At the end of August, it is time for Mikka and Moltka to return to school. Moltka is starting grade 5 and Mikka grade 10. Everything is going well but a Monday morning in mid-October Mikka and her classmates find her locker busted and her lock is missing. She reports it to the direction of the school. The only thing the school does is provide her with a new lock since nothing is missing in her locker.
Nothing else seems to come of this until two days later. A student doing community service after school finds a corpse in a dumpster, two buildings away from the school. The investigators follow a clear blood trail, although someone tried to wash it, expertly, all the way back to Mikka’s locker.
Jupiter hears of this from lieutenant commander Adnar Yinrona, of the Shadow Sentinels. His team being in charge of keeping an eye on her family that day. She immediately puts a team of Keepers on the task of finding what happened and she drops by Vassily’s house when the police-detective come to question Mikka.
The whole family is there and it gets really confusing for the detectives as they mix both English and Russian and speak over one another. They want to get Mikka to the station but Jupiter intercedes.
– Detectives, my cousin will not be going anywhere with you. Jupiter says with authority.
– That is not your purview, miss. Says a detective.
– Ms. Jones, Jupiter Jones.
“The friggin’ Queen of the Earth” goes unsaid.
– Tell me what district are you from?
– The 15th, Ms. Jones.
Jupiter smirks, pulls out her phone and dials Martin Adams’s number.
[You’ve got Adams.] He answers.
– Captain Adams, it’s Jupiter Jones.
[Ms. Jones, it’s been a while. How are you?]
– Yes, it has been a while. I am very well, very busy as you can imagine.
[I am sure that is an understatement. What can I do for you?]
– Well, Martin, I have two detectives from your district here, who want to take my cousin Mikka to the station for interrogation and I want her to stay here. This is hard enough on her as it is, she is only 16.
[Why do they need to interrogate her?]
– You know that murder in the news, the corpse found in the dumpster, well the blood trail led to her locker.
[Oh, I see. Do you believe this as to do with you?]
– It could be, I do not know yet, but I will find out.
[I believe you. Let me talk to them.]
– One moment.
She hands the phone to one of the detectives.
– Captain Martin Adams wants to talk to you.
The detective picks up the phone.
– This is Wilson, he says.
[Wilson, you are not to take any member of Ms. Jones family in for questioning.]
– But sir.
[No buts, Wilson. I am quite certain Ms. Jones will allow you to question anyone, as long as it is not at the station.]
– Allow, sir?
[Ms. Jones is much more important then she would appear Wilson.]
– How so?
[That is on a need to know basis. But be very respectful.]
– Understood, sir.
[Put her back on the line.]
Detective Wilson gave the phone back to Jupiter.
[Your Majesty, if my men step out of line, do not hesitate to call me back and I will take over the investigation.]
– Thank you, Captain. We should meet up and have lunch soon. I am in town at least until this matter is resolved.
[It would be my pleasure.]
– Good, I’ll have Yulia set it up.
[Very well, Your Majesty, have a good day.]
– You too, Captain.
She hangs up, texts Yulia about lunch with Martin and looks at the detectives. All along her cousins stared at her.
– Now that this is settled, would you like something to drink? Jupiter asks them.
The detectives seem baffled by her simple question.
The second detective finally speaks.
– Cousin Irina, would you bring them glasses of water?
Irina stands and goes to the kitchen.
– Jupiter, this is my house, Vassily starts.
– And who paid for it? She interrupts.
Vassily looks down.
– Cousin, you took care of us for years but now it is my turn to take care of you. She says on a firm tone.
Vassily looks back up. Vladie kept telling him that Jupiter had changed somehow, but he did not see it until now. There is a glimmer in her eyes that is as strong as steel.
Irina comes back with the glasses of water and they sit at the dining table.
– Now what do you need to know?
The detectives ask their questions and Jupiter directs everyone so is is harmonious and all in English. When they ask where everyone was on Saturday between 2 and 3 pm, which was determined to be the time of death of the murder victim, they all provide alibi, well all but Vladie. Irina and Lyudmila were prepping food, Mikka was at baseball practice, Zeno and Vassily were going over the weekly cleaning schedule, Moltka was at a friend and Vladie said he was playing at video games in his room.
– What about you Ms. Jones? Asks Wilson.
– Let me check with my assistant.
She presses on something on her phone as if she was dialing a number and presses on her comm bracelet at the same time.
[Yes, Your Majesty?]
– Hi Kiza, can you tell me where I was this Saturday, between 2 and 3 pm.
– Oh sorry, Chicago time.
[Let see, you were in your personal quarters with Caine, after that horrible meeting about Balem’s assets.]
– Oh, that was Saturday? Wow, okay, thanks.
– Not for now, bye.
She hangs up both her phone and her comm bracelet.
– I was out of town with my boyfriend.
– Out of town where? And doing what?
– I can’t tell you where precisely, as it is need to know only, but it was the middle of the night and we were engaged in each other, if you know what I mean.
– I will need confirmation from him, what’s his name?
– Caine Wise, I’m sure he’ll drop by soon, I swear he has a 6th sense and always knows when I’m talking about him. She says smirking.
The chime of the front door startles the detectives.
– I’ll get it. Jupiter says.
She opens the door and faces a smirking human looking Caine.
– Hey Caine. Your ears must be burning, I was just talking about you.
– You have no idea, he murmurs.
The second detective had come to the door.
– Hello, sir. I’m detective Watts, and you are?.
– Caine Wise, he says offering his hand.
They shake hands.
– If you would come inside, my partner and I would like to confirm Ms. Jones whereabouts.
– Of course.
Caine steps in the house and joins the Bolotnikovs but remains standing, behind Jupiter.
– Mr. Wise, can you tell use where you were on Saturday between 2 and 3 pm.
– Local time?
– Let me check.
Jupiter had gotten him a phone to use as a prop and he takes it out and pretends to check his schedule.
– Oh… we were together. He says looking like he wants to crawl into a hole.
– Doing what? Asks detective Wilson, oblivious to his subtle cues.
– Loving each other, he says ducking his head.
Detective Wilson raises a single brow, as if he could not understand Caine’s reaction.
Detective Watts clears his throat and asks:
– What time was it where you were?
Caine is relieved they seemed satisfied with his answer and looks up.
– 1 am, he says, converting standard time into comprehensible format for Earthlings.
– Thank you. That will be all for now, please do not leave the city during the investigation. And if you can think of anything else, call us. Detective Wilson said placing his card on the table.
– Of course. Jupiter says.
She takes a card out of her wallet.
– Here are my addresses and numbers if you need to join me.
Detective Wilson took her card.
– Thank you.
The detectives leave and Jupiter’s family explodes in a cacophony of English and Russian. Caine has gotten used to the situation over the last two months, but it still taxes his sensible ears. He is relieved when Jupiter declares she is going to her house and to call her immediately if they come back.
She does not use the house that often, but it is kept stock by her executive assistant, Yulia Petrovich, or XO as she calls her. The guards go to their post and Jupiter climbs the stair to their room with Caine on her heels. Aleksa and Nino are back at the apartment, or maybe the ship?, she is not quite sure, but it means they had the house for themselves.
In their room she crashes on the sofa in the corner and sighs.
– There is always something. If it’s not up there it’s down here. Maybe I should take a vacation.
She sighs again.
Caine only smirks and sits beside her.
– Any idea yet what happened?
– The Keepers have not reported in yet.
– And what does your nose tell you?
– It’s hard to say, they were all nervous and unsettled.
– Yeah, right, I was too. Let’s wait for the Keepers then.
They spend the evening together and the next morning Croaker drops her a sheave. It is a recording of the corridor, in front of Mikka’s locker. She can see Vladie cleaning off blood from the locker, the floor and the walls.
– God, no. Find out where he is. She tells Caine.
Caine contacts Commander Wamsley and he tells him Vladie is in the parking lot of Mikka’s school.
She goes there and orders her guards and Caine to stay back. Vladie looks like a wreck.
– I knew you would find out. You seem to know everything these days. He says.
– What happened? She asks.
– Better me then her, I’ve arranged to get out of the country. Tell everyone I’m sorry, he says.
– I don’t understand Vladie.
– I just wanted to say goodbye before I left. Thank you for everything, Jupe.
He turns around and gets into a car. Jupiter is stunned and lets him leave.
– Your Benevolent Mother, update.
Jupiter looks at the keeper who materialized in front of her.
The Keeper offers her another sheave.
She turns it on, and she sees Mikka taking her baseball bat from her locker right before she is attacked by a man and she beats him with it. The man is clearly from space with how he is dressed.
– Crap, she says.
– Jupiter? Caine says getting to her side.
– Vladie is taking the blame for his sister, she says handing him the sheave.
Caine watches the holorecording.
– It was self-defense, Caine says.
– I want them both brought to me at the apartment, I don’t care how you do it.
– Yes, Your Majesty.
Caine can smell her anger and he knows that she is keeping her Russian temper in check. He taps his implant, puts Menura and Pavonia on the task of retrieving Mikka and he goes after Vladie himself after Jupiter kisses him for luck.
Leo, Veel and Castor are left with her and she is beamed into the Mercury. There she contacts Stinger.
– My office at the apartment, ASAP. She barks and cuts the communication.
On board the Maximillian Jones, Stinger winces and wonder what as set off Jupiter in this way. He gets Aves to replace him and tries contacting Caine, but he does not answer. That worries him more.
The Mercury lands on the Gocachi apartment complex and Jupiter goes in her apartment, drops the sheaves on her desk and then goes in the third bedroom that they made into an at-home gym where she puts on gloves and starts punching and kicking her punching bag.
After five minutes of that she has evacuated the overflow of anger and returns to her office where she re-watch the holorecordings.
– Your Majesty, Captain Apini is here to see you, says Leo, from the front door.
– Let him in.
Stinger appears in her door frame looking a hairs-breath from groveling on the floor.
– Stinger, good. She says on a calmer tone handing him the sheaves.
Stinger takes a deep breath and enters the office, takes the sheaves, watches the recording and blanches.
– Majesty, I… I don’t know how this could happen… but I will find out and if anyone... are… are they okay?
– Okay as in alive, yes. I don’t know about their mental state…
– I don’t understand, how… why… why her? That is a hyddihpuyssiex, no one survives a hyddihpuyssiex unless he is dead.
– Like a Caine Wise contract?
Stinger nods. Jupiter smirks.
– I guess it’s a good thing we play baseball and that I gave my cousin a brand new maple bat as a gift.
– You play baseball, Majesty?
– I did, when I was a teen. It came in handy when I swung that pipe at Balem’s head.
She shakes her head.
– Find out how this could have happen and why, and when you do, you bring me the person responsible. A 16 years old should not have to kill to defend herself from assassins, even less my cousin.
– Right away, Majesty.
Stinger left her office dejected, somewhere his security measures had failed and Her Majesty’s cousin, a young girl of 16, had been forced to kill in self-defense. He would have stern words with Commander Wamsley and they would go over every details of what had happened.
Caine signals her that he has Vladie and is landing on the roof and she counts to ten in Russian in her head. She never expected to tell Vladie the truth about who she is, but now she might have to. Her phone rings at the same time.
– Hi Mikka.
[Jupe, there is two people here who says you sent them to pick me up. You know I’m at school right?]
– Oh, yeah, sorry should have called. Just go with them, they will bring you to me. I’ll inform your dad, you won’t be grounded.
[Okay, but how do I know they are the same people?]
– Put me on speaker.
– Please state your rank and name.
[Lieutenant Menura Bower.]
[Ensign Pavonia Saturn.]
– It’s them Mikka, go with them please.
[Okay, Jupe, see you in a bit.]
– See ya.
She hangs up, and calls Vassily to let him know she took Mikka out of school for the day, then leaves her office and sits on one of the kitchen island stool, from where she can see the entrance door.
The door opens and Caine walks in holding Vladie like a bag of potato over his left shoulder. He looks at Jupiter apologetically.
– He was uncooperative. Caine says.
– Does not surprise me. Put him on the sofa. She says pointing to it.
Caine drops her cousin on the sofa and returns to face Jupiter. She stands, wraps her arms around his waist and puts her forehead on his shoulder. His arms go around her and he holds her close, just the way he knows she needs.
They let go of each other when there is a knock at the door.
Jupiter opens the door and greets her cousin.
– Mikka, hi, come in.
Mikka enters the apartment and greets Caine.
– Menura, Pavonia, thank you both. Jupiter says.
– Ma’am, they say.
She nods and gestures to the guards apartment.
They nod back and leave. Jupiter closes the door.
– Jupe, what is going on?
– One moment, Mikka.
Jupiter walks to the sofa and pinches Vladie awake.
– Oww! Jupe, what the hell? Where? How did I get here? I have to leave the country!
Jupiter turns the armchair to face the sofa and sits on it, as she would her throne.
– Mikka, come over and sit with your brother. Vladie, sit and if you still want to leave after what I have to tell you, I can drop you off anywhere you want.
Vladie sits. Mikka crosses the living room and sits with Vladie. Caine crosses it too and stands behind Jupiter.
– Vladie, Mikka, I am so sorry that you had to live that. I know the truth of what happened and it’s all my fault.
– What? They exclaim.
– It has to do with how I got my money.
– You joined the mob?
– No Vladie, it’s all legal, but much more dangerous.
– I don’t understand, Mikka says.
– Let me explain. Last Saturday, Mikka was attacked by a hyddihpuyssiex and she defended herself. She was forced to kill him, because these people won’t stop until they accomplish their mission. And Vladie you are only responsible of cleaning the mess.
– What’s a Idi… something?
– Hyddihpuyssiex. I’m not quite sure what that translate to… Caine?
– The closest translation would be “collector”.
Jupiter shakes her head and rolls her eyes. What an euphemism!
– More commonly called assassin. Jupiter adds.
– Why would anyone want to kill me?
– I’m not sure yet, Stinger is working on that, but it probably has to do with you being my cousin.
– I did not plan on telling you the whole truth about who I am, but circumstances don’t leave me too many options.
She looks down for a moment and when she looks back up, Vladie recognizes the look in her eyes, the one she had when she shut him up about her stool and that he could see beneath the surface when she was focused on something.
– I am Jupiter Jones of Earth, signified recurrence of her Majesty Seraphi Abrasax, Queen and First Prime of House Abrasax and House Bolotnikov-Jones and the Earth, amongst other things, belongs to me.
Vladie and Mikka look shocked for a moment and then Vladie starts to laugh.
– Jupe, you’ve watched too many Star Trek.
Jupiter shakes her head.
– Believe me Vladie, I really wish it was like Star Trek out there, but it is not. Space society is not an utopia, quite the opposite.
Mikka seems about to believe her, but Vladie simply laugh some more.
– I see you will need proof. Let’s start with this.
She raises her sleeve and shows them her sigil.
– Wow cool tattoo. Vladie says.
– Its not a tattoo, it’s my Entitled ID.
– Entitled? Entitled to what? Key to the city? Free parking?
– Entitled to what ever I want.
– Yeah right, Jupe.
– Considering I am the richest and most powerful Queen in the universe and that I saved Earth humans from extermination, I think you should be more respectful.
– What are you talking about, Jupe? That does not make any sense.
– Gosh, Vladie, you really are narrow minded.
– Caine, can you get everyone from the other apartments to come here?
– Of course, Your Majesty.
– You have your boyfriend call you Majesty?
Jupiter ignores him and waits for everyone to arrive. Of the Skybreakers, besides Caine, there is Leo, Veel, Castor, Menura and Pavonia. Myst Stork and Blitz Needles of the Cosmic Sentinels. And there is also Yulia, François, Aleksa and Nino.
– Yupiter? What is happening? Aleksa asks.
– I told them who I am, they don’t believe me so it’s time for a little show and tell.
– Are you sure? She asks.
– I have too.
– It is your decision, you are the Queen, but what’s happened? Nino asks.
Vladie and Mikka have their jaw hanging. Aunt Nino would never make a prank like that.
– Have you heard about the corpse found in the dumpster?
– A space assassin tried to kill Mikka on Saturday, she beat the crap out of him with her baseball bat and killed him. Vladie cleaned up the mess.
– Stalin’s balls, dochen’ka. Aleksa exclaims.
– Where was security? Nino asks.
– I don’t know what happened. Stinger is looking into that.
– He better find answers. She says with a hard tone.
– Oh, he will, of that I am sure. He won’t rest until he finds the culprit.
– Now, shall we do this? She says standing.
The guards form a line, sorted by rank.
– Vladie Mikka, this is Yulia, my childhood friend and my Executive assistant.
– I though your assistant was named Kiza? Mikka says.
– Well, Yulia is my XO on Earth. Kiza is my Majordomo in space. Two different kind of assistants but they work together for many things. Speaking of Kiza, this is François Laroche, her fiancé. He is my IT guy. Besides us, they are the only Earthlings in here.
– I can’t believe you believe what you are saying Jupe. Vladie starts.
Jupiter raises a hand to stop him and quiet Caine’s growling that she can’t hear but knows he must be doing.
– Vladie, you are such a Thomas, you believe only what you see, all right, then you shall see.
She steps in front of Caine and sees the glitter of amusement in his eyes.
– Commander, would you turn off your anonymizer?
He nods and turns it off. Instead of a human in a black suit, he now looks like himself in his uniform. She gives him a smile and then faces Vladie and Mikka.
– Is that proof enough?
Vladie is shocked and Mikka looks at Caine intensively.
– What are you? She asks Caine directly.
Jupiter nods slightly and he answers.
– Genomgineered human, my DNA was spliced with a Lycan, similar to a wolf, I’m a Lycantant.
Vladie is pale and Nino catches him and makes him sit back on the sofa. Mikka is more excited then Jupiter imagined she would be.
– Lycantant, like lycanthrope? You’re a werewolf?
Mikka is almost jumping in place. Caine tilts his head in the way Jupiter knows indicates confusion.
– Mikka, it’s not like your Bitten TV show, he does not sprout fur, transform into a wolf and walk on all four.
– Oh, she said with deception.
Jupiter chuckles then winks at Caine who is honestly smiling, showing his teeth.
– He is much more like Wolverine, but without the claws and the adamantium. Faster, stronger, better hearing and vision, you know that sort of things.
– Oh, cool. She says with renewed excitement.
– Yeah, I know what you mean.
She takes a look at Vladie. Nino is sitting with him and comforting him.
– Okay, next we have Leo, Veel, Castor, Menura and Pavonia. Part of my personal guards, they are skyjackers. The space army is called the Legion and the elite of the legion are the skyjackers, you could compare it to the Navy Seals, except that skyjackers, they fly. Their team is the Skybreakers and they are the best of the skyjackers. Last but not least, these are Myst Stork and Blitz Needles part of my royal guards, they are legionnaires and their team is the Sentinels.
She pauses and looks at Vladie again.
– You okay? She asks him.
– Not sure, Jupe. He says standing.
– Aunt Nino, you’d better hold on to him.
– No kidding. Nino snorts.
– Anonymizer off. She orders.
She hears gasping from her cousins.
– Wings. She says.
The Skybreakers extend their wings and Mikka opens wide eyes.
– Jupe, she gasps.
– Yeah, I know Mikka.
She turns to face Vladie.
– Welcome to my life, you started all this with your get rich plan involving me selling my eggs.
– Jupe, I… euh… he stutters.
– Yeah, I know, it was the brain tumor. Don’t worry, I get it. I might have been saved from death what 4 or 5 times? In what, 3 days? Because of it, but I also saved billions of people and they would still have found me eventually. It all worked out perfectly in the end. I would not have survived if Caine had not been there to rescue and save me at every turn.
Vladie is pale again and Nino makes him sit back.
– Thank you guys, you’re dismiss she tells her people.
Aleksa and Nino stay in her apartment for support has she tells Vladie and Mikka the truth about how she became Queen and how space society works. It takes a long time but eventually they seem to believe her. They are both appalled that splices are treated like slaves and they swear to never tell anyone about Caine being her mate.
– Now the roles of the Sentinels is to protect my assets, my people and my family. There is always someone watching over your security.
– Shit, Mikka exclaims.
– That means I ditched my security…
– On Saturday, I noticed someone following me and I jumped in a bus at the last moment and hopped transport and went through a mall… as I was taught to do.
– Gosh… Dang, okay… That explains one thing. Caine, contact Stinger and Wamsley and make sure whomever was assign to Mikka on Saturday does not get punished for being ditched. And make sure the Sentinels are informed that all Bolotnikov are taught basic evasive maneuvers.
She takes her phone out and calls Captain Adams once again.
[You’ve got Adams]
– Captain, it’s Jupiter Jones again.
[One moment Ms. Jones, let me get to my office.]
She hears a door closing.
[Yes, Your Majesty?]
– Captain, I am afraid the events we discussed yesterday have to do with me.
[I see. What can you tell me?]
– The victim is not a victim. He was a space assassin and he went after my cousin Mikka who defended herself. I do not know the why to that yet. But these types, if you don’t kill them first they will come after you until they succeed.
[I understand. Is she okay?]
[I’ve read the file the detectives have so far. They can’t identify the man, but they suspect your cousin because they identified the murder weapon as a baseball bat.]
– Yeah, I gave that one to her. Tell me, what would satisfy the justice and clear my cousin of all possible charges?
[If the dead man had an identity, was known for violent crimes and that she was attacked by him.]
– I’ll see with the keepers about that.
[You would also need an explanation on how the body was put in the dumpster while she was at baseball practice.]
– Right, she asked her brother Vladie for help.
[Tampering with evidence is a crime. Does he have a record?]
– I do not know.
[Okay, let me check.]
There is a pause.
[Disorderly conduct a few times, but nothing major.]
– That can all be attributed to the brain tumor he had removed last month, it caused erratic behavior.
[Is there an Earth medical file about that?]
– Yes, it was done here.
[Okay, then that would expunge his record for that and I am not an expert but brain surgery might alter decision making capacity. I would look into that and hire a good lawyer before he turns himself in.]
– I understand. Thank you Captain.
[It is I who thank you, you could have everything erased easily and yet you cooperate with the police.]
– You’re welcome. I will contact you before we come to the station. Bye.
She hangs up.
– Your Majesty, I’ve received an update from Captain Apini. Caine says.
– The hyddihpuyssiex was a sleeper agent under Balem. He has lived on earth for the last five years, mainly in Asia. It is why no one took notice of him, since he did not come by spaceship. His last order came from Balem directly, he was to kill your whole family. Your cousin only happened to be the first one to be without security and he took advantage of it.
– Crap, any other sleeper agents?
– Unknown at this moment.
– Great, as if I have nothing else to think about. She sighs. Contact Mr. Saturn about it, tell him it’s a priority.
– Of course, Your Majesty.
He taps his implant and contacts Hind Saturn, the head of intelligence.
[Madine, this is Luke. Palpatine sleeper agent found and killed on Naboo. Mon Mothma request highest priority on the matter. Suggest deploying bothans.]
– Jupe? Mikka says uncertain.
– It’s all code names. No one out there would understand the meaning, and no one down here would think anything of it if they ever managed to break into our communications. Jupiter tells to her cousins.
She nods. Then taps her comm bracelet and contacts the Keepers about evidence against the hyddihpuyssiex. After which she calls Yulia about a criminal lawyer for her cousins.
She orders lunch and Caine and her, with Aleksa and Nino, answer Vladie and Mikka inevitable questions about technology, just how rich she is and such. The explanation on how she saved Earth humans and why she had to do it is the final drop that makes them grasp just what Jupiter has to deal with.
– That’s sick! Vladie says.
Mikka excuses herself and locks herself in one of the bathrooms. Jupiter follows her and speaks to her through the door.
– Are you okay Mikka?
– I will be. She answers through the door.
– Okay, I’ll wait for you before I continue.
She understands her cousin, that had been her first reaction too, but after two months she also understood the other side of the argument now. She still did not agree with RegeneX, and she had started work on the Ambrosia and Asclepius formula the other Jupiter had dropped in her lap. But without RegeneX she would never have met Caine and her space family. It was a dichotomy she had learned to live with, being grateful for a product that made her sick to her stomach just thinking about it.
Aleksa and Nino had cleared the table while she spoke and they went back to the sofa to continue to talk after Mikka came out of the bathroom. She looked pale, edging towards a greenish tone, but she was steady on her feet.
– Jupe, you have to fix that. We are not cattle. She says as she sits down on the sofa.
– I know, I’m working on it. But it will take a long time, a very long time. Most of the Entitled are already millennia old. It is hard to change their minds. For now I made harvesting illegal on my planets.
They continue to answer questions until there is a knock at the door.
– Ms. Jones, you have a visitor. Veel says.
A women enters her apartment. Jupiter stands and walks to the door.
– Mrs. Martha Foster, defense attorney. The tall brown haired women says.
– Jupiter Jones, she says offering her hand.
They shake hands.
– Your assistant said you were in need of my service.
– Well, not me personally, I’m the one paying your fee. My cousins are in need of your services.
She turns to the sofa.
– Vladie, Mikka.
Her cousins stand and come greet the lawyer.
– You seem young. How old are you? She asks Mikka.
– What are the charges?
– Nothing yet, but they have to turn themselves in before they are charged with murder and tempering with evidence.
– I… see…
– Please sit, Jupiter says indicating the kitchen table.
Mrs. Foster sits on a chair and takes her phone out.
– Josh, clear my afternoon… no, yes, it’s an important one, reschedule it. Okay bye. She says on the phone.
After she hangs up, she pulls her laptop out and says:
– Now, start at the beginning and tell me the truth.
Jupiter gestures to Mikka, and she starts to speak.
– Last Saturday, as I was going to baseball practice, I noticed someone following me. I got scared and hopped in a bus, changed transport, and went through a mall as my dad taught me to do. I had left my equipment in my school locker, as I always do on Fridays, and the janitor let me in to pick it up. He knows my dad. While I was taking my things in my locker, a man attacked me and I defended myself with my bat. He had a gun that I knocked out of his hand but he kept coming after me and I was so scared that I swung at his head… He fell to the floor and even then he still tried to grab me by the foot. I swung again and he did not move anymore.
– She called me in panic and I went there and found her standing above the corpse. I told her to take a quick shower in the gym locker room and go to her baseball, that I would take care of everything. I cleaned up the mess and dumped the body in a dumpster. Vladie adds.
The attorney seems shocked.
– That is the story in the news? About the body in a dumpster?
– Yes. Jupiter says coming back from her office.
– Okay. If it really was self-defense, no charges should be pressed against her, but we would need some kind of proof.
– Like a recording of the attack? Jupiter asks handing her a thumb drive.
The attorney plugs the drive in her laptop and watches the recordings. Aleksa and Nino come and watch it too. Jupiter can almost hear them curse in their heads.
– How did you get that? Is this genuine? The attorney asks.
– Genuine, yes. As how I obtained it, I can only say I have connections in high places.
– I can work with that for her. But tampering with evidence is not something you can claim self-defense for. She says referencing Vladie’s situation.
– What about altered decision making abilities following brain surgery?
Vladie takes off his wig and bald cap and shows the large scar on the side of his head.
– That looks recent.
– Last month. He says.
– Okay, that is good too. What about the evidence removed for the crime scene?
– All in a box in my bedroom closet, he says looking down.
Mrs. Foster seems about to laugh.
– Altered decision making indeed, she says chuckling.
A click from her office lets her know that a Keeper is in there waiting for her. She excuses herself and goes to her office. When she enters she recognizes Croaker and signals to him to keep quiet.
He hands her a sheave on the dead hyddihpuyssiex that has Jupiter swearing. She converts it to an Earth format, transfers it on another thumb drive and also prints it. Through the Maximillian Jones, she also connects to the hospital where Vladie had his surgery and downloads his medical file, thankful for the digital age.
She comes back out with fire in her eyes, holding the file.
– It’s time to go.
If Mrs. Foster notice how quickly everyone obeys her, she does not say anything about it.
Out of the apartment, Aleksa and Nino returns to theirs. Jupiter stops at the office apartment and tells Yulia she needs the limo and Caine collects the rest of his team.
Mrs. Foster came with her own driver so she will follow them. They make a first stop at Vassily’s house where Vladie gets the box of evidence from his closet. Jupiter calls Martin Adams to let him know they are on their way and to have the detectives there.
At the 15th district, she is greeted by officer Zoey Price, who is starting to show a little pregnancy.
– Ms. Jones. How nice to see you. The Captain is waiting for you, right this way.
They all follow her to the captain’s office. Detectives Wilson and Watts are with him. They gather chairs and sit, except for Caine. He always stands when there are only ordinary chairs around.
– Ms. Jones, I suppose you come delivering mind-blowing evidence, as always? Martin says bowing slightly.
The detectives look at their captain shocked.
– You could say that, Captain. First of all, this is Mrs. Martha Foster, defense attorney.
They nod at each other.
– And this is all the evidence that was removed from the crime scene, she says.
Caine drops the box on the captain’s desk.
She does not let them the time to recover and adds.
– The dead man is Yashimoto Kanusuke, a serial killer the Japanese police was looking for. Here is his file, translated to English for your convenience. Translation might not be perfect, but the images are quite graphic. As you can see, his victims were not as lucky as he was by the way they died.
She gives the detectives the paper file and the thumb drive.
They flip through the pages and Watts seems to turn on the green side.
– How did you obtain this? Says Watts.
– I am not a liberty to reveal my source to you but Captain Adams knows them and can vouch for them.
– Yes, Ms. Jones sources are above reproach.
– Now, as for who killed him, it was…
– Me, says Mikka.
– What my client means is that she was forced to kill this man in self-defense after he attacked her. Points out Mrs. Foster, handing over the thumb drive with the recordings.
– She panicked and, not knowing what to do, she called… Jupiter continues.
– Me. I cleaned up the mess and dumped the body in the dumpster. Says Vladie.
– Tampering with evidence is a crime, points out Wilson.
– My client had a brain surgery last month to remove a tumor. It affected his capacity to make good decisions. With proper guidance he brought you everything he had taken from the crime scene and kept in his bedroom closet. Points out Mrs. Foster.
– His medical file is on the thumb drive with the file on Yashimoto Kanusuke. Jupiter adds.
Martin Adams is smiling. As always Her Majesty has everything wrapped up and tied with a bow.
The detectives are flabbergasted.
The detectives and the captain watch the recordings and read the files on the drives and decide not to arrest Mikka and Vladie. As one clearly acted in self defense against a violent criminal and the second acted out of love for his sister and has a clear medical condition affecting decision making.
They clear the paperwork and leave the office on the smiling Captain and detectives. Closing a high profile case like this will give a nice boost to their careers.
She thanks Mrs. Foster outside of the police station and tells her to send her bill to her office, giving her one of her business cards.
After which they pick up Aleksa and Nino and go to diner at Vassily. After diner, Lyudmilla turns on the TV to watch the news right on the interview with detectives Wilson and Watts and Captain Adams.
“– Captain, I have heard a rumor that your detectives have cracked the case of the corpse in the dumpster. What can you tell us on the investigation? Asks the reporter.
– Judy, I am glad to say that through hard work from detectives Wilson and Watts, and a source that requested to remain anonymous, we can officially close this case. We have received overwhelming evidence and a full confession on the matter and we can say that no arrest will be made as the murder victim is in fact not a victim but a serial killer and his intended victim gained the upper hand on her attacker, using her baseball skills. You can not have a better example of self-defense then this.
– Wow, Captain, can you reveal the identity of either the serial killer or the intended victim?
– We can say that the serial killer was a Japanese national and that we are in communication with the Tokyo police department as he was wanted for gruesome murders. As for the intended victim, we can not reveal her identity as she is a minor, but we can say that she has a loving family that will take care of her. We are very glad she is safe and wish her a happy and long life.
– Wow, thank you Captain, and detectives Wilson and Watts, congratulation on solving this case.”
Lyudmilla turns off the TV and Mikka is surrounded by all her family as they all understood that she was the intended victim. After some explanations on what happened Saturday and today, Mikka says:
– Jupe, I swear, I will never ditch my security again.
– What security? Vassily asks.
– Her Majesty’s royal guards, Vladie says, before she can speak.
– Beeswax Vladie. I swear I will have my personal doctor fix your brain.
– You can do that? He asks joyful.
– Yeah. Oh gosh, okay, might as well get it over with.
She turns to Caine.
– Commander, get everyone on duty to get in here right now.
– Yes, Your Majesty.
The Skybreakers and Sentinels on duty come in through the front and back door and fill the small living room.
– Anonymizers off. She says.
And that is how Jupiter was forced to reveal the truth to her whole family.