by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
Sputnik stolen! The famous satellite was pilfered from the Historic Earth Exhibition at the Downtown Museum of History in the early hours of yesterday morning. Police Lieutenant Chuck Brogan dispatched officers from the 44th Precinct to investigate the scene and reassured the director of the museum that the criminals behind the theft would be apprehended without delay.
Brogan, a veteran human officer from Earth, had a special interest in the old satellite and not purely because of it’s significant place in his planet’s history. A recent spate of burglaries have focused on vintage space artifacts, from classic cruisers to rocket parts.
Just last week the theft of the Thunderbird Seven space transporter vehicle sparked fears of an organised gang of professional space-mobile thieves. However, the connection to space artifacts was made by the 44th Precinct’s very own RSA unit, Slomo. The mechanical wonder cross-checked the data files on the recent thefts and concluded that someone was evidently stealing to order and the stolen items all had one thing in common – they were all historically significant pieces from their respective planet’s spaceflight history.
Brogan poured over the files of the city’s most notorious thieves including Em Bezzler, Roe Bear and Kree Menaul, but none of them seemed to fit the bill. Then he stopped, staring at the file of one Ste Lerr. Lerr’s past was more checkered than a chess board and many of his former offences indicated that Brogan might be on the right track.
Lerr’s whereabouts were sketchy, but a chance lead from Officer Tom panned out and it wasn’t long before Brogan and Sergeant Cathy Costello were on the scene. The shady apartment complex next to the warehouse district was known for being a bad neighborhood – the sort of place that 9 times out of 10 you had a hood for a neighbor. The suspect’s apartment was on the fifth floor. Brogan opted for a frontal approach and Costello circled around the back and cautiously made her way up the fire escape.
Brogan rang the bell. It gave an ugly electronic whine. The voice that asked Brogan what he wanted was ugly and whining too. Brogan said he was looking for Ste Lerr. The voice said they didn’t know a Ste Lerr, but Brogan wasn’t buying it. He whipped out his electro-decoder and in seconds the door sprang open. Carefully, he made his way through the dimly lit entrance hall and headed for the stairs. There was a rusty-looking elevator on one side of the hallway, but Brogan avoided it as it looked like a deathtrap. As the thought crossed his mind, he hoped he wasn’t walking into one anyway.
He reached the fifth floor and found the room number Tom’s lead had given. Brogan knocked and called out, one hand on his trusty revolver. There was no reply. With great care, he began to open the door. He noted that it didn’t creak despite its dilapidated appearance. Obviously it was used frequently. Brogan had been expecting an equally unkempt interior, but he was shocked to find the apartment itself couldn’t have been further from that. The entire inside of Lerr’s residence looked more like the interior of a hi-tech museum. There were crystal display cases lining polished silver walls. Every inch of the place was spotless as if it had just been polished.
Brogan gazed around, utterly astounded by the unexpected discovery. There was barely a square inch of wall or ceiling space that wasn’t dedicated to some space artifact or other. Only the window was left clear, and even that had been blacked-out so as not to reveal the contents of the room to anyone in the building opposite. As Brogan continued to gaze at the various objects filling his vision, his eyes came to rest on one that was distinctly unpleasant – a gun. It was pointing right between Brogan’s eyes. The man holding it was Ste Lerr, and by the look of him, he was ready to kill…
TO BE CONTINUED.