Chap. 234 Identification
“I’d change clothes, were I you,” D’nis said, “You’re fairly ripe.”
K’ndar laughed. They were in his quarters after examining the jaw. His mind was racing, trying to understand just what it was from.
He picked up the datalink from his desk.
“I should have taken my datalink,” he said. “I’m not used to using the thing, it’s just not the same as a pencil and a notebook,” he said, dropping the full notebook on his desk. His backpack was full of specimen jars. He noticed the ‘message’ light flashing on the datalink.
“Come to Security as soon as possible. We would like you to try to identify the person who assaulted you.”
He showed it to D’nis.
“Where’s Security?” D’nis asked.
“I have no idea. I’ll go to my office first, drop off these specimen jars with Miklos, and I’ll find out from there.”
“Your ‘office’,” D’nis repeated.
“Aye. It feels so odd to say that, never mind actually HAVING one.”
Raylan met him at the door into the building.
“Did you figure out what that thing was? Is?”
“Well, yes and no. I do know now it’s not a skull, it’s a jaw to something a LOT bigger. What it’s from, not a clue. I’ve got samples of tissue, and drawings. I’ll have to borrow a camera to take shots of it, I think they’ll give the database a better grasp on what it IS,” he said.
“I talked with Lefsa, she’s itching to come and take a look at it. She’s turning into a good taxonomist! Jansen wants to see it, too. I’ll have them take the pictures, Jansen can then enter the data immediately. And I see you have specimen jars?”
“Yes, sir, and I’ll take them to Miklos now. Tell Lefsa and Jansen, and just about anyone else, if they want to take a crack at guessing what it the jaw is from, they’re welcome. It’s not MINE, after all, and once it’s all clean and thoroughly de-scented! I think it should go into the museum that’s being developed. They don’t need my permission or supervision to go examine it. The more minds bent to it, the better.”
“I will. In fact I’ll go take a long look at it myself. By the way, Security wants to talk to you.”
“I know. They sent me a message saying they’ve got a possible identification of the lout who clouted me,” K’ndar grinning at his alliteration. “Can you steer me to Security? I have no idea where they are.”
Siskin spit, like an angry cat. At the same moment, Raventh chimed in.
“That one, ma’am,” K’ndar said, pointing at the picture amidst a dozen others.
“I gathered as much, judging from your fire lizard’s reaction.”
“That, and my dragon recognized him, and I do, too. Definitely that one.”
“Ah,” the Security Chief said, smiling, “I love it when the dragons testify. They make my job so much easier. They don’t lie.”
“Nor do fire lizards, ma’am!”
She laughed and wagged a finger at Siskin on K’ndar’s shoulder.
“You’re a loyal little beastie you are, little blue!”
Siskin cheeped, always happy to be the center of attention.
The Security Chief dismissed all the photos save for the one he’d chosen. A second one appeared. That one was an official portrait, like the one K’ndar had had taken when he’d in-processed Landing. The first one showed the same man, disheveled, his face and mouth bloody from claw marks. Siskin had just barely missed the man’s eyes.
Siskin hissed again.
“That’s him, no doubt, ma’am,” he said, after scanning the photos. “Who is he? Is he in custody?”
The woman shook her head. “Not in custody. That and we need to know who we’re looking for, now we can begin that search after your solid identification. Give me a moment while I query the database.”
She motioned over her datalink screen.
“Ah. Odd. He’s staff. His name is Raimon. And he’s not been to work in three weeks. Nor is he shown as working elsewhere, or off Landing.”
The woman sighed and ran her hand through her graying hair. “Shards, a staffer. This is embarrassing. First Shawn, then Marsh..who’s a family member, not staff…now this one.”
The datalink peeped. She read it quickly.
“Ah…ah,” she said, in a tone that said a lot of questions were being answered. She looked up at K’ndar.
K’ndar resisted the urge to come around her desk to read the datalink.
“Last night, after you were attacked, Raimon,..no, actually, early this morning, perhaps a half hour after midnight, Raimon went to the healer clinic. The night shift healer is a journeyman, he’s only recently been graduated from Healer Hall and has been here less than a month. He was unaware that he should be looking for someone with a broken nose and a clawed face.
He asked Raimon how his nose had come to be broken, and his teeth shattered, and said the man claimed he’d been kicked by a horse. But the journeyman reports there were ‘no indications’ that the man had been kicked by a horse. Instead, he reports that the man had numerous claw marks on his face and neck, from ‘most likely a fire lizard’. He’d been kicked beneath the chin, ‘injuries consistent with those inflicted by someone’s boot’…that was probably yours? He notes that Raimon was lucky his jaw hadn’t been broken, but several teeth had been shattered. Raimon ‘wanted only pain medication’, which he provided. He didn’t want salves for the scratches, and seemed to be ‘in a hurry’. The journeyman offered to straighten the man’s nose but to do so, he wanted the supervision of the Master Healer. While he was on the datalink calling her-she was on another call-the man fled,” she said.
“He didn’t know? The men who came to take my report told the Healer to call if someone came in for a broken nose. “
“I know, and I’m a bit dismayed, but, sir, don’t be hard on the journeyman. Our Master Healer was elsewhere on Landing, and hadn’t had a chance to brief the journeyman. But mostly, it was, I’m sorry to say, it was my division’s slip up. With all these folks here for the Selection and Petitioning, it’s inevitable that there’s going to be a drunken fight, or someone lost something, or has been locked out of his or her guest quarters, or got lost themselves in this maze we call Landing. My people had their hands full. That, and in the last month, we’ve been seeing a lot of petty theft-a shirt here, a pair of boots there, food…To the journeyman, this was just one more loser of a fight. He’d already seen two people needing aid after some mishap or a fight, this lout was just ‘next’.
Fortunately, the Healers have a protocol in place that photos are taken of the patient, as well as much information as the person is willing to give. For that matter, the man gave a false name. Only the database disagreed, but by then, he’d been gone for hours,” she said.
“Hmmm. So, what do I do? Am I in trouble?”
“Of course not, K’ndar. This was obviously self defense. Even so, I’d keep an eye out for him. We will. The thing that bothers me, is that at first, we here at Security assumed it was just another guest here, or a petitioner, or someone who’s come in with a petitioner. Now with your positive identification, the database, as you just saw, picked him right up. Staffers are not supposed to be assaulting people. We’re here to teach, to research, to serve Pern. This one..he’s not shown up for work in three weeks. Nor has his family seen him since then.”
“He was staff.” K’ndar said, dismayed. And I seem to be the focus of three of these types, he thought. Are there any more? Will I always be looking over my shoulder?
“Yes. A chemist. I won’t go into details, because if we do apprehend him, you’ll be asked to testify against him. Have you ever been to a trial? A Charter trial?”
“Yes, ma’am, when I was assigned to Kahrain Steppe Weyr. Lord Dorn tried and convicted three criminals. One was a rapist, he’d raped a 12 year old girl.”
The woman glared.
“Please assure me that Lord Dorn executed him?” she growled through clenched teeth.
“Yes, ma’am. Lord Dorn relieved him of his head.”
She heaved a grateful sigh. “Good. That’s one less monster I need to be on the lookout for.”
She straightened her datalink. “Right then, back to business. Have you any idea why he attacked you?”
“As I told your men, no. I’d never seen him in my life, he said nothing, just nailed me from behind. Your men took his cudgel, saying they’d do a DNA check.”
“Aye, and it was inconclusive. It had lots of DNA on it, from both animals and humans. That’s why I am glad you and your blue, there, and dragon all identified him.”
She shook her head. “So odd. Was anything missing? Did he enter your quarters, steal anything?”
“Not that I know of, and I didn’t have anything of value anyway,” K’ndar said.
She shook her head, upset that it seemed so strange.
Her datalink buzzed and she read the text on the screen.
“Shaff it,” she said, standing up, “I”m sorry, K’ndar, but I’ll have to close this session up. Believe it or not, someone’s stolen a saddle horse from one of the petitioners.”