Lucy briefly opened her golden coloured eyes and glanced at the layout that Madame Prudence provided. There were five rooms circled, three of them in the same area. Her eyes quickly closed again. She smiled and handed the map over to Kat.
“Thank you, Madame,” Lucy said. “Tell me, do these executives of yours know why we’re here?”
“They do,” Madame Prudence said. “Each of them has my full confidence.”
“Splendid!” Lucy declared, clapping her hands together. “Then it shouldn’t be a problem if we look over their rooms and talk with them, right?”
“I suppose that would be the best way to start,” Madame Prudence said. “I’ll have them head to their rooms so that you can meet with them properly.”
“I have a question before you do that,” Kat said.
“Go right ahead, Sweetie,” Madame Prudence said.
“Which room got broken into first?” Kat asked. “Yours?”
Madame Prudence shook her head. “Not mine. Mine was actually the last. Abe Georges’ room was broken into first. He’s in charge of the boys.”
Kat glanced at the layout. His room was one of the ones off on its own. “I think we should check there first,” she said.
“That’s true,” Lucy muttered. “Starting at the beginning could help. But it’s also so out of the way.”
“So, we’ll split up,” Leon said.
“What a lovely idea!” Lucy declared. “Kat, why don’t you take Allison and Farah over to this cluster while Leon and I check Madame Prudence’s room and this Mister Georges’?”
“Understood,” Kat said. “We’ll meet back here after we’ve gathered the information.”
“Anything yet?” Ophelia asked.
“Just the usual stuff,” Grace answered. “Transmissions to family & friends, shopping orders, requests for tech support. Oh, and someone on that station is trying to get random people to buy land on a newly terra-formed planet.”
“Didn’t Leon get a message like that?” Ophelia asked.
Grace nodded. “Promised to stab the sender in the face for trying to scam him too. Think we should tell him?”
“I don’t think he actually would,” Ophelia said. “I’ve heard that boy threaten to stab a lot of people. He never has before, but let’s not tempt him.”
“Our first stop is Lilah Tanner’s room,” Kat said. “It looks like she was the second one who had her room broken into. Remember, be polite.” She looked pointedly at Allison.
The three saw a woman with dishevelled brown hair waiting by the door. She looked up as they approached.
“Miss Tanner?” Kat asked.
“That’s me!” Lilah declared. “I was told to expect you guys. I’m Lilah Tanner, in charge of the casino area. I’ll let you in, but it’s been a while since my place was broken into so I don’t know how many clues are left.” She opened the door for them. Clothes were scattered around seemingly at random, various knick knacks were placed seemingly arbitrarily on whatever surface areas were available.
“Did the burglar come back?” Farah asked, concerned.
“What, no!” Lilah said, laughing. “It’s always like this. I’m afraid that I’m not very organised.”
“How did you tell that someone had broken in at all?” Allison inquired.
“Bastard broke my ceramic wombat,” Lilah answered.
“Is there anything that you have access to that someone else wouldn’t?” Kat asked. “Anything at all?”
Lilah thought about it for a second. “The employee records, I guess. Prudey has access to all of them, but I’m the only exec who has access to all of the casino ones.”
“Were the records looked at?” Kat asked.
Lilah shook her head. “I carry mine with me. Whoever broke in couldn’t have seen ’em.”
Leon and Lucy followed the layout to Abe Georges’ room. The man had neat, trim
white hair and wore a suit with a monocle.
“You must be the investigators,” he said in a measured voice.
“That’s us,” Lucy said. “Can we look around?”
“I will cooperate with the investigation, of course,” Abe stated. “But there’s not much point to checking now, I’m afraid. I’ve cleaned up quite thoroughly.”
He opened the door for them and held it. The room was perfectly cleaned and organised.
“It was a frightful mess after the nefarious deed,” he continued. “The drawers had been turned inside out and even the holo frames had been skewed.”
“He looked behind your holos?” Lucy asked.
“Or he unintentionally misaligned them when going about his activities,” Abe stated.
“What kind of things do you have that someone might be interested in?” Lucy asked. “In terms of records and the like.”
“I have the medical and personal records of all the men under me,” Abe answered. “Every executive in this building does. However, I keep the drive with that information stored in my office. Not in my home.”
“Was anyone in your office before or after this incident took place?” Lucy asked.
“Just the employees I’d spoken to in there,” Abe answered. “Nothing unusual…”
“So, something did happen,” Leon observed.
“Please, tell us what you’re thinking of,” Lucy encouraged.
“Well,” Abe said. “Slightly before the incident, I went into my office and noticed that several objects had been slightly moved from their proper places. I’d assumed that it was the work of Miss Tanner. She’s another executive and she has the most annoying habit of moving the objects in my office a few centimetres from their proper positions. She considers it amusing. But when I confronted her about it she claimed that she hadn’t done it that time.”
“Was the drive with your employee records one of the moved objects?” Lucy asked.
“It was,” Abe said. “But it was locked in the desk. I’d thought that the desk itself had been knocked into. Do you think…?”
Lucy nodded. “I think that whoever broke into your place managed to open your desk and look at your records.”
“But why toss his shit everywhere here and leave it be in the office?” Leon asked.
Lucy scratched her horns. “It may be that the break-ins are a distraction from our target’s true objective. We may be dealing with a more clever opponent than we thought.”