Agent Ritter 10:00 AM Twin Hills Division Headquarters, Twin Hills, AZ

It’s been a week since the mining incident coupled with the corny toad. We finally got some peace and quiet for a little while, that is. Agent Wells is a lot less of a hassle when there’s not a big case for us to solve, director Squee has been keeping Wells occupied with reviewing old cases until she can find him a suitable partner.

Why wouldn’t Wells and I be partnered up from the get go? If there were two open agents in the same department, it seems like an easy solution. Even though Wells is kind of a bane, I formally requested not to work with him because at the end of the day, he is a good agent. I don’t think I have a curse, but the track record of agents who have been my partners would tell you otherwise.

And why hasn’t Agent Wells been given a partner? Well, he has. People request to be transferred or Wells has a personal problem with them so he has them removed from from his “team”. It’s similar to my predicament, he can’t keep a partner. It’s just not bad luck, he’s a prick.

Before Skully, my latest partner was good, not great, but good. Unfortunately for him, these are dangerous roads we travel. I’ve mentioned before that we need to be as fit as a fiddle to tackle the cases we do; you can’t get comfortable in this town. I’ve learned not to give unsolicited advice to people who are not willing to learn; back then it was a different story. I am a doctor, so you’d think people would be open to listen to what I have to say. The thing about being a healthcare professional is; if you are sharing the knowledge you have with someone and it betrays a belief they already had, you aren’t going to go anywhere with what you are saying. At the end of it all, you don’t want your last words to someone be about diet and exercise.

I was going over some of the old case files in my desk that hadn’t been resolved and were a little more “run of the mill” if you will. The sound of light rain patting on the roof and windows was soothing and brought an easy meditation like atmosphere to the room. Coupled with it being a Friday, I was feeling like today was going to be quite a relaxing end to the week.

Skully stepped into the office wearing her sunglasses with red lenses, lipstick to match and a transparent raincoat with black trim. Underneath Skully wora a form fitting red dress and black leggings that went into red boots. “Hello to you to Agent Ritter.” she said with a smile, I realized I had looked up and not said anything yet, “That’s quite a style.” I said admirably, “Same to you.” she said with a grin, hinting at my stagnant choice of form fitting pants and shirt I’ve worn every day since she’s arrived. I paused and looked down a split second, “Its not bad, Ritter. But if I didn’t know you better I would swear you were one of those cartoon characters who stares into his closet deciding what to wear, but everything is the same outfit.” Skully said. “Limitation does help with decision making.” I replied, “I bet you have forty-two of those things hanging around.” she smirked, “It could be worse, I could have chosen all denim.” “What’s wrong with denim?” she asked, “Nothing, unless you wear it all day, every day. I’m an FBI special agent, not a TV Texas Ranger.” “You will eat those words one day.” Skully said with a laugh, I smiled back.

Skully sat behind her desk and pulled out her laptop from the middle drawer. It had stickers of her favorite bands all over the back of it. I had opened a browser to look at some of the clothing options available from a site I would never buy from. My work phone buzzed so I pulled it out. One new e-mail was indicated on the screen, “Looks like Utini Corp is back in the headlines.” Skully said, I looked up from my phone to see that she had done the same and was reading the e-mail already. “Put on your raincoat, we’re paying your friends another visit!” Skully cheered, “I don’t have a raincoat, I have this jacket though.” I said picking up my trusty boring jacket, “You can borrow my umbrella if you want.” “It’s waterproof, so don’t worry about it.” I said popping the collar.

We stepped through the main entrance outside to a grey wet morning. “See, just a little sprinkle.” I said looking into the sky with a grin, “I’m telling you, every time you open your mouth, you curse yourself.” Skully said. We walked to her car and stepped in. “Want to stop off and get some coffee somewhere?” Skully asked while turning the ignition, “Yeah, we can get it to go from The Guild.” I replied. She put the car in gear and we headed through the slightly foggy streets.

Agent Ritter 10:35 AM Utini Corp HQ, Twin Hills, AZ

“Okay, now borrow my umbrella.” Skully said, pushing her see through pink umbrella into my chest. The rain was beating down like cats and dogs; or more like lions, tigers and bears. We stepped out into the furious rain and clacked across the street to the sidewalk leading to Utini Corp’s front doors. The umbrella had yellow and pink stripes going from the handle all the way up to the top; it was far sturdier than it looked. The wind picked up right as we walked through the double doors and pushed us a little farther in than we were expecting. “Mat!” the girl behind the desk yelled, “Oh, I’m sorry, you must have me confused. I am Agent,” “Mat! Use the mat!” she interrupted pointing to the ground behind us. We had been pushed right over it onto the tile. We stepped back, “Sorry.” I said while wiping my feet.

We walked over to see the girl we previously saw working the night shift. She had on the same outfit from before; green shoes and glasses. “How can I help you?” she asked, “I am Special Agent Ritter and this is my partner Special Agent Skully. We are here to speak with Doctor Lambic.” I said, “So you can throw him in jail too?” the girl responded. I looked at her name tag, “K. Anni” it read, “Hi, miss Anni, we are here to ask some questions. This won’t be long, someone gave his description on an incident that happened last night and we just want to get some information.” I said, “Well, he was here all last night, check the cameras.” Anni replied, “I understand, but for the record; we need to speak to Dr. Lambic.” I replied. Anni rolled her eyes, “Cliff!” she yelled; from near the elevator Cliff seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Cliff lumbered towards us, “Hello again Cliff, no hard feelings.” I said sticking my hand out. Cliff looked down then directly into my eyes; he squinted a bit then took my hand and shook it carefully. “Take them to see Doctor Lambic.” Anni requested, Cliff nodded and walked us over the checkered tile to the elevators. We stepped inside; Cliff swiped his badge and pressed level two on the console.

“You seem to have gotten over your fear of elevators.” Skully said as the elevator rose, “I didn’t have a fear of elevators in the first place. When I don’t know someone’s motives, I don’t like relying on anything they control. So far the people of Utini Corp have been trustworthy, there has just been an unfortunate development with one of them.” “You mean my boss?” Cliff chimed in, “Yes, I am sorry about Doktor Jon, we will have him back here as soon as we find a treatment for his sleeping disorder.” I said, “Shouldn’t those guys be in a hospital?” Cliff asked, “We have a little more resources than the local hospital; so we took it upon ourselves to acquire adequate treatment.” I said reassuringly. Ding the elevator rang.

The three of us stepped out into a laboratory that seemed to be kept dim, with white tables that had miscellaneous equipment scattered about them. The room seemed to glow a dark blue from various wall mounted viewing screens. We walked about thirty feet until we saw a man in a lab coat staring at a set of x-rays. I started to walk forward, “Ah Jim, so what news do you have on the order of koalas?” the man asked, “Pardon me.” I said, the man turned halfway around, “You’re not Jim.” “That would be correct, I’m also not David Duchovny.” I replied, “Who’s that?” “Never mind,” I said sticking out my hand, “I am Special Agent Ritter of the FBI Twin Hills Division.” the man continued his turn and jutted out his gloved hand grabbing mine with a wet slap, “Good to meet you, I am Doctor Lambic.” as I pulled my hand away, I noticed it was covered in red. “Uh,” I started as I brought my hand closer to my face noticing a familiar copper smell, “Oh, sorry about that. Don’t worry, blood doesn’t stain if you wash it off immediately.” Lambic said. My brain started moving at triple pace.

I turned and walked away looking for the nearest sink, bingo; there was one right in front of me. As I grabbed the hose and started washing my hands Lambic called out, “Oh, not that one; that’s for cleaning feces off of our rhesus monkeys.” the hose fell from my hands with a clank and I turned it off. I started walking over to the next sink fifteen feet to my right, turning around with a wide eyed stare, “Yeah, that one’s okay.” Lambic said with a thumbs up. From a distance I heard Skully’s voice, “Special Agent Skully, I hope you won’t be offended if I shake your hand later.” “Not at all.” Lambic replied. Washing my hands vigorously, my brain started to calm. I rolled up my sleeves and washed up to the elbow. That felt much better.

I stepped back to the three people watching me curiously. “A little OCD in you eh?” Skully said, “There was blood and poop on my hands.” I responded, “So what brings you two in today?” Lambic asked. I noticed he had buzzed short hair and a beard the size of a raccoon. “We, got some reports of crime in the area. Normally, we don’t investigate common acts of crime ourselves; but there were multiple counts of burglary and theft last night.” I started, “So, what does this have to do with me?” Lambic asked, “Most of the evidence is on camera, but the culprit seems to match your description.” “There’s plenty of bearded men my size in this city.” Lambic said stroking his beard, “That’s true, but how many of them could break into three banks at the same time?” I asked, Lambic stayed silent. “We have been notified to check your cameras and logs. According to the receptionist, you were here last night correct?” Skully asked, “Yes, that’s correct.” He responded.

From behind us a big man snuck past us, “Hello Jim!” Lambic said, “Hello.” the big quiet man said. He was also wearing a lab coat, but had no beard. The big man had pale skin and short red hair. “This is Doctor Jimmy Jim. He’s been helping us on our projects.” Lambic said presenting Doctor Jim like a new car. “Good to meet you.” I said keeping my hands under my arms, Skully stuck out her hand, “Special Agent Skully.” she said, “Hi.” Doctor Jim said with a red face. Shaking out of it, Jim asked, “So what’s the word on Doktor Jon? Is he okay?” “Yes, he is doing fine. We told Cliff what was going on and he can fill you both in later.” Skully said reassuringly, “Okay.” Jim said with a bashful smile. I gave Skully a half humorous half approving smile and we continued on. “Jim, do you know where Doctor Lambic was last night?” “He was here. This guy never stops working.” Jim said as he pointed in Lambic’s direction, “You could say the same about Jon.” Skully smirked.

We were taken down to the security office on the first floor. There were twenty different feeds on two very large flat-screen monitors sitting side by side. Cliff showed us the video and logs for Doctor Lambic, “He was undeniably here.” Skully said leaning over the security console, “He was undeniably everywhere.” I commented. “Am I free to go, or do you still have questions?” Lambic asked, wanting to make it apparent he was in the room as well, “We will likely be back later, but as far as we are concerned you are off the hook for now.” I said, “That’s comforting.” Lambic said, “I will be arrested later for something that has undeniable proof in my favor of innocence.” he continued, “Doctor Lambic, I’m not saying you will be arrested, we will likely have more questions for you if we get get anymore leads. And if we catch the culprit and it’s not you then you don’t have to worry.” I replied.

Agent Ritter 12:09 PM Twin Hills Division HQ, Twin Hills, AZ

Skully and I stood in our office looking at a map of Twin Hills, “So we have evidence showing Doctor Lambic was in his office at the time of the robberies. We also have evidence that he was in the north side of town, the south side of town and slightly east of here.” I said making a triangular shape with my right hand over the map, “Do you think that the culprit or culprits are somewhere in the middle?” Skully asked, “No, I don’t think that correlation would matter, those banks just happened to be in those areas, they were targeted based on content not location.” I replied, “Do you think there were special materials that could have been the main primary motive for breaking in?” “It’s a possibility, but we should probably investigate the crime scenes. I know the banks are still trying to operate, just with added security.” I replied, “So then which bank do we start with?” Skully asked, “Let’s just go from top to bottom.” I replied.

Wells stepped through the door holding a paper cup of coffee, “So, where are we going?” I clenched my fists for a split second, “Skully and I are going to check the three banks that were broken into last night. We are starting with Bank of North America.” “Ah, BONA. I use BONA for everything.” Wells replied, “That’s fascinating, Wells.” Skully said, “We really need to get going though.” she continued, “I’ll get my coat.” Wells said, crushing his empty coffee cup and tossing it towards the trash bin next to my desk. Wells walked away to grab his coat, “You know he missed, right?” Skully said, “It’s on my desk, isn’t it?” “Yup.”

Two Point Oh 12:10 PM Utini Corp Laboratory Sub Level One, Twin Hills, AZ

He said, I did it again. I can’t believe it. We are supposed to be the next step of human evolution. We will be cosmonauts, pioneers and fighters of truth! The Doctor says I was created in his spitting image as a test. Being a clone isn’t all that bad, but there’s been some psychological aberrations that Doctor Lambic was not expecting. He says my brothers and I have gotten out of control, there were apparently bank heists last night that we have no recollection of. We were clearly seen on camera wearing our scrubs, how can that be?

I’ve been pacing back and forth in my room trying to wrap my head around these massive lapses in my memory. Do we lose all control at night, could something be possessing us to commit these crimes? I don’t even feel like I slept badly. I’m as restful as can be, yet I was able to pull off stealing forty thousand dollars last night and got all the way back here before anyone noticed. We would have the technology and the know how of our base model, Doctor Lambic. Since we are genetic copies, the brain map would be the same, allowing us to have all previous knowledge and memories.

It was quite a ride as when you first come out of the tube; you are wondering how you switched places with the subject. Having it carefully explained that you in fact have the same memories and feelings of the person who created you is disheartening at first, but you realize that those are their memories and not your own. When we are fixed, we will be revealed to the world and I can create my own memories.

When we have community time; Three Point Oh, Four Point Oh and I chat about what we will do when we show the benefits of clones and the technology that produces us that quickly. It may be expensive; but we can make new limbs, organs and stem cells with this technology without having to clone an entirely new person. Doctor Lambic says since the “Black Soil” disaster, all of the funding from Utini Corp is coming straight to us. The doctor says he should have us fixed within the week and we can be revealed to the world!

I think I would like to open a bar filled with board games. I don’t know if its a fleeting memory that Doctor Lambic had or if its my own; but I like to think its the second one since neither Three nor Four have mentioned it. Those two keep talking about becoming scientists to try and work with Doctor Lambic, because maybe three super brains are better than one. Who knows what else they could accomplish if they put their minds to it. I must admit, it’s admirable.

I just don’t fully understand why we needed to have tattoos of QR codes put on the back of our heads. We are our own, we are people, why should we be cataloged? Three and Four don’t seem to mind much, they like having free room an board. Sometimes the doctor lets us have coffee, we consider it a treat but it makes us hyper. I wondered if maybe the coffee had something to do with our episodes, we are only a few months old and caffeine can be quite the variable in a developing brain, even if the brain by human definition is already fully developed.

Agent Ritter 12:25 PM Bank of North America, Twin Hills, AZ

After parking; Skully, Wells and I stepped into the sensibly sized bank, it had red carpet lining the ground with a few black floor mats for employees to stand on while at their stations. Oak was the theme of the whole interior besides the red painted walls. The chairs, desks and kiosks were all wood. There were several security guards, two next to the tellers and two at the front door. They weren’t taking any chances today.

A skinny, well dressed man with short cropped hair and a bushy beard walked up, “Good day, how can I be of assistance?” he asked, I thought about it for a moment, then realizing the environment, stuck out my hand, “I am Special Agent Ritter of the FBI.” I said, the man grabbed my hand with a wet slap, “Good to meet you, I am Antoine Ducky. This is my establishment. I’m sure you are here to,” I stopped hearing what he was saying as I looked at my hand covered in something thick and brown, “shit!” “What?” I asked, “Shit, I’m sorry that’s mud from the entry point where they blew the wall out near the safe. We should get in there and have a look, shall we?” Antoine gestured to the back.

As we walked, Antoine pulled a white rag off the counter near the entrance to the teller’s side of the counter, “It’s just dirt, you can wipe off with this.” he said tossing it to me. “I’m sorry ma’am I didn’t get your name.” Antoine said wiping his hands off on a different towel and shaking Skully’s, “I’m Special Agent Skully.” “Charmed.” Antoine said with a smile, “Saving the best for last I see,” Wells started, “Not really,” “Special Agent Mercury Wells, I can’t shake your hand as I am holding a hot coffee.” Wells said holing up his right hand and presenting it with the left. Antoine looked over to Skully then me with a cocked eyebrow, “I’m going to need written reports, fingerprints and urine samples from all of your employees.” Wells said, “Uh,” Antoine started, “Let’s check the scene first, then we can ask questions and get the evidence we need.” Skully said.

We walked into the vault area where several construction workers under supervision of the police were trying to piece everything back together. A familiar face strolled up to us, “Hey if it isn’t by buddies from the FBI!” Doubleaye said with a smile, “Hey, Doubleaye. Where is Sheriff Jayne?” I asked, “We are all spread out right now trying to get these banks back in order, she went to TAG Bank.” he replied. “Okay, I will likely ask her if she found anything when we are done here. Do we know what caused the breach?” I asked, “Well, we aren’t sure yet. You’d think people that wanted money wouldn’t have access to fancy methods of breaking in to places like this since they lack the funding. But this entrance was heavily controlled. Look closely at it.” Doubleaye said, I bent over carefully and looked at the hole in the wall that went downwards into the muddy earth.

The hole was almost exactly three feet in diameter in what looked to be a spherical pattern. I stared closely at the damages to the structure, it wasn’t smooth. There were tiny cracks all along the brick and metal that would have stopped something conventional like dynamite. The mud below seemed to have a sheen to it I don’t normally see in mud, “That looks different, should we take it to Serenity to be analyzed?” Skully said, “No, I think I know what it is. I’m going to get a sample for evidence, but I think that mud used to be part of the bank.” I said, pulling out my gloves and a plastic bag. I carefully scooped the mud into the bag so I could look closer, “Yeah, that’s liquid metal and concrete. It will probably dry in a day or so given the temperature.” “Someone liquefied an entrance to the bank?” Skully asked, “Looks like.” “You mean liquefied and liquidated.” Wells chimed in with a tilt of his sunglasses.

As I stood up I noticed a crumpled up paper cup on the ground next to the hole, “Wells, you need to learn how to aim.” I said, “What are you talking about?” Wells asked while taking a sip of his coffee. I picked the cup up with my gloved hand and un-crumpled it, “Utini Corp.” I said looking behind me to Skully, she nodded, “Doubleaye, can you tell Jayne to search the trash bins in the area of the banks she is investigating? I think we have some damning evidence here.” Skully said, “On it!” Doubleaye said as he picked up his radio and called Jayne. “Now we get to go to the lab.” I said holding up the cup in a plastic bag.

Agent Ritter 1:30 PM TH Division Laboratory, Twin Hills, AZ

Serenity was sitting next to her terrarium where she was feeding Skuttles, the monster potato. “Looks like it hasn’t grown much.” I said, “Yeah, without the soil, there isn’t a catalyst for absorption and growth. It’s just living like it would otherwise now.” “And that is…?” I questioned, “I’m not really sure, I guess however a human potato would. So you have some evidence for me to analyze?” Serenity asked, “Yes, it might seem rudimentary for you but I have fingerprints that need matching.” I said.

I pulled out three separate plastic bags that each contained a crumpled up paper cup with the Utini label on the side. Serenity put on a set of rubber gloves and carefully pressed each cup back into its original shape. “This process will take a little as we will have to match the fingerprints, assuming the culprits weren’t smart enough to wear gloves.” Serenity said, “If this isn’t enough can we do a DNA test?” I asked, “Certainly.”

We watched as Serenity pulled out a small container that had the word “Ninhydrin-X1020” and she sprayed each cup revealing a glowing hand print on all of them. “Well this was super easy.” I said crossing my arms, “I still have to analyze them, Ritter. It’s going to take a little while, so I suggest you go take a break or something. I know you’ve been scurrying around here since six AM.” Serenity responded with a twirl of her finger, I gave an unamused squint, “Ritter, just go have lunch or something. I will even do the DNA testing. Please just take a break or something, because you look frazzled.” I looked over to Skully who was nodding her head in agreement, “Serenity is right, you’re hands are dirty enough right now, lets go to The Guild.” the squint faded and a smile crept onto my face.

Agent Ritter 2:02 PM The Guild, Twin Hills, AZ

Skully, Wells and I walked through the front door of The Guild. Whatever their special was today smelled amazing, possibly like rotisserie chicken but with a few extra spices that I couldn’t pinpoint right off the bat. “Well, Ritter it looks like you can finally be prepared for your inevitable third guest.” Val gestured at Wells, who grunted in confusion, “I will get you a table for three, but it seats four, just in case.” she said winking at me, Skully nudged me with her elbow while pointing at Val, I rolled my eyes and gave the “after you” signal with my hands.

We were led to the tables closest to the bar, they were the same black wood with red fabric as the booths and had golden napkin dispensers with gold napkins inside on them. “So what will you be having to drink today?” Val asked, “A co..” “Three Peralta Bourbons on the rocks please.” Wells interrupted me, “Water also please.” I added with a smile and nod, “Okay, be back in a minute with those.” Val said turning away and walking to the bar.

“You seem stressed, Wells. To be honest, you haven’t said much all day long.” Skully said, “My nickname at HQ is Mercury “Quiet as a Mouse” Wells, so my behavior shouldn’t be a shock to you novices.” Wells replied with a grimace, “You ordered us three bourbons, what is the deal?” Skully asked, “No, I ordered myself three bourbons. But I guess I owe you each a drink for helping me with my case today.” “It’s actually our case.” I replied pointing to Skully and myself, “Well now it’s our case since you decided to tag along.” “Just take the free drink.” Skully said under her breath shouldering me.

Val walked back and placed three fancy glasses with whiskey and ice spheres in each of them, “Thank you.” we all said out of synchronization; Wells saying it out loud felt weird to hear. “So what are you hungry for today?” Val asked with a cocked eyebrow and her pad out, “I think I want the special.” I said, “Oh, the Brick Wall Rotisserie Chicken? It comes with a roasted bulb of garlic and a side of seasonal veggies.” “Wait, are these veggies from Old Bruce’s farm?” I asked, “No, hes still rebuilding after that terrible freak fire incident.” Val replied, “Two more of those, then!” Wells said holding up his fingers, Skully looked at him questioningly, Wells patted his chest with both hands. “I will get the Prehysteria Burger, double patty this time.” Skully added.

After Val left for the second time we took a moment to sip our bourbon. “So what do we do next if the prints and DNA don’t match?” Skully asked, “Maybe we hand it back over to the police. If this is just a regular case then I’m sure they can handle it.” I responded, “We still need to figure out what kind of technology is being used to get into the vaults, its not a standard technique these guys are using.” Skully responded, I nodded, “Yeah, I know. Wells, whats bugging you?” I said as my eyes flicked to Wells who just had another pull of his bourbon, “Nothing anymore, I’m drunk as a skunk.” he said flatly, “You’ve had literally two sips of your drink, the alcohol has been in your system for less than forty-five seconds.” Skully said, “Its an efficient system.” he said smiling back. “So what was bothering you?” I asked, “We’ve been on a simple case for more than a few hours, this should have been solved by now.” “Heists aren’t simple cases.” Skully chimed, “For you.” Wells said taking another sip.

The front door rang and I looked back to see Sheriff Jayne and Deputy Doubleaye walk through and look around until Doubleaye saw us, tapped Jayne’s shoulder and they both walked over. “To what do we owe the pleasure?” I asked, “There’s been another sighting of the culprit.” Jayne said. “Any word on Lambic?” I asked, “He is at Utini Corp, I went there personally.” Jayne replied, “Where was he sighted?” “Tarschmuck’s Coffee. About an hour ago.” she said.

Val walked up with our food and placed the plates down in front of us, “Anything else I can grab for you?” “No, I think we are good.” I replied looking up at Doubleaye and Jayne. Val then grabbed a chair from an unoccupied table and handed it to Doubleaye, “Oh, hey thanks!” he replied and sat down next to the right of Wells, Jayne sat on the other side of Wells across from me. “Do you need menus?” Val asked, “No thanks.” Jayne said, Val nodded and headed back to the front to help new patrons who just walked in.

Doubleaye looked at the two plates of chicken in front of Wells, “You must be hungry.” he said, “Back off Deputy Double Oh-Seven. Jayne can have some if she wants.” Wells said with a mouthful of chicken, “No thanks, I’m a vegetarian.” she replied with a disgusted look that was more aimed at the way Wells was eating rather than what was on the plate.

I thought for a moment before speaking, “So its clear the culprit likes coffee. We can create perimeters around the city that are close to coffee shops. We take shifts and bring in the police to help us. I believe there are eight known coffee shops in this city, two of which are Tarschmuck’s.” I looked around to make sure everyone was paying attention, “We can create a choke point to corral this guy, we don’t know what kind of technology he has so it would be dangerous for a face to face confrontation. Whatever he uses to get into safes could be used as a weapon. Skully and I can start at the Northern side, Wells go to the coffee shops on the West. Jayne, can you call for a couple more deputies to help get the South and East? If we stay diligent we should be able to get this guy within the week.” I said while emphasizing with my hands. “Why don’t we just ask that guy?” Wells said pointing to the bar, and everyone froze to look at Wells who was chowing down on his roasted garlic sans fork. I looked over to the bar to see a man with a completely bald head and a beard the size of a raccoon. He wore pale blue scrubs and walking shoes. “How long has he been here Wells?” I whispered, “Twenty minutes.”

I stood to walk towards the bar. The man sitting there looked over and smiled. I turned to see the full table minus the feasting Wells glaring at the man. I carefully walked over with a half smile, “Hello there.” I said looking down at his clean hands but thought better of it. “Good day sir. Can I help you?” he replied, “Dr. Lambic?” I asked, “Oh, no. I am related however. I was told to come and get some coffee for my family before we unveil the greatest project known to humanity.” “And what project is that?” I asked, “The Cellular Laboratory Osmotic Neo-Entity or C.L.O.N.E. project.” he responded, “So, C.L.O.N.E. stands for clone basically?” I asked, “In a nutshell, we just needed a name for it for licensing purposes.” I blinked then looked over to my table who were still staring. “We are going to have to ask you about some happenings in this town if you don’t mind coming with us?” I said diplomatically. “Oh yes, I have heard we were going to give the money back that we stole. The doctor said we had some aberrations in the structure of our cloned brains that need fixing. I believe this is why I don’t even remember doing it.” “What do I call you if you aren’t Lambic officially?” “Two-Point Oh is what they call me.” he said sticking out his hand, I took it and was relieved to know it was clean, then he coughed on my face, “Couagh, Sorry, I haven’t had my coffee yet.”

Agent Ritter 3:10 PM Utini Corp HQ, Twin Hills, AZ

We took Two Point Oh with us, Jayne and Doubleaye trailed behind in the Sheriff’s Cruiser. After parking across the street we walked in to meet K. Anni at the front desk. “If it isn’t my favorite agents coming to wreck the day.” She said cheerfully, “You can’t possibly be here to see Dr. Lambic since he’s standing right next to you.” “Actually we are, this is Two Point Oh, a clone of Lambic’s. We are here to talk about his involvement in a secret project he’s been working on. Apparently there is some money that is to be returned to the banks.” I said, and Two Point Oh nodded with a smile. K. Anni looked at us while she picked up the receiver and dialed a few digits, “Hello, is this Dr. Lambic? Um, you have some guests at the front. One of them might be related to you? Oh okay, I will send them up.” she said putting the phone back down, “Cliff, please take them to Dr. Lambic.” she said, Cliff walked over glaring at Wells, “Too many, the cops and skinny jerk can wait in the lobby.” he said, Wells glared back, Jayne and Doubleaye agreed and walked over to the benches near the front.

Cliff led us back to the elevator to go to Lambic’s laboratory. On the trip up he waved at Skully. After getting out we walked to the middle to meet him and Dr. Jim. “I’m glad you finally found him and brought him back!” Lambic said, “I got you a coffee with cream and a little sugar like you asked, sorry Jim he didn’t tell me you were here.” “That’s okay.” Jim replied. “Two Point Oh, I didn’t send you to get me anything. You have escaped too many times now. I thought you were going to be the one I could count on.” Lambic chided, “What do you mean?” Two Point Oh asked, “I had to destroy Three and Four. They started getting violent.” he said putting his hands on Two Point Oh’s shoulders. “These memory lapses are getting worse and worse. I have no idea how you keep getting out!” “But I…” Two Point Oh started, “Hold on, we can hold him if hes getting out of control.” Skully said, “Our facilities haven’t been breached yet and we can have our labs working together to see what this phenomenon is that is affecting his brain.” she continued. “I’m afraid it’s not that simple, I need to start from scratch. I have been making test subjects every day and I have to scrap them. This isn’t worth the effort.” Lambic said. “Then we will just take him.” Skully said grabbing Two Point Oh’s arm and pulling him towards us.

Lambic rubbed his temples and focused on Skully, “His brain is going to degenerate soon, we have maybe three hours based on the results of the other two.” “Wait, if Two was created before Three and Four, why is he the last one to experience this degeneration?” Skully asked. Two stepped over, “Dr. Lambic has had problems in the past with subjects being outright violent from time of consciousness, One Point Oh had to be scrapped and so did Five Point Oh. I have vague memories of One Point Oh as the map of my brain gives me a foggy memory. He attacked Dr. Lambic right as he woke, but again, the rest is foggy.” “I had to incinerate One, Three, Four and Five. With every incarnation comes a variant in cognitive function.” Lambic said.

I saw Skully glaring at Lambic, she didn’t believe him and neither did I. “So what tool did they steal to get through layers of concrete and steel like butter?” she asked coldly, “Oh, the Disintegrating Omni-Operational Decelerator Actuation Device or D.O.O.D.A.D. is an invention of mine that got only enough funding for a couple prototypes. They have been safely stored away so the clones can no longer get to them.” he said pointing to a heavily armored case with a couple of forearm length silver devices within. “You said clones, I thought Two was the only one left. Are there more?” Skully prodded, “What, heavens no. Must have been a slip of the tongue.” Lambic said with a smile and shrug. My phone buzzed and I pulled it out to read the text from Serenity, “Three different sets of prints, two belong to unknowns and one belongs to Lambic. But all three have the same DNA.” I showed it to Skully, “What is going on?” Lambic asked with a questioning smile, “They just came out with the first story accurate video game movie.” “You’re lying.” “So are you, I’m going to need you to come with us.” Skully said.

Lambic lept back whipping out a silver object and pointing it at us. Skully, Jim, Cliff and I all froze knowing this was his D.O.O.D.A.D., “We can talk about this Dr. Lambic.” Skully said, “No, we can’t. My lab has been getting shut down piece by piece for the last six months. This research needs to be finished, I can save everyone we know from the diseases that plague them.” “What do you mean, Lambic?” I asked, “Do you want to see what I’ve been working on? Maybe then we can talk about continuing the research?” he said with a shrug, “Okay, lets see what you have. We can’t go anywhere with that thing pointed at us though.” I gestured to Lambic’s D.O.O.D.A.D. “I see,” he said putting it down, “follow me.”

Lambic walked us all back to the elevator, “Isn’t this too many people?” I asked, “No, I just hate the skinny guy.” Cliff said. After getting in Lambic pushed past Cliff and pulled out his ID card to swipe it, when he did so the floor level panel expanded downward revealing five sub levels, he clicked sub level one. Skully and I exchanged glances, this place had five secret levels, let alone the ones where the black soil originated.

When the doors opened we walked into sub level one. It was another basic lab structure like level two, but with one difference, there were windows on the left wall that seemed to look down into a deep set room. “Take a look.” Lambic gestured with his D.O.O.D.A.D. We walked over and looked down to see a hundred black bags roughly human shaped on the ground. “You took us to see your murder collection? I don’t think this is what you show people when you want to look benevolent.” Skully said, “No, they are clones who didn’t survive the process.” “Why would you keep a hundred dead copies of yourself when you had live ones?” Skully asked, “They aren’t copies of me, they are copies of people from this city.” Lambic replied, “Where did you get their DNA?” I asked, “Some donors, and the rest of the DNA I pulled off of cold hard cash.” everyone but Lambic cringed. “So that’s why you stole the money?” “Precisely, if I could extract even the most trace amount DNA from the money I could create copies that would be close enough for donors. I just fill in the rest of the DNA strands with substitutes.” Lambic said putting down the device again.

“This is noble of you to try and save the world, but don’t you think you are going about it all wrong?” Skully asked, “I had no funding left, I was just going to pay back the money I used to keep the operation going and that would be that.” he said, “But what about me?” Two asked, “Am I to be destroyed like Three and Four?” “No, I am sorry I lied to you Two. I had to do some convincing with them to even agree to help me with getting the money. Unfortunately you were going to be the patsy on this until the agents arrived. Three and Four outlived their usefulness, and I honestly don’t know how stable they would continue to be as they were test subjects as well. But since it looks as though I will be able to continue my research it won’t be necessary to destroy you at this point.” he said with a smile.

Lambic put his weapon away and walked carefully over to Two, “I am sorry for the pain I caused…” fwip bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! “I’m not.” a voice said from behind as Wells walked up holding two devices in his hands. I checked my belt and realized my specialized stun guns were missing. Wells strolled over , “Sorry bub, you’ve got at least two counts of clone murder on your hands, which has to be worth at least one normal people murder. You’re coming with us.” He said, “Pick him up Cliff. We got work to do.” Wells continued, Cliff looked over to Skully and I with a raised eyebrow. “How long have you been following us and how did you get through security?” I asked, “A magician never reveals his secrets but is a master of showmanship, I had to wait for him to say the right thing before striking.” “You waited for him to admit to murder before getting him, clever.” Skully said, “What? No, it was when he said the pain I caused, that’s when I struck. It was cool as shit.” Wells said cleaning his sunglasses with a gold napkin.

Agent Ritter 5:30 PM Twin Hills Division HQ, Twin Hills, AZ

We went to Skully and I’s office and with the help of Two Point Oh we filled out our reports, all before dinner for once. “What do you plan to do now that you no longer have to be kept in a lab?” Skully asked, “I have always wanted to own a bar where people can relax and play games.” “That sounds lovely, here take this.” Skully said handing Two a wad of cash to my astonishment, “But Skully, this is evidence.” “No, this is my money that I am gifting to you. I don’t do this job for the money. I’ve had several jobs, some of which I still dabble in from time to time. Just call this play money.” she smiled and Two shed a tear, “Thank you.” “Just don’t let me down, I want the best damn bar this town has ever seen.” she said, Two nodded and headed through the door with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

As I started looking back at my desk Serenity walked through the door. “Hello Ritter.” she said cheerfully, “I grabbed those D.O.O.D.A.D.s from Lambics lab. He is quite the genius, I will work on reverse engineering those machines to see how they work.” “That’s great news. I would be careful though, based on the fact that they have dabbled with extraterrestrial technology before I wouldn’t doubt there was some in those little machines.” I said, “Noted. All is well for now though. Call me if you need anything else, tata!” she responded waving at me and heading out.

Jayne walked through the door to my desk, “Transport of the bodies has been initiated.” “That’s good, do the city morgues have enough room for copies of a large percentage of Twin Hills?” I asked, “Probably not, but that’s where they need to go for now.” she said, “So what are you doing with Dr. Lambic?” she asked, “We need to process him like anyone else, in time we might be able to get him back to work but Wells is right,” Jayne’s eyes bulged, “what Dr. Lambic did was murder and needs to be processed as such.” I continued.

Wells popped around the corner of a door not wearing his jacket, “Did you hear? He killed at least FOUR clones, this case just turned into a double homicide!” he exclaimed then disappeared from the doorway. Our distracted vision focused back on the tasks at hand, “Anyways, we will have to do more investigative work in the future as we found out there are at least four more levels of Utini Corp that are kept secret.” I said to Jayne, “Okay, I will stay vigilant as well.” she said walking back out the door. I looked back down to my desk as though I may have forgotten something.

Thump! A large bottle of hand sanitizer was plopped onto my desk, “Skully says you’ve got a problem.” a statuesque woman said. I looked up and it was Director Squee in a solid black form fitting dress suit. She gently put her hand out palm up. I looked up questioningly at her then started to reach for it, “Ahem…” she said looking at the written report on my desk, “Yes, here you go.” I said, handing her the report, “I also emailed it to you. If you have any questions feel free to text or call anytime.” “Will do. ” she said then walked back out the door. I continued to watch the entrance in case anyone else decided to pop in. “Distracted?” Skully asked, “No, just making sure I don’t get distracted anymore. We finally have a case that finished before six PM, that’s reason to celebrate.” I said, “Good point.” “So since we were on the subject of it, are you going to tell me what these other jobs of your are?” I asked, “Two and I were on the subject of it. I will tell you later about it.” she said standing up and gesturing to the door, “To The Guild then?” she continued, “Sure, should we get a table for three?” “Only if Two shows up, but then we might need a table for four.” “I don’t think he needs a table anymore.” Skully said, “You’re dark.” I said, Skully looked at her black and bright pink attire, “Somewhat.”