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Secrets of the Asylum Ch. 6 Part 2

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After a lot of searching past endless T.V.s with splashes of color on them, and on some occasions talking to some random gamer to ask if they knew where Jackie was, Jack and Nick finally managed to find Jackie M.

He was playing a game with beautiful graphics that would have taken an impressive amount of skill to have programmed and designed, but Jackie M. didn’t seem to like the game because at the end of the round he put down his controller and started to walk away. However Nick grabbed him by the shoulder, halting him midstride. “Hello I am Nick Hanson, and this is my business partner Jake Hawk, we’re private investigators and we would like to ask you a few questions.”

“Sure, this year’s convention hasn’t been as good as the others,” Jackie M. said, while at the same time leaning against a nearby wall, allowing his legs and arms to relax.

“So you saw Mac Louis’s character in Halo on the night of November sixteenth 2009, correct?” Nick started out.

“Yeah, I won’t really forget it, I used to think he was good, but he didn’t really do much that night, he just sort of ran around, got shot a lot, but he did manage to survive for awhile,” Jackie M. replied.

“Could anyone have hacked into his account?” Jake asked.

“No, I’ve met Mac before, he’s a complete cyber geek, no way that anyone is ever getting past the endless security codes that he put into his computer, except for him, or maybe a computer programmer.” Jackie M. said without any deceit evident in his eyes. “No one can even get in his house without getting caught he hasn’t missed a single square inch of ground with his security cameras set up, it’s scientifically proven. Look I’d like to help you, but I already told the police everything that I know, the only thing you won’t be able to find in the file is this piece of advice, Mac Louis is very weak when it comes to muscles, but when it comes to your line of work brains beats bronze and Mac has a lot of brains.”
***

Later that same day (after lunch) Jake found himself in the police department garage where the police kept large pieces of evidence, like the burnt remains of Alex Gong’s car. Nick had suggested that he and Jake split up. Nick was going to reread the case file while Jake and Rachel were going to search the car. However contrary to what some might think Jake was not proud of himself for gaining enough trust to split up from Nick, he was proud of himself for remembering that Zach had told him that examining cars was one of Rachel’s specialties and that Rachel had texted him to tell him that she had the day off. In fact Jake hoped that the car didn’t even have evidence in it, he hoped that he would have an hour or two to work up the courage to ask Rachel out, while they worked with the car together.

I can do it, Jake thought to himself, there’s no real reason why I should be afraid.

So after looking under a chair, without actually examining anything, Jake walked over to where Rachel was working, he opened up his mouth, but Rachel spoke before he could. “Hey Jake, Zach, some of the other younger law enforcers and I are thinking of going out to a movie tonight, do you want to come.”

Jakes mind said, no, why can’t we just go without everyone else and I know that such a diverse group will never be able to pick a movie, however at least he could come along, it would be more fun than staying in his apartment, and he would be with friends, but his mouth simply said, “sure.”

I’ll ask her out tonight then, Jake thought to himself.

Before Jake could say anything else Rachel interrupted Jake’s thoughts once again. “That’s weird. I found a hand print burned on the underside of the car, someone must have got their hand in some of the car oil, and then the print burned in.”

“So does that help?” Jake asked.

“The print isn’t useful alone, but put it in context and it’s the evidence to blow this case wide open,” Rachel said triumphantly.
***

Nick was completely bored, he got a lot of enjoyment from his job, but there was a lot of monotonous paperwork. Unfortunately it was the aforementioned repetitive paperwork that Nick was doing, however it also helped him appreciate the news that Jake and Rachel brought.

“Rachel solved the case,” Jake announced.

“That’s excellent,” Nick said, “because I’ve certainly not.”

“Well, actually I’ve only solved half the case,” Rachel said modestly. “Well, Jake told me all about Mac’s wheel chair alibi, but then when I found a hand print on the underside of Mr. Gong’s car, I realize that there is a way that Mac could have gotten to the top of the driveway. You see all Mac needed to get up the slope was wheels and a motor. So what if those wheels were a low lying wheeled board, like a skateboard and what if the motor was provided by grabbing the underside of the car and letting Alex drive his own car back up the slope. Keep in mind Alex claimed to have driven his car back up the driveway.”

“That’s genius,” Nick exclaimed. “It must have been so easy to think up, but it was so original that I didn’t even consider it.”

“Thank you,” Rachel said with a blush.

“Wait a second!” Jake exclaimed. “Your ideas have inspired me to solve the other half of the case, you see your ideas made me realize that with Mac’s physical shape he has to rely on others and machines to do normal things. So it makes sense that someone else was playing Halo for him, however the problem is that hiring somebody to do that is a little ridiculous. So I think that he didn’t pay whoever he hired.”

Nick raised an eyebrow. “What?”

Jake stayed calm. “I never said that the someone was human. Do you remember how Mac’s cat Tiger loves to claw at things that are hanging on strings. So how did the scratches that I saw on Mac’s keyboard get where they were? The simple conclusion is that before Mac burned Alex’s car he hung his keyboard from the ceiling, logged into Halo and let his cat go to town on it, the result would be that Halo players would see a berserker character moving around. By the way Nick, is this how you feel all the time, exhilarated and victorious?”

“Yes,” Nick replied. “But as you often say to me theories are fun but I think we need a little more proof. So I’ll handle this part of the case. You see Mac was a little too careful, we can use his own security cameras to nail him, because anything that he did in his house we can see on his own recordings.”

So that’s exactly how Mac Louis was caught for arson, meaning that Jake had time to go hang out with his friends at the movie theater and allowing time for Jake to ask Rachel on a date. Unfortunately Jake and Rachel didn’t know that that date would be their last for a long time and they didn’t notice that the late fall sunset that day was darkened by a long ominous shadow.





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