Croonford Detective Case 23: The Truth Revealed?
Author's note: This concludes the mystery here. I also misspelled cryopods in that story.
Story can also be found here.
At the Summers' residence, Michelle Summers was trying to sleep in the baking hot weather even with conditioning on. As she turned over to one side, a dream enveloped her mind. She dreamt she was lying back down on some medical table definitely secured to it by unknown restraints. She knew she couldn't speak but her sense out touch was numbed. The aliens, or alien-like figures hovered her...
Chelle blinked, snapping out of the nightmare. She tried to relax by drinking water and decided to wash her face. She suddenly stopped at her underwear drawer and opened it. Most were there except the pair that was removed, yes removed from her from that mysterious capture. I want this mystery solved, she thought.
With the sun still blazing down, Chelle walked to school and caught up with her close friend and fellow girl detective Chan Lin Ling.
"How's the family? Must be a shock to learn that your parents worked as spies, I mean in the intelligence service." Lin asked.
"Yeah, kind of expected. Solves the mystery why Dad kept on buying presents for Kate and myself from overseas yet won't tell us where he travels to. And mum herself never really talked about her work. It's over, well I hear Dad and his colleagues may face the ISC but nothing damming." She meant the Intelligence and Security Committee.
"You were stunned by those students, was it like the way the Cat girl stunned you previously?" Lin asked.
"Now you mention it, it's almost like. But that Madame Redmond or who every she is you previously now under interrogation by the authorities."
Lin removed her sunglass and tried to carry on the topic but Chelle's parents told her not to spread the news. "Say, I hear you went swimming with Reinhard while I was nearly eaten up by piranhas in Poland," the shorter teen remarked.
"Yeah, just swimming."
"Yes. No, we changed out in separate corners after receiving your message. Why?"
"Are you going to date him?" Just as Chelle remarked that the pair spotted a figure approaching them for the next lane. "Hi, girls," Reinhard Tomas, greeted. The girls return the greeting and he explained due the scorching weather, the school allowed all boys to wear shorts, not just the Year 8s. Outside school, boys could go without their ties, explaining how he was dress. The trio discussed nothing of importance with Reinhard complimenting Lin's sunglasses. The girls let him walked forward then Chelle blurted to her taller friend, "Are you falling in love with him?"
Hot weather or not, all students still had studies to focus though the teen detectives managed to gather at lunch break. After taking a large slurp of her iced coffee, Chelle recalled her dream and declared their new case.
"Nearly forgot about this one. You nearly got killed...I mean I don't know what I could immediately think what you were going through in that tank, that cryopod," Lin remarked. The others knew what happened previously but she quickly summarised what happened covering the sudden limo man giving her the location of the buried chamber, her failing down, finding the room with cryopods and how she barely managed to get Chelle out before it blew up.
"Cryopods...cryonics, isn't that the act of freezing of human remains with the hope of getting resurrected in the future?" Reinhard wondered.
"Oh yeah, that's correct," the team's first gadget creator smiled.
"So, I was going to be killed and my body kept chilled and return in the next life?!" Chelle gasped.
"That we shouldn't jump to," Lin tried to calm her down. "There still that farm with the mutated cattle, the flying objects," she preferred not to say UFO, "and the sudden lost in time."
"Lots of unknowns," Mark Cadvish, Chell's boyfriend with a funny surname and school rugby player remarked. "We need something ..."
"Concrete." Lin finished his sentence. "We should return to that farm." The school bell broke up their discussion and as Lin got up, she heard a soft 'damn' coming from the short science whizz. "My English teacher gave me a '5' for my latest English essay. I thought I structured it so well," he groaned.
After Lin saw a copy of his essay, she did kindly say there were structures that could be improved and spotted a few grammar mistakes. "Would you like to meet up for some coaching on essay writing?"
Reinhard looked into her eyes then answered. "Well, uh, I'll consider it. Will be discussing it with my teacher and other classmates." As they went their own ways, he wondered if she had any underlying intentions with that offer.
The teen detectives’ plans were put on hold due to school work, their school club activities and the weather. One night, Chelle adjusted her room air-con to the right temperature and dozed off. Suddenly, the same dream clouded her mind with her strapped down on the examination table and still unable to talk. Suddenly, those strange figures hovered over her, they were in alien, they looked like aliens!
"No one knows what aliens look like Chelle. Ok, assuming aliens abducted you, we can call strange creatures kidnapping you," Lin replied after hearing her fellow detective's dream.
"That's not helpful," came the gloomy reply.
"I know, sorry it's the science answer. I also made a mistake last; said time is a universal variant, I meant invariant and only the speed of light and charge are universal invariants. I'm confusing, yeah I want to know what caused the sudden time change and those flying objects."
"Can you recall exactly what you saw what I was like in that cryopod?"
Lin detailed the eerie figures inside each sudden cryopod which Chelle did look a bit like, the organic tube that was stuck inside her mouth and how after immediately after Lin administer the vaccine how those creatures or people burst out of the cryopods and everything around exploded.
"Were they creatures or people? What was that liquid feel like?"
"You know, we should consult the adults about this," Jenn add as they met up with her. "I mean Dr Gordon Holden who examined you." Chelle shuddered at the recollection of the medical test she went through but did agree that was another area to pursue.
"Why are you so engrossed with your phone?" Lin asked the shorter girl detective.
"Debate competitions results. That Richard Weaver and his team is topping all the regional debate teams and he's always best speaker. I'm so going to thrash that guy."
Lin nodded and noticed Reinhard also staring at his phone and several school-issued foolscap papers. After updating him with their latest plans, she queried him about his essay. "Well, my teacher just offered me extra English classes or simply buck up. "Well, what about my offer? I need some help with my business studies and heard your scored pretty well in yours. What about a trade?"
He raised his eyes, "Ok, where, school study area here after school?"
"No, I was thinking outside, food first..."
Reinhard started listing some places when sudden Lin said her own place. "I cook dinner then we study?"
He nearly fell down in surprise. "Uh, ok." That resulted in her texting him her address.
"She's inviting me to her place?!" Reinhard pulled Mark over to a corner during the next break. "Is it a date?!"
"Calm down, well how exactly look like – as in facial features – when she asked?" After hearing the answer, Mark patted him, "Just stand tall and ask if you're unsure."
"But what do I wear? What should I bring?"
After school, the five of them braced the scorching weather to head to the local hospital. Despite having a busy schedule, Dr. Gordon Holden met the teen detectives having known Jenn and having treated Chelle.
"It's best you consult our senior lab examiner," he started slipping an ID card which opened double doors. Each teen was given a dust-free lab coat before they met Mindy Patel, a high-flying Anglo-Indian researcher. "Hello, I did find a trace of an unknown liquid in a sixth test of your blood sample," the bespectacled lady nodded at Chelle. They moved inside the camped research lab then heard her gasp.
"Wait, I just kept the sample here!" They heard her cry pointing at test tube rank with one empty test tube.
"But only you have the other access card to this lab," Dr. Holden protested and Mindy nodded stating she only went to the loo for a short while and refilled her water tumbler.
The police were called in led by the teen's ally, Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Nikki Heath. After swapping everyone and interviewing every nearby staff, the police also could not find any traces of a break-in or any usual fingerprints. After much questioning, the teen detectives were released early afternoon with Lin darting first out. "Hey, where're you off to?" Chelle called and heard some mumbling.
Lin in fact headed to the nearest supermarket to find a key ingredient - pork belly - for the dinner cum study later that evening. At the same time, Reinhard was in a gift shop pondering on the advice from Mark. Finally, he picked a box of Ferrero Rocher and rushed home to change. Promptly at 6pm, he reached Lin's house with a backpack, the chocolates and a heart pounding.
"Oh, that's so lovely!" She exclaimed, accepting the chocolates. While he was in dark blue jeans and short-sleeved light blue shirt, she wore a two-button lavender short-sleeved blouse and dark purple slacks. He noted she didn't put on any make up or done lipstick and his heart stopped throbbing fast.
"Sorry, I over cooked the pork belly," she remarked, introducing him Tau Yew Bak, or braised pork belly in soya sauce, a common dish in Malasia and Singapore. Reinhard was thankful she set fork and spoon and after trying on piece. "Really nice," he said politely although found it amazing. She introduced him to Choy Sum or caixim, Chinese flowering cabbage which she added lightly salted prawns and crunch peanuts. As they ate, they conversed and started learning about each other.
They were both single children with Lin's mother having fertility issues. Reinhard parents have separated and his dad was often out. He explained that his father did also have Spanish origins, explain his surname, Tomas.
They were of course both highly interested in science with both learning scientific knowledge at a very young age. Lin recounted as how she fought against bullies who teased her for reaching puberty fast and always being the prettiest girl in class.
Reinhard told her how he was teased for his short height but ignored it by exercising and thinking about science. Just as he reached to scoop another spoonful of Choy Sum on his plate, Lin's hand also touched the spoon simultaneously. "Whoops," they both remarked and he gave it to her. After learning more about each other, they finished eating, cleaned up and Lin proceeded to head to the study room. "Wait, Lin," Reinhard asked, "It's all study nothing else right?"
He looked at her face as she answered, "Sure, it's an evening of study."
As the pair helped each other with their different subjects, Chelle had already finished her dinner with her mother and sister and retreated to her room. After checking her homework was complete, she scanned the we then lay on her bed.
Suddenly, memories of her weird kidnapping came back. At first, she was back on the examination table with the weird figures towering over her. In the next scene, her eyes were blurred and again she deduced her whole body was numbed. Only after her a soft bang, she knew someone was reviving her. Despite being blinded and numbed, Chelle now recalled being carried and suddenly through her blurry eyes saw advancing figures.
"Sis? There's some extra carrot cake," Chelle's younger sister Catherine called and she mumbled a response before reaching for her phone.
It was close to 10pm when Reinhard and Lin finished their studies together. "I better return home in case my father suddenly returns and wonders where I've gone. Thanks for dinner and help with my English Essay."
"And thanks with helping me with my business course and the chocolates," came her reply. They shook hands with Lin initially expecting a hug. Mission accomplished though, she thought.
The team all received Chelle's message and only Lin and Jenn managed to join her at the cattle farm. The owner Richard Stewart initially mentioned he was busy then with the look at their faces then answered.
"My cattle miraculously are fine; they suddenly show no signs of deformed body parts and are all healthy now." He opened a gate to show the girls the evidence. "Look, my cows are pregnant and those who gave birth are producing fine milk. Any other questions?"
Chelle asked about those weird aerial objects and the farmer replied he was too concern with his cattle most of the time. Lin then queried about the farmer's assistant and his eyes narrowed. "He left suddenly, not even leaving me a note. You lot know of any one wish to help a farmer?"
With not much to cover, trio decided to head to a site where the aerial objects were, with Jenn holding an umbrella shade them from the sun. "Where are those darn boys?" Chelle wondered.
Mark had finished meeting up with his rugby mates when he spotted Reinhard picked up some detergents from the convenience store across the road. As they head through a shaded path towards the local train station, a motorcyclist with his dark visor covered drover path, threw an object at the boys and sped away.
"Hey...." Mark picked it up finding a blank note.
"It's not blank," his classmate pointed.
"Where have you two been?" Chelle answered the group call started by Reinhard.
The boys explained what happened earlier and were in the detective's headquarters.
"It's a message that can only be read by UV light," Reinhard replied, explaining he just bought a UV flashlight. Lin excited congratulated him but Chelle quiet her down. He read it carefully and it revealed an address in Birmingham with the additional word 'Experiment'.
"We're going there!" Chelle declared.
"Wait, we should do it as a team!" Mark shouted but his girlfriend ended the call.
Jenn regrettably said she had debate practice but would alert the police. Lin and Chelle braced themselves against the heat as they reached the exact address in Birmingham. It was a shop house unlisted on the Internet. "That's too mysterious enough for me," Chelle remarked as she touched the door handle but cried. "No burns," she added and the pair saw that no doorbell so proceeded to walk behind. Lin spotted what she was a hatched the girls, without the need of their gadgets, managed to pull it open.
"Ready? Remember you're the one captured last time." As they enter, the surrounds immediately matched the eerie chamber that Lin was directed to last time. Just as she was about to mention that, she heard Chelle cry as the floor beneath her opened and the teen detective fell with a noise that sounded like a suction machine. Chelle fell and felt pulled but suddenly again felt here muscles numb and then everything went blank.
Meanwhile, Lin was about to rush over to the spot which opened when a metal frame slammed down in front of her, obviously blocking her path. She back, only for yet another metal frame lowered down, trapping her. As she looked at the two walls, one opened up and mechanical arms grabbed her. Shouting and struggling, she found herself in a small room and the arms threw her on the ground. Figures rushed over her and despite being a Taekwondo expert, she failed to fight back those figures and soon was restrained with cable ties, duct tape wrapped several times over her lips and head then soon she was wrapped in industrial plastic wrapped. As the figures disappeared, she thought she heard someone muttered, "we don't want your kind."
Chelle regained her senses and found herself secured in handcuffs with chain securing her ankles to a ring in the floor and also the feeling of duct tape wrapped across her lips and head. At least I'm clothed this time, she thought. She immediately was beginning to have the uncanny feeling that she was somehow not alone in the extremely dark room she was now in. A faint movement confirmed that and as her eyes adjusted better to the dim light, Chelle could see the outlines of a figure against the wall opposite her. The figure moved slowly and there was a small patch of light revealing another girl who was also chained up. The other girl's mouth was free but her teeth chattered uncontrollably in the cold air. A translucent nightgown was all that she was clothed in. Her knickers were visible and it appeared wet. How long had this poor girl been there?
'H… Hullo. I … I g-guess you're Michelle?' I'm Frances."
Michelle was surprised to hear her name and tried to reply but the gag turned her reply into 'mmmphs'.
"They mentioned your name - those masked figures. Yeah, they looked like aliens but I'm guessing their human underneath,' the girl said. '"One night I was sleeping the next moment I felt numb and here I am."
Chelle felt the tape over her lips somehow tighten but managed to get her query across.
"No, I haven't a clue. They hardly come by and only give me water and look how let me sit in my pee!"
The girl, Chelle judged was either age or a year younger tried to laugh but only shivered against the room's low temperature. Chelle then recalled the usual gadgets she had and struggled against the fetter but failed to find any. They must have taken them. Lin's going to be angry.
"It won't do any good, these cuffs are invincible." France assumed Chelle was trying to break free." I envy that you’re clothed even in summer wear. I don't want to freeze to death."
Meanwhile, Lin was struggling wildly in the cocoon she was wrapped in. She as well was trying to reach the gadgets she also had on but the restraints and wrappings restricted the movement of her arms and fingers. What was worse was the summer's heat was seeping into the place she was trapped in, making it even more uncomfortable.
"What do you mean you can't get there!" Jenn cried and explained using the evidence she had to DCI Heath.
"Jenn, it's not its weak evidence or I don't have restrictive jurisdiction," Nikki replied. She told the team she had long-term conflict with the detective and police force in that area of Birmingham though was trying to get officers to join her.
"Hurry! Chelle might be in danger!"
The boys finally reached the shop house after a train delay and broke through the front door with both their brute strength. in front of them was a narrow corridor with rooms at every side facing each other like in hotel.
"Where to..." Suddenly there was a muffled noise coming from
"What's..." Mark began.
"It's Lin! I've heard her cry like that before!" Reinhard answered and they rush forward. With Mark's strength and the laser pen, the broken through the door and found the wrapped up East Asian girl. "Hu..rry!" She cried as the other team scientist slowly peeled off the gag. "Use your phone to find Chelle's signal!" Sweat was pouring down her face.
Mark tracked his girlfriend's to larger freezing room one floor below. Chelle and the other girl Frances were both strapped to medical examination tables and Frances was now tape gagged. There were IV drips standing next to the tables and several cryopods on the opposite wall. Six figures in wearing alien-like suits stood next to the tables and two of them neared Chelle, attempting to undress her.
"No!" Cried Mark, tackling the nearest figure in a ferocious tackle. But with six of them, he was heavily outnumbered and all turned to attack him. Thankfully, Reinhard appeared quickly with a dishevelled-looking Lin behind. All three teen detectives attacked all the suited figures and as Lin held one down, she heard a Brummie accent. "Who the hell are you?" She yelled as she found a zip and pulling it, it revealed a male underneath.
"All right, we're here," they heard the familiar voice of DCI Heath with some West Midlands police officers behind along with Jenn. "Get those two girls free and pointing and the 'aliens', "you're all under arrest."
Days later, the teen detectives gathered at a cafe which just installed air-conditioning.
"Climate change terrorists..." Jenn started.
"Yeah, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion. They were attempting to freeze people as they believe the earth is ending and keeping specimens for the next age." Lin laughed. She was dressed in a one shoulder light purple top with a jean skirt with Reinhard secretly admiring her. Lin continued, stating these extremists first secretly tested their drug on the cows at that farm, causing the deformity. That cattle assistant, Mike Travers, was in cahoots with them and police found and arrested him. This group invented those stealthy unmanned aerial vehicles, preventing the military and civil aviation authorities from discovering them. They used some magnetic device to alter time, explaining why the minute hand on Chelle's watch jumped. They created a suction machine along with an invisible and painless stun dart which explained how Chelle was pulled and numbed quickly.
The lab assistant was paid to pass the vaccine sample to one of the organisation’s members and was cooperating with the police, hoping not to get jailed. Police across the UK were conducting raids to find other organisation members and that individual who passed Reinhard and Mark the message was still at large. The police suspected he was linked to the man in the limo who passed Lin the location of the chamber.
"Wow, climate change people with high tech gear," Reinhard remarked. "I would like to check out they're devices and invent stuff like that."
"Well, those arrested still haven't explained why they chose me and that girl Frances to be frozen. And some one must be funding all their technology. And there's still that stunning, reminds me of Madame Richmond and the Cat, how we girls were also stunned," Chelle added. "Man, this iced coffee sucks."
"Take you some place for a meal?" Her boyfriend suggested. "Join us?" Jenn remarked she had to meet someone, leaving Reinhard and Lin by themselves.
"The coffee isn't great. Want tea? I see they sell iced green tea," Lin got up but he waved her down, remembering the nice dinner she cooked.
"I’ll get it and pay," he smiled.
Michelle, Lin Ling, Jennifer, Mark and Reinhard will return in 'To Paradise'.