The Gordon Mamon Casebook

The Gordon Mamon Casebook by Simon Petrie Read Free Book Online

Book: The Gordon Mamon Casebook by Simon Petrie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Simon Petrie
Tags: Humor, Fantasy, Mystery, SF, SSC, space elevator
ship was a rabbit warren, but he thought he could find the clinic from here.
    One hour nineteen. Nobody in the clinic. He thought to remember there’d been mention of a final pre-launch check in the ship’s automated control centre.
    He did a quick inventory of the clinic, comparing it against the handheld’s image taken during the interview with McPhaillia.
    There . Three cryobooths, where previously four had stood.
    He had it. Solved. He felt a rush of satisfaction, as the last piece of the puzzle fitted into place. It was always a relief, a sense of renewal, to see that he hadn’t lost his touch. Negation .
    Of course.
    Now he just had to solve the murder , and he’d be done here.
     
    * * *
     
    Thirty-five minutes. This was going to be tight. Gordon bundled his awkward load into the crook of his left arm, hoping he didn’t spill anything, while he palmed the door override. The door sloughed open.
    The control centre was crowded, it wasn’t designed to hold four, but then, the ship was fully automated. Cassie, in effect, was the pilot. Everyone else, crew included, were essentially passengers.
    Nobody looked pleased to see him, but that was typical. And nobody here, he suspected, would thank him for what he was about to do.
    “Cassie,” he called.
    “Here,” she replied. Dead ahead this time.
    “Can you open an external comm link, to hotel security, please? There probably won’t be anyone present, let alone sober, but there should at least be an answerphone or something.”
    “Complying,” Cassie responded. ‘Does this mean you have an announcement?”
    “Perhaps,” said Gordon. He still wasn’t sure of this himself, he hadn’t had time to allow things to crystallise in his mind. But—thirty-two minutes.
    “Can we make this quick, please?” asked McPhaillia. “I’ve still got to freeze three people, myself included.”
    “I don’t believe time is going to be an issue, if that’s any reassurance,” Gordon said. “Incidentally, how do your caskets get from the clinic to the appropriate dorm?”
    “Cassie pilots them, of course,” the medic replied. “They’re all motorised.”
    “So that explains how, last time I checked, one of the four had been moved from the clinic to the dorm to which Cassie directed me. You want to explain your motivation there, Cassie? Like maybe you were trying to muddy the water, by getting me to think there was an extra person awake on board?”
    “I did say I wouldn’t lie to you, Mr. Mamon. I didn’t say I wouldn’t move the furniture. Beyond that, I don’t wish to discuss it.”
    “Never mind. Aha. My handheld informs me that my case summary has been squirted back to hotel security. So if you were thinking of severing that comm link, it’s too late to try now. You’d only make matters worse. For you.”
    Twenty-nine minutes.
    “Mr. Flange. A question.” The engineer looked, aghast, at Gordon and the items he’d placed on the floor between his feet. “Don’t worry, nothing too confrontational, not yet. Just a simple matter of ship’s anatomy. Can you point out to me, please, on that diagram,”—there was a ship’s schematic on the control cabin wall—“where the antimatter’s stored?”
    The engineer indicated the series of large cylindrical tanks strapped around the ship’s living quarters module. “Here. Well, the ones in blue are antimatter. Yellow are normal matter, to satisfy the fuel mix.”
    “Only half of them, then? Still, that’s a very large amount of antimatter, must have cost a fortune—”
    “We know the antimatter’s expensive, Mr. Mallow,” Gramacek interrupted. “But the Church insisted that no unwholesome propulsion methods was to be used for our travelment. No good can come of something which starts bad.”
    “Like the Parable of the Stool Pigeon and the Bum Steer,” agreed McPhaillia.
    “Yes, of course, and I’m sure you’re all very grateful for the long hours Mr. Flange has put in on researching and

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