Fisher’s Killer

Delores couldn’t hear the worst of the rain from the brig, but she could smell it in the air. The wind was boisterous. The ship’s iron bough rocked and rolled with the turbulent waves. Beneath all that, the subtle thunder created by the weight of water stole in and squatted in her bones.

A single light bulb had been strung from the ceiling. It swung madly from side to side. It was hypnotic, wreaked havoc with her logic circuit. Her vision kept wavering in and out.

A gynoid had killed a human.

The witch hunt was already in full swing. D20s were being transported overseas to be decommissioned. It wasn’t necessary to verify guilt but SOPs demanded that each model be subjected to the standard interrogation. It didn’t much matter either way. Once the ship had left harbor, there hadn’t been any turning back.

The guy questioning her, Inspector Jericho, claimed the badge on his shirt, was getting frustrated. She could tell he wasn’t used to traveling by sea. Green at the gills and frayed at the edges, he was steadily losing patience and maybe a bit of that precious human sanity to boot. She was designed to be compassionate, so she made a token effort to be a little more cooperative.

She shrugged, answered his question. “Of course, I wanted to kill Fisher. A lot of people wanted to kill him, Jerry. He was that kind of guy.”

His only response to the arbitrary nicknaming was a raised brow. “What do you mean?”

“What I said.” Delores watched him scribble something unintelligible on his notepad. “Weren’t you listening?”

“So,” he grimaced at length. “Did you?”

“Did I kill him?”

“Right.” He reached into his pocket and fished out a bunch of old school pics. “Did you kill him?”

The hazy image of a bloody, dark-haired android leaving a certain building didn’t move Delores. So, Fisher had really been done in by a fellow gynoid. With the video stills, all the local PD had needed to do was cast a net and pull in every D20 model within a twenty-mile radius of where the crime occurred. Not very clever as far as police work goes but who cares about inconveniencing a bunch of droids for the sake of closing a case?

“One of you surely did. Was it you?”

“Well,” She chewed on the corner of her lower lip for a few seconds before apparently dismissing the question. “So,” she leaned forward slightly. “How’d she do it? Did she do it with the sword?”

“What sword?”

“The samurai sword on display on his mantle. I think it was the real deal.” Her fingernail tap-tapped impatiently on the metal table. “Who could pass that up?”

“No,” Jerry frowned. “He wasn’t killed with a sword.”

“Garroted?”

“Nope. Fisher was shot, Delores. With a gun.”

“Got shot, huh?” She went pouty. “Kind of a boring way to go isn’t it?” She leaned forward. “I feel a little sorry for him, actually.”

Jerry hemmed and hawed and stared her down some more before gathering up his strewn papers. His chair made a loud scraping noise as he stood. He left her there without another word.

Delores eased back in her seat and waited. She heard a low murmur.

“So?” Another voice demanded.

“Not her.” Jerry declared tightly.

“All right then,” said the Voice. “On to the next.”

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