Motive Unknown - Political Fall

Episode 4 February 25, 2023 00:19:16
Motive Unknown - Political Fall
Motive Unknown
Motive Unknown - Political Fall

Feb 25 2023 | 00:19:16


Show Notes

Detective Reyne follows up on the most recent murder victim: a Politician, one who broke from the norms of Etherax politics. Through investigation and discussion with the deceseaseds chief of staff, Reyne tries to get further into understanding just what this murderer is trying to do, while also wondering why he still continues to work on this impossible case

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Episode Transcript

Reyne: Well William, there’s been a fourth. Sorry, no real time for pleasantries right now, I have to get to the investigation scene quickly, this one’s actual police work. So far all I know is she was a politician of sorts, went by the moniker Cyndi S. Haven’t even had time to research, just got out of bed. I’ll be back with more later, once I’ve gathered myself. See you in a bit. Reyne: Well, it’s what I thought. Same style of murder, carried out late at night. No sign of any robbery or a severe struggle, though her clothes were a bit rumpled and messed up. From what we can tell, another late night worker found the body pretty shortly after the victim died. Still within the district, still no signs of external motivation, and no nearby signs of gang or corp involvement. I’m starting to sound like a broken record here. Not that any of the other detectives are doing any work. If there’s no payout, why bother? Just another death in a city full of em. I know I haven’t exactly been a font of optimism and cheeriness, but I gotta say it’s been…interesting seeing people's reactions to these deaths up close. Terik no one really cared about, sure, but Debrah was mourned. People cared about the fact that she was dead, people who regularly deal in death and murder. Even with Jet Fire, Risk at least seemed kinda annoyed that someone was dying and they didn’t know who had killed them. We don’t really do big funerals in Etherax at all, not even for the higher-ups. They’re handled privately, where others can’t attack them or try and take out family in one fell swoop. Suppose I just never thought that people who weren’t big names would be just as likely to mourn their own dead. Just figured people would accept that it happened and not give themselves the luxury. Didn’t even get the day off when my brother died. Or my mom. Counted myself lucky I got to even visit their grave within a week of the burial. Still don’t like working with Raylir after that. Caught them both in a bomb meant for a White Skull gang leader. Don’t think they even got him. But we’re not here to relive my family trauma now are we? No, we’re here to explore the very current murder of Ms.Cyndi. I spent some time looking her up after leaving the scene, to see if I could get a feel for what she was about, see if anything was hiding in there. It’s…it’s difficult with politicians. Technically, they are here and in charge of Etherax. We have a City Council and a mayor and all that, but no one really believes they have any power. All the power they have is in words, documents that none of us have seen in a long time. The corporations and the gangs outgun them, outspend them, and just ignore whatever they say. Cyndi here aimed to change that by the looks of things. She was outspoken about police corruption which, to her credit, is rampant. Talked about the big men playing with little people’s lives like they’re game pieces, disposable and replaceable. Said she wanted to take an aggressive stance against corporate overreach and the strength of the gangs, revoke licenses and trades and really utilize the laws. Least, that’s what she’s got on her website. She goes on to talk about health stuff and how corps are ruining the planet and our air, how the gangs and their drug trade is destroying lives. It’s…surprisingly honest. And dangerous. If not for the recent spate of killings, I would have assumed she got got by a corp or a gang, even with the weird method. Lord knows they have plenty of reasons. Checked with Risk, he said they had heard of her, but he didn’t know of any current hits out on her. I figure it might be worth talking to some of her campaign staff, to see if they have any ideas. At the very least, I can get a more complete picture of who this woman was. I’ll bring my mic with me, get a record that I can keep here. Let’s see what we got. Reyne: Hello, my name is Detective Derek Reyne, with the 8th Precinct, Homicide Unit. I’m here investigating the recent murder of Cyndi Salenca, better known as Cyndi S. This conversation will be recorded. Are you ok with that? Jane: Yes, that’s fine. Don’t know what you expect from me though. I’m surprised one of your kind is even here. Reyne: …Well, some of us like to do our due diligence. Though, I’ll admit, I can understand your trepidation. First off though, can I get a name and your role within Cyndi’s office? Jane: Jane, Jane Lorenz. I was Cyndi’s chief of staff for the past 5 years. Reyne: Ok Ms. Lorenz. I’m currently just trying to get a better picture of who Ms. Salenca was beyond what can be found on the net in regards to her policies and everything. Just as a start, what can you tell me about her? Jane: You think I’m just gonna talk to a cop about everything like that? For all I know, you’re gonna just use this to incriminate me for the murder. Reyne: Ms. Lorenz, I can understand you’re upset. Hell, I can understand why you don’t trust me as far as you could throw me, and I know exactly what people with this badge have done before. So, in the spirit of clarity, I’m going to share some information with you that may inspire you to help me. There have been three recent murders in the area, all done in the exact same method. I have reason to believe they have been carried out by the same person. If you can help me, I may be able to stop them. But to do that, I need more of an idea of who Cyndi Salenca was. Jane: …How do I know you’re telling the truth here? Reyne: You don’t, really, not unless you’ve heard of these murders before now. And if you’re not gonna talk, then I’ll just leave. But I’m telling you, person to person, there is something here beyond the normal corporate and gang bullshit going on, and I intend to find out what it is. Jane: Are you even allowed to be telling me all this? Reyne: Honestly, probably not. But, the department doesn’t really keep tabs on me that well, so who gives a shit. I’ll give them the parts of the recording I want to. Or I’ll just say you didn’t talk. Jane: Huh. Even cops’ll lie to cops. Reyne: It’s Etherax. We’re a city built on lies, might as well be good at using them. Jane: You’re not wrong there. Fine, I’ll talk. Cyndi was…something different in this city. A breath of fresh air as it were, dumb as that sounds. She cared about people, truly cared about them, not just what they could do for her. It’s what drew me to her in the first place. It’s easy to focus just on the bad in this city, see the corps and the gangs and the cops run rampant and do whatever they want while the little people get stomped on. She saw that, of course she did, but she could always find the good. She’d always tell this story how the first thing she ever did that got her into any sort of activism and politics was find a way to make sure that those who fell sick weren’t put on the streets when their jobs inevitably fired them. Organized a whole ring of houses that would let you stay there until you got better and could find your way into some other soul-sucking job that kept you alive. It was strange. It wasn’t just that she cared about other people, she could make you care. Make you realize that we’re all just people trying to get by, and that it’s worth trying to help people, even if it’s only helping them up from complete shit to kind of ok. Reyne: Sounds like a hell of a woman. I take it you knew her pretty well. Jane: She…she was a damn good leader. And a damn good friend. And now she’s dead. Not even in a blaze of glory, a martyr against the corruption and hatred or anything, just dead with a slit throat in a gutter. And you’re telling me she’s not the only one? Reyne: She’s not, no. I won’t go into it here in the offices right now as its a sensitive subject, but there have been 3 other similar cases. So, surprisingly enough, it doesn’t look like she was offed by a corporation or gang on a hit. Jane: But then…why? Reyne: That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I have some suspicions right now, but no real leads. Do you know of anyone who may have had a bad opinion of Cyndi, or that she may have wronged, who could’ve just gone off the deep end? Jane: Well, plenty of corporate stooges hated her, as did most of the police. Gangs kind of ignored her unless she specifically messed with them, which she wasn’t as focused on doing. As for personal hatreds…well, I guess there were some disgruntled staffers who had been let go for fund misappropriation but I doubt they’d start killing people. She was close with her family, the living ones anyway, and she didn’t have any old flames or anyone that would get jealous, least none that I know of. I can’t think of anyone personal that would be driven to do this. Reyne: Well, that certainly lines up with every other instance. Not a single clear suspect Jane: Aren’t there at least ID records? Surely you can track that. Reyne: ID scans of the area at the time of death don’t reveal anyone’s ID except for Ms. Salenca’s. Whoever killed her was capable of hiding their ID from scans. Not the hardest thing in the world, but certainly not the easiest either. Jane: So do you have anything to go off of? Reyne: Some things. And others are looking into it, even outside the police. But it’s certainly not an easy case. Jane: So why bother? I thought you cops didn’t care about the small people. I’ve certainly never seen any of you try to help us before in any real way. Reyne: Sometimes, something happens to wake you up to the fact that real people exist and deserve some sort of dignity and respect, and that just because you live in a shithole, you don’t need to act like you do. The department may not give a shit, but that doesn’t mean I have to be the same way. Jane: …You’re an odd one Detective. I shouldn’t but I trust you. You’re really gonna try and find her killer? Reyne: I’m gonna do my damndest. Here, if you happen to think of anything that might be helpful, give me a ring on this number. Any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could be the missing piece we need. If you need me in person, use this address. I’d rather not get the precinct too involved, or they’ll accuse me of wasting police time. I have some other business I need to take care of, so I’ll see myself out. Thank you for your help Ms. Lorenz, and I hope to hear from you again. Jane: Thank you, Detective Reyne. If I find anything or think of anything, I’ll let you know. Reyne: Didn’t manage to get anything done with the case since that interview. Chief had me filing a report over a recent corporate killing. Guy was found horribly burned with a Cydinar logo carved into his chest. Unclear if it was truly a Cydinar job or someone trying to make it look like one, but so far no bribes or other information has come in, so Cydinar hit it is. He has Epenza on the case, but I doubt it’ll really go anywhere unless a corp exec decides its time for it to. “No use in getting involved in their dealings, won’t help anyone.” Not that he would know if it would anyway. He’s never even tried. None of us have really. Y’know William, as far as I can remember, no one ever truly tried to rebel against the system. I’ve never chased any plucky underground rebel group like they show in the old vids, never seen any mass street protests. Maybe other cities have them, but certainly not here. Cyndi S there is one of the only people in recent memory that seemed to really believe that the world could be better, despite what it looks like now. Would’ve loved to have met her. Though odds are up until a week or two ago, I would’ve thought she was just a useless idealist and gone to go get high. Funny how a little time and murder can alter one’s perspectives Wait what’s…Oh, it’s a message from Ms. Lorenz, from earlier. Says she has additional information for me, can she meet me here…well, shit, I should probably clean up a bit, but I guess we’ve got some more work to do. Hang tight William, I'm sure you’ll be here for this conversation as well. Reyne: Ms. Lorenz, please come in. I hope you don’t mind but I have my recording equipment set up just to keep a log of everything. Is that ok? Jane: Yes detective, that’s fine. I assume this log will be kept for your personal case use? Reyne: Unless you suddenly reveal yourself as the mastermind behind the murders, then yes, this won’t be making it into the hands of the precinct or any reporters. Jane: Well, it’s a good thing I’m not then. I will say, I don’t have any magical case-solving information, at least I don’t think, but I was hoping I could give you a bit more on Cyndi. Maybe it’ll help, maybe it won’t, but you said any little bit so… Reyne: Well, it certainly won’t hurt. It’s always a good idea to get a solid profile of any victims. So, what else is there to say about Ms. Salenca? Jane: Well I guess we can start there actually. As you know, she went by Cyndi S in public as opposed to Salenca. I think some people thought she did it for security reasons, but it was never that. I’m sure you know, anyone in public office is registered under their actual name and easily findable, so there was never any thought of hiding. Reyne: That makes sense, it would hardly protect her from anything. So why did she then? Why not go by Salenca? Jane: There were two reasons. The first, more public one, was that having just an initial as opposed to a normal name, made her more recognizable and lended itself more to her iconoclastic image. The more private one relates to her family. Reyne: I thought you said she was on good terms with her family? Jane: She is, with the people she still calls family. Her brother, Francis, is a sanitation worker, and frequently helped with the campaign and everything. Her mother died a few years back, and she visited her while she was in intensive care. Her father though…do you know Randall Salenca? Reyne: I mean, it rings a slight bell but I can’t say I do. Who is he? Jane: He’s a higher up at Raylir. A very powerful man, who brought his family into the upper echelons of power, only for all of them to turn their back on him. He no longer considers them family, and it was the same for Cyndi. Reyne: They turned away from him and he didn’t kill them? Jane: It was…complicated from what I heard. I believe he tried once, and Cyndi’s mom, Roshelle, actually beat the attacker to death with a crowbar. They decided to live and let live after that. Cyndi would talk about that moment with pride. But, she didn’t want to use the Salenca name anymore, so she became Cyndi S. Reyne: But why not drop it entirely and switch to something without even the same initial? Jane: I think she wanted Randall to know that she was still there, that the family he had had turned against him so notably, even if he was the only one who knew it. That was the kind of person she was. A firebrand, never backing down, working to help everyone and staring down anyone who would try to stop her. And now…now she’s dead, and if what you said earlier is true, it wasn’t even for anything. Reyne: …It could be though. You said she didn’t die for anything. But that remains to be seen. You’re right that the killer likely wasn’t using her activist history as the motive. But the rest of you are still here, and from what you’ve told me, it sounds like she had a pretty strong effect on you, and I imagine there are others like you. Jane: Less than you might think. There were quite a few reactions that basically amounted to “well if she’s dead, it’s all dead, so let's just go home.” But there are some of us who really believed. Going forward without her though…how would you even know how any of this feels? You’re just a cop anyway. A better one than most but…what have you believed in? Reyne: There was a time I believed the world could be made better. Years in the force crushed that. It’s hard to live in this world, in this city, and think there’s hope. Hell, if you had asked me a week or two ago I probably would’ve just said she died for nothing, just like everyone else. But…I’m starting to realize that more people care about each other than they think. And someone like Cyndi saw that. So yes, her death was not the meaningful death she may have wished. But her life…well it looks like her life still meant something. Just cuz the ending is shit doesn’t meant nothing has worth in the story. Jane: Huh. So you’re a philosopher and a cop now? Reyne: Consider it a hobby. Look, I can’t say what Cyndi would want you to do, I never met her. But I don’t think she’d want you to just leave her fight behind. Cuz it’s not just hers. We’ve all been scarred by this world. Something tells me the killer is just as scarred as the rest of us, though a little less stable. But, that’s enough of me philosophizing and high horsing. I’m hardly a paragon of virtue. Took some people dying to even make me realize people still care about each other. Jane: Yeah…yeah, you’re right on that. She would want us to keep going. It was never just about her, or us, or any one person. It was about everyone. And, like you said, we’re all scarred. And we’re all still here. Whether we still care or not. So might as well try and do something good, no matter what happens. Reyne: It’s a good mindset to have. Better than a lot of ways to go through life…Was there anything else about the case that you wanted to discuss Ms. Lorenz? Jane: No detective, I think…I think that’s just about all of it. Would you mind if…do you think we could talk again at some point? Without the recording and all of this? Reyne: I think we could make that work. You have my number, so just…let me know. Get home safe, Ms. Lorenz. Jane: Thank you, Detective Reyne. I’ll be seeing you. Reyne: …Y’know, I think that’s gonna be the end of this one William. I’ll talk to you later. Goodnight.

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