Messing up in Miami
Played on May 19th, 2013
October 16th, 2010
Larry reported our findings so far to Cell A. The return message asked us to destroy the original book, and to visit Florida and check on Emile Tumlinson. The other mathgeeks in the United States would be handled by other cells. While contemplating this we were mailed our flight tickets to Miami.
While travelling I read up on Tyson Foods, the employer of Tumlinson as a chemist. Apparently they made frozen meals with fish in them. When we arrived in Miami we quickly drove towards the suburbs and pulled up before the middle-class house. Nobody opened when we rang, and the front and back doors were closed. Before I could stop them, Blue had sneaked inside through an open window, after which he opened the front door and let us in.
We weren't exactly quiet but nobody had reacted to our noise, so I figured nobody was home. I was therefore surprised that there was somebody at home, a lady in her fifties, working behind a PC. Next to her was a shotgun, but she didn't look like a threat. She looked tired, with a haggard face and rings under her eyes. She only looked up when Blue asked her name when he was right next to her, and asked with a manic voice: "What is the answer?" Blue knew his classics and replied "42". That triggered her to reach for the gun, and a small scuffle broke out.
Having gone through a lot of stress, I went a bit ballistic and asked her what the actual fuck she was doing, and what Blue was doing. I don't think I helped at all, and Blue wrestled her down to the ground. She suddenly went very still, and red stains appeared on the carpet next to her. We discovered that she had pulled a small knife and fell on it, instantly killing herself. I screamed and yelled and lost it totally. The rest was very calm while I frantically tried to reach 911, maybe she could be saved! Ed stopped me by saying that we'd better call a "friendly". Blue called Cell A to arrange this, but they responded with "Eliminate the vector." I couldn't believe my ears, and called 911 again and told them where we were.
We then fled the premises, leaving the shotgun and knife while Grace dragged the PC along. We just reached the car and drove away when the ambulance and some police cars appeared. In the car I was still freaking out and Grace tried to calm me, which helped a lot.
That evening we tried to arrange tickets to Brussels, but Cell A ordered us to clean up the crime scene and our mess. The rest then started to go to Timlinson's place, so I volunteered to stay behind and check the PC. They wouldn't allow it, saying it was dangerous. I got angry and Blue supported me, but to no avail. Despondently I went along with them.
Back at the crime scene, it was clear that the Miami Police Dept. had taken control of the situation. Larry tried to flash his badge and force entry, but the cops would have none of it, captain Hank Johnson stopped us. We called his superior and he didn't accede either. We tried some other persuasion tricks but in the end we had to go home.
October 17th, 2010
I had trouble falling asleep but once I did, my rest was undisturbed. During breakfast we received a search warrant and access to the crime scene, so that was our first stop. In the car I heard that Larry would have to stop using his Secret Service ID as it had been flagged. Bummer.
At the crime scene we were greeted by another cop. This woman took a look at our warrant and gave us access. She said the crime was probably murder with robbery. We combed through the premises, trying to erase anything that might lead to us while trying to pick up clues. The knife had been removed, but the shotgun was still there. It had been dusted, just like the keyboard and some other things.
At the computer desk, we noticed a bunch of photos of kids on the cork board. In the waste bin there were photos as well, but they had been torn up. After some analysis, I determined they had been torn up recently, 12-36 hours ago. There were 14 photos on the board, and 17 in the bin. All of them were kids' protraits, except one torn one, who had the distinct look of a teacher. They had been taken at elementary school Lewis & Clark, sixth grade. L&C was right around the corner.
Apart from this there were a lot of books on chemistry and math, and notes all over the place. I poured over them and sure enough they concerned The Number. I quickly made some calculations and with some graph theory I determined her calculations would return 14 distinct sets of numbers. 14 numbers, 14 kids, that could not be a coincidence. Caught up in the moment, I started to follow her notes but the rest of the group stopped me. I resented their stubborn nearsightedness we needed to know why these kids were important and what would happen to them! In the ensuing discussion I ran my mouth and revealed that I had more backups of Wei's notes on my private server... In the end I could not pursue my calculations and my final backups were erased as well. Perhaps it was for the better. The old woman's behaviour had shocked me, and the notes were probably dangerous. But every time get caught up in my curiousity and the tempting numbers...
Larry, Ed and Blue were quietly going through the house after that, making sure there were no more clues pointing towards us. Ed even planted some of Tumlinson's fingerprints on the shotgun and convinced the MPD that they had missed them. In the meanwhile I chatted a bit with the female cop and her colleague, using another dialect and tone of voice. One of their leads were my calls to 911 and I hoped to misdirect them. All in all, I think we cleaned up most of the mess we created.
I went to bed early as we had to catch an early flight to Brussels the next day.