Detective Leena Mala - Apartment of Iri Mosvaine
"The vic is twenty eight year old Iri Mosvaine. We cleared the apartment when we arrived, but that's it. The Senator mentioned she went to the body and tried to rouse her friend while the bodyguard called us. A Health Services droid attended and pronounced the victim deceased. I have two officers pulling the building holo-security and several others canvassing the neighbours on this floor, and the ones above and below."
What an exceedingly thorough fellow. Who says efficiency is dead? Detective Leena Mala smiled and thanked the officer for his diligent work. He nodded gratefully. Earning praise from Leena was the first step on the road to joining the Coruscant Homicide Division. Still, it is his damn job. Though there are some who would never have called me at all assumed it was indeed an overdose.
Leena did not enter the apartment right away. Instead she glanced up and down the long hallway, the walls curving slightly with the design of the building. The walls were common duracrete, found in most new apartments built in the last ten years. It was cheap, reliable, but tended to explode when a fire got to hot. Better run fast when that alarm goes off. The victim had at least chosen her floor well, there was a fire evacuation pod station about ten units down.
The Senator, her pretty blue face streaked with tears, was talking to an attentive police officer. Next to him, recording the conversation and noting all of the Senators emotions and body language, was a Forensic Investigation Droid, commonly called FID. It would analyze the senators behaviour on the spot and make a recommendation regarding the honesty of the being providing the statement. I don't need a FID to tell me she is genuinely upset. Still, policy is policy and we can't give her any special treatment.
Nearby, a severe looking Pantoran male in the grey/blue of their security force was watching his charge with some agitation. Leena supposed it was because of the two human security officers and their Detention and Apprehension Droid (DAD). She noted that the Pantoran's blaster had been taken and was being held by the droid. Good, playing it by the book. I approve.
Sev Wera, Leenas Weequay partner, came around the distant corner and made his way toward her. He wasn't looking at her however, he was scanning every nook and cranny that he passed. Behind him floated an Evidence Retention Unit (ERU), already clutching a bagged and marked exhibit.
Leena waited for Sev to reach her and make eye contact before raising her eyebrow at the ERU as it bobbed gently in the air, a pair of green lights winking at her.
"It's a small pulse charger. Might not be related but someone tried dumping it in the garbage chute down the hall. Didn't do much of a job of it though, forgot to hit the button. Could be nothing. Could be something."
"I couldn't agree more." Leena smiled and turned to look at the apartment. It was one of 1,300 identical units in this particular block. The area was mostly young single professionals who worked for the Republic or one of the major tech companies on the planet. Numerous shared spaces proved to be a hive of friendly banter, youthful exuberance and a thick sexuality that Leena found intriguing.
The door itself was a standard side sliding mechanical door. It would open to the touch of its owner and no one else, save for the building manager. It was currently open and through it Leena could see the big windows that opened onto a view of the traffic streaming by. That would be the kitchen and dining area. A single bedroom and a refresher unit would be the only other rooms in the place, both without windows and designed for maximum comfort. Actually not a bad building. Still, I haven't done this job nearly fifty years to live somewhere like this. That's why I bought above the smog line. It cost a pretty credit but damn it was worth it.
"Initial thoughts?" Sev was eyeing the doorframe, carefully scrutinizing the manila coloured paint but finally pulled back with some satisfaction.
"None that are worth sharing. Shall we?" Leena stepped into the apartment. Another ERU droid was humming about the place snapping images, video, and carefully cataloguing the entire apartment digitally without disturbing anything. Those droids have saved me so many headaches and made catching bad guys a lot easier. I really ought to thank whoever designed them
The entry was small. A neat little rack for footwear folding out of one wall while a coat rack folded down above it to take your jacket. A closet on one side had a mirror that could show you the various outfits it contained within as though you had tried them on. Some high end gadgets indeed.
A bedroom lay to the immediate right and Leena spared it a glance as she went by. The bed was neatly made, a couple of holos, including one of Kade Ritgar, sat on a modern dresser. A small sunlamp was dimming as the night fell outside and a small item that looked very much like a battery operated buddy lay beside it. Hey, a girl has needs. Who am I to judge.
The refresher, to the left, was similarly organized. Nothing out of place. That was not unusual in this type of building. There were enough overdose deaths being reported these days that most of the Coruscant Security Force was very familiar with the layout of the units. The occupants tended to be home very little and when they did get home, there was much sex and drugs to be had. Spice in particular. Recently a "bad batch" had made its way into circulation and several hundred beings had already died as a result.
Sev's "tut tut" made her turn her attention to the living room. The body was slumped over on the couch. A blanket had been draped over it but Leena could see enough to know that the girl had been naked when she died. Spare me that fate. A bunch of strangers staring down at my dead naked body. I hope I die in space, or some fiery explosion, so nothing is left.
A small spice packet was open on the table, along with the inhaler that was used to administer the drug. A quick glance at the purplish colour told Leena it was likely part of the same batch that had been making its rounds recently. Another gift from Khulbe. That Hutt is going to get his one day. The Hutt in question had made good use of the chaos following the Sith attack and quickly reestablished his smuggling network, previously brought to its knees by the Jedi.
The girls personal datapad, still showing a dozen missed calls and messages from the Senator, lay on the tabletop. Another missed call from "Mom" tugged at Leena's heart for a moment. Even after fifty years on the job she still felt empathy for the family who would shortly be finding out their daughter had died. That never got easier, making those visits.
Still not touching anything, Leena made a slow circuit of the body. She knew that she had been called down to appease the Senator outside but something felt horribly wrong about the whole situation. There was bruises where the blood had begun to pool wherever the body rested against the couch or floor, but there was something more. The girls mouth was open and Leena stopped short as she stared at it. Her tongue is pink. The other spice overdoses always had a blue tinge. Why is this different?
She crouched and looked closer. The girl had perfect and her blue skin was nearly flawless save for a few acne scars carefully hidden by makeup. Her teeth show no sign of spice use either. Maybe she doesn't use it very often? Spice tended to turn the teeth by the gums a slight off white but the victims teeth were almost pearly white. Someone had excellent oral hygiene...
"Any chance that you can think of a logical reason why she might have a burner datapad?" Sev was standing next to her and she glanced up; following his gaze to where the corner of a duraplastic datapad stuck out from beneath a neat pile of Pantoran magazines. Both the detectives knew the device at once. You could buy them in vending machines around the planet. They were highly sought after by smugglers, gangs, and those with an extra spouse on the side. They could be used at most for a month after which they would self wipe and shut down until returned to a recycling unit. Certainly damn odd that she would have one.
"What were you up to?" She found herself asking the body, which of course did not reply. The question did elicit a chuckle from Sev however, he was forever teasing her about her weird habit of asking dead folks what they had been up to.
"Say..." Sev stopped and looked back toward the door. "Maybe, just maybe..." He was muttering to himself and stroking his chin as he walked back toward the doorway. He exited the apartment and then called the ERU droid over and glanced carefully at the pulse charger they had found. Then he reached out and tapped the button. The door shut with a whoosh and there was a silence for a minute before it shot open again and a grave looking Sev walked back into the apartment. She couldn't miss a twinkle in his eye however as he tried to maintain his serious expression.
Now that is the look of a being who has just discovered something interesting and he wants to make me guess what it is. Leena shook her head and then motioned toward the door. "No guessing games. Not with the Senator right there."
Sev huffed but nodded, he would get to savour his discovery later. "The door was forced by the pulse charger. It would have been powerful enough to override the doorlock for a few seconds, long enough for someone to slip inside."
Leena, still crouched on the floor, looked back at the body in front of her. The eyes stared vacantly up at the ceiling and Leena was suddenly filled with anger. This was no drug overdose. This was murder. She stood and swallowed her emotions. It took her a moment to sort out her thoughts and then she turned for the door.
"I'll tell the Senator."