Registerable.”
“And denied every time Vegas. You are a citizen.” Fererro continued to type on the typewriter. “With a lot of parking tickets. It would just be cheaper for you to buy a pass. Or take the monorail.”
“Twenty four hours, you are deputized and report to me. No betting network, you work on this. Work on it. Call in favors, make new offers, get witness reports I don’t have. The second I see action on the Vegas network concerning even a prediction on what the kiddy’s soccer game is doing, and I swear…” Goodstone stood up, pulled out his keys and walked over to Fererro’s desk. “You won’t be able to make a bet, play a game of odds, on this planet again.”
“Letter arrived just before you plopped into that chair. Next time, the city will have casualties. City block in size.”
Vegas blinked and then held her hands up, “Hurry.”
Goodstone scanned her ident card, signed the pad, then unlocked the cuffs. She got up and ran from the desk.
Fererro watched her run away. “Thanks, that was going to kill me if she didn’t take that bait. You’ve been taking bastard lessons, haven’t you?”
“Yep. Can’t believe she bought into that.”
“Judge Castle? Or the letter?”
“One of them I lied to her.” Goodstone looked to Ferrero. “Keep processing those forms. And if you’ve heard anything from the Golden network, let me know.”
“Wait. Castle goes on his tour next month-”
Goodstone held up an envelope. “Yeah.”
“Expletive.” Ferrerro picked up the rotary phone. “Exchange Four Fourty Three, get me the Golden network. Any of the crew missing or received new challenges, let us know. We’ve got buildings blowing up and lives are on the line.”
Goodstone looked to the bundle of brass that unfolded, seemingly random chopstick form over chopstick form until gears emerged. The small humanoid robot shuddered into form, then crawled up the Detectives arm. The warm brass form tapped twice on the man’s shoulder.
“Yeah, wish both were lies. Okay Gears, let’s hit the street.”