Snyder sat at the desk near his two colleagues, Private Timothy Harjo and Private Lomattube McIntosh, on the third day of their investigation. Snyder took a sip of insta-Starbucks, black with brown sugar. Why did he always end up being the only white guy? At least he hadn’t taken any punishment for being the wrong color. So far. Hard experience made it difficult to think it could last.
Still, it was odd. Counting Captain Greywolf, there was a grand total of three Native Americans on base. Plus Snyder had gone through personnel files on a quiet day, and Harjo and McIntosh were middling performers. He could think of about sixty people who would have made more sense, performance-wise. So why these two?
A bulletin from the LAPD appeared on Snyder’s screen, as well as that of his compatriots. Apparently, an elderly blind man had reported a woman screaming, a man shouting, and the sound of blows. He approached with his seeing eye dog, and the perp fled with the woman screaming, “Let me go!” The blind man heard a car squealing away.
Captain Greywolf cursed. “Great! He strikes in broad daylight, and our only witness is blind. We don’t have a description of the car or the suspect.”
Snyder tapped on his workstation’s touch screen. “Maybe we can get one.” He pulled up the traffic cam network. “That call came in on the blind guy’s phone at 11:09. Maybe there’s a traffic cam nearby.”
He pulled up on his workstation the traffic cam nearest the reported location, rewound to 11:07, and played forward at 120% speed. Sure enough, at 11:08, the camera captured a man shoving a woman in his car. “Bingo!”
Greywolf pressed a button on her headset. “We have something.”
Snyder zoomed in on the license plate number. “It’s a Blue Honda Hybrid Carouser, California License Plate 4CBM299 and it turned East on Mulholland Drive.”
Greywolf relayed the information to Detective French.
Snyder stared at a DMV result for the license plate and quickly memorized the ICA number. “It’s registered to Jeremy Warwick, who lives out on Laurel Canyon Blvd.”
Greywolf rubbed her hands together. “We can follow these traffic cams and get this guy.”
“Um, I need to use the latrine.” Snyder looked over at his colleagues. “Can you two handle this?”
Harjo nodded. “No problem.”
Snyder headed to the bathroom. By the time Greywolf’s plan worked, the victim could be dead. But the faster way Snyder wasn’t supposed to know about.
Inside the bathroom, he reached inside his dress uniform’s jacket and pulled out an old-fashioned Pocket PC linked to the work console in his quarters, which he wasn’t supposed to have set up, either. Using the password he’d hijacked from the Steward’s deceased predecessor, Snyder tapped into the IBI mainframe, and a top secret Intelligence tool: the ICA trackers. He put in the suspect’s ICA number.
Most citizens had no idea that when they got “tagged” with a free Imperial Commerce Account microchip, a little nasty came with it: a tracking device that could pinpoint their location in seconds in the city.
Of course, smart criminals fled into the wilderness. There, a precise fix took minutes rather than seconds and ironclad green tape kept out the law and the law-abiding. Even air traffic had to fly around environmentalists’ sacred revirginized wildernesses, lest they disturb the local wildlife. Curiosity was dying to know if Donovan the Environmentalist consciously knew this provided safe havens for the folks he was supposed to hang, or willfully blinded himself to it.
Still, the Empire didn’t want this tracking system to become public knowledge. People would be less likely to accept tagging if they knew they were getting Big Brother implanted in their wrists. Besides the regional IBI directors and top Imperial officials, a select few Army Intelligence officers had clearance on this, most of them embedded with the IBI. The system was not “wasted” on catching rapists, but saved for “real” threats, like any political dissidents and terrorists stupid enough to be tagged.
Snyder looked down at his hand and smiled. If anyone ever decided to track him, they’d be in for a nasty surprise. Grandma had dutifully tagged him as a baby—with a black market chip sold to her without having to sign the blasphemous loyalty oath to Herald. Mama Borden learned about the tracking devices during her double agent days and took care of his. She had to have her own tag removed when she retired and settled in Boise. Her church there had a zero tolerance policy on tags.
The system reported the serial killer’s location, turning right down Park Glenn Drive. The jam-packed LA lunch traffic worked in their favor.
Snyder pulled up the Dispatch command center for the LAPD, and turned Password Breaker on. Twenty seconds later, he was in. He put in a dispatch command, entering the license plate of the vehicle with this note: “Suspect vehicle seen turning right off Mulholland onto Glenn Park Drive.”
Snyder turned off the Pocket PC and returned to the Emergency Ops room. The crew were still switching cameras off Mulholland Drive, watching archived video of the suspect’s car.
“Gentlemen,” said Captain Greywolf. “The vehicle is now headed down Glenn Park Drive, officers in pursuit.”
Snyder settled in at his workstation and smiled.
Within two hours, the police had the suspect in custody.
Subscribe to Laser & Sword by Email to get the next part and all the rest of our free offerings delivered to you. To find out what happens sooner, visit the Laser and Sword Online store and download Issue 1 for free or purchase the Annual Editioncontaining 11 action packed stories