tagNon-EroticThe Ensigns of Detection Ch. 04

The Ensigns of Detection Ch. 04

byWifeWatchman©

The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman's biography.

Feedback and
constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.


*****

Part 15 - Sources and Information

Tuesday, November 24th. Pizza was served at the noontime meeting in Classroom 'E'. Present were: myself, Chief Moynahan, Captain Cindy Ross, Lieutenant Tanya Perlman, Detectives Martin Nash, Diana Torres, Joanne Cummings, Theo Washington, and Teddy Parker.

We all told our stories of our interviews. I had to give the Chief a thorough briefing of who and what Elizabeth was, and why she was a 'person of interest' in this case due to her past history of industrial espionage and smuggling, which in my opinion distracted from the case at hand.

"So what is the thread running through all three of these cassssse-esssss?" asked the Chief. "What is the central theme here? What is the webbing that binds these cases?"

"I think we've managed to stumble into a deep rabbit hole on this one, Chief." I said. "Practically by accident, we're about to uncover several crimes, from fraud to industrial espionage... to murder. But to answer your question, Chief, the only real link is BigPharmaCorp itself." I said.

"What about that sto-len research drug?" asked the Chief. "Is that not central to all of this, as well as the arson fire at those apartments?"

"Right now, sir," I replied, "I see no connection between that and the late Michael Campbell Fulton. In fact, the only solid connection he has to the other cases, that we know about, is that his body was deposited on BigPharmaCorp property."

"Chief," said Martin Nash, "I've asked for a warrant to search Fulton's, a.k.a. Campbell's apartment. As soon as that comes in, I'll go do that, and it may shed some light on this case."

"Okay, okay," said the Chief. "Here's what I'm getting at: the Commander has a big whiteboard in that Mind Palace of his, and he can see these links. For the rest of us ordinary police officers, I suggest we use the real whiteboards. Who'd like to start?"

"I'll be glad to, sir." said Cindy, getting up and opening the whiteboards that were on the wall on the right side of the room, as one looked from the door. "How about we start with Robin Grayson?"

I did not fail to observe that she was well-prepared with photos, and I surmised that she and the Chief had 'conspired' to do these whiteboards, which were something I personally never did do all that much... the Chief was right in that I managed to do this in my head without really realizing it.

Cindy put up a photo of Dr. Robin Grayson on the top left corner of the whiteboard. "I don't want to get too much into the weeds of his sexual affairs," she said, as a direct warning to Nash to keep his mouth shut about Emma Washburn, "but we will have to speak of my darling cousin Elizabeth eventually."

She continued: "Suffice it for now that Grayson and Dr. Wilkins had something going on between them that affected not only their working relationship, but things at the company. Grayson also once did research on the refined drugs of which a sample was found in the apartment of James and Susan Douglas... an apartment that was subsequently and conveeeeniently destroyed by fire some days later."

Cindy put up pictures of the Douglases. "We don't have much on these guys. They're basically out-of-work losers, but except for a few pot busts they've stayed below the radars. They're the kind of people we know we have to be watching in order to find out anything on them. They have new lodgings at a duplex in the same area of the apartments the used to live in, but so far we've seen nothing from them."

"Next is Dr. Laramie Wilkins." said Cindy, putting his picture up. "Head of the Research Department, Grayson's boss. Had no seeming problems in his life, but suddenly up and decided to commit suicide, or so it was made to appear. Didn't like it that Grayson was having a sexual affair with someone, even went and told Mrs. Grayson about that affair."

"Next," Cindy said as she put up another photo, "is Michael Campbell Fulton, a.k.a. Mike Campbell, a Publix butcher who was found dead on the BigPharmaCorp property. Never worked for or at BigPharmaCorp, as far as we can tell. History of violent crime, assaults, rape, but went off the grid eight years ago. Not sure what his role in all of this is."

"Okay, anyone else?" asked the Chief.

"Yes." I said. "Dr. Tom Cubbard and his wife Lucy." As everyone gasped, I said, "This would be a good time to tell you what I've found out about this lovely couple. First him: Tom Cubbard received a Masters in Industrial Engineering and at the same time worked towards his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. He was hired right out of school by BigPharmaCorp, and quickly placed himself on the Leadership track."

I went on: "He initially worked in the Research Department, but took a position as a Factory Overseer. He then got himself put in charge of their Quality Control Department, then became a full Factory Manager. After that, still in early thirties, he became a Sr. Vice President and Production Manager, then Chief Operating Officer. With the passing of Donovan Donolan, he became Acting CEO, and has recently been formally entitled the Interim CEO and is a candidate to take the position permanently."

"Very young to be so accomplished." said the Chief.

"He's definitely a brilliant, and also exceptionally ambitious man." I said. "In some ways I can admire him. But the Union for the workers of the Company hate his guts with a passion. One of his hallmarks during his rise was his utter hatred of the Union. He constantly pushed against them, bird-dogged the Union employees. He would make surprise visits at 3:00am to see who was working and who was not, and would write up any Union employee not working, even if they were legitimately on break. He has had more grievances filed against him than every other Plant Manager in the system combined. The Union has come out strongly against him being named the permanent CEO."

I continued: "Now his wife is an interesting woman. Her maiden name was Lucy Covington, and she got her hooks into Tom pretty quick, from what I hear tell. She's originally from central Florida, where in high school she was known as an 'easy' girl, if you know what I mean. Had some early arrests for pot possession and use, and even a prostitution charge that was dropped. Rumor has it that she took on the entire high school football team one night at a party. She had good grades out of college, though, and got a position with BigPharmaCorp's Sales Department."

"How in the hell did you get all that information?" Cindy asked skeptically. I smiled at her.

"In due time, Captain, in due time." I said. Cindy was just shaking her head in disbelief as I went on:

"So Lucy then became an assistant to a minor executive, came to our Town with him, and then met Tom Cubbard. These two became fast friends with a certain set of people, including Donovan and Trish Donolan, and certain others that are part of the Hedonists Swing Club. Cubbard is known to have a wandering eye, but word is that Lucy worked her way through half of the company's executives. Other secretaries caught their bosses with Lucy on her back on their desks."

"Sir," said Joanne Cummings, "with all due respect: where do you get stuff like this?" I could not help but smile again.

"I don't know where Elsie Gringer gets all this stuff, either," I replied, "but a certain Auxiliary Policewoman, that being my mother, and Ms. Gringer share information, and some of it happens to drop into my ears at the dinner table. That goes for the information from Florida, as well."

Among the gasps of disbelief mixed with some laughter, the Chief said "Creating sources like these is something similar to what the Vice Squad does in developing Confidential Informants. It's a valuable thing to do, and a good lesson for you Ensigns of Detection to ab-sorrrrrb."

And absorb they did, as I continued: "From these reports, it's easy to see a couple of patterns. First, Dr. Wilkins was in a place to know more than Dr. Grayson about the goings-on of BigPharmaCorp research, as Dr. Grayson was only involved in research at our plant here, while Dr. Wilkins was ostensibly over all research departments of all the BigPharmaCorp campuses."

I continued: "Second, Dr. Robin Grayson was like Dr. Cubbard in that he was also an ambitious man. Dr. Grayson 'married up', so to speak, marrying into his wife's money just as Donovan Donolan did by marrying Trish. Dr. Grayson was friendly with Lucy Cubbard, and I daresay Tom Cubbard had no problem with that: he either was hooking up with Mrs. Grayson behind Dr. Grayson's back, or else the Cubbards have open relationship... which I actually suspect is the case."

"I don't think that applies to the Graysons." said Cindy. "The open marriage part, that is."

"No, it doesn't." I said. "They have real problems in their marriage right now."

"So where do we go from here?" asked Tanya Perlman.

I said, "When the warrant gets here for Fulton's apartment, Nash and Parker will lead that. Lt. Perlman, I'd like for you to supervise that, and work with them on finding the Stevens couple, who I suspect will be in the loving arms of the TCPD sooner than y'all might expect."

"Second," I continued, "I am personally going to go with Detective Cummings and her team, which is calling themselves the 'Inquisition Team' behind her back, and we are going to do some interviews at BigPharmaCorp, come hell or high water. I especially want you, Joanne, to talk to Ashok, the research manager, though I may do so myself first if I get the chance. Upload pictures of James and Susan Douglas, as well as my dear sister Elizabeth, into your iPhones, ask all the Research staffers if those people are known to them. I recall hearing that some employees that were very bad were in the building; maybe that was the Douglases going in and getting that refined heroin sample."

"For myself," I said, "I will be having a long, hard talk with Dr. Cubbard. The feast is over with him, time now for the famine..."

"Where does your sister fit into this?" asked Diana Torres. "Is she behind the refined drug getting out?"

"That's my going theory." I said. "It cannot be a coincidence that she shows up, is friendly with Dr. Grayson, actually got into the labs and saw their layout... and then that sample shows up in the possession of the Douglases. No connections made between her and the Douglases yet, but it's something I'm working on..."

Part 16 - The Rip

Arriving at BigPharmaCorp, Cindy expressed surprise that the Security people let us in with absolutely no fuss. Joanne Cummings was in the backseat, and she also registered surprise.

"Power of the Crowbar, people." I said jokingly. "Seriously, I think I know why they did, and we'll discuss that later."

We were met at the front security checkpoint by a slenderish woman with dark red hair. She was not very attractive, though her legs might've looked decent under the pantsuit she was wearing.

"I'm Lucy Covington," she said. "If you'll come with me, I'll take you to a Conference Room, then Dr. Cubbard and his lawyer will come talk with you."

"Thank you, Mrs. Cubbard," I said, "but my time is too valuable to be wasted sitting for an hour waiting for your husband to show up at his whim. I'll be in the Research Building, per these Court-issued warrants I am exercising, and I'll be talking with the Research Staff until Dr. Cubbard makes time to see me. If you'll excuse me, I think my Detective knows the way."

Lucy Cubbard's eyes had widened with shock; she now practically ran down the hallway as we went outside and toward the Research Building. Cindy was not able to keep from laughing, and Joanne was her joyously, seemingly innocent self.

"She almost lost her breakfast when you called her out as Cubbard's wife." Cindy said through her laughter.

"That was fun, I have to admit." I said. We arrived at the Research Building, where I wasted no time corralling Ashok into their conference room for an interview. Ashok was Indian, his skin on the darker side of the spectrum, and he talked with something of an accent that many Indian immigrants have. India is the largest English-speaking nation in the world, so there was no problem with language.

"First of all, do you recognize these two people?" I asked, showing him pictures of James and Susan Douglas.

"I have never seen her, but I know him." Ashok said. "He worked here for a short time. Didn't seem to know a damn thing about chemistry, couldn't follow instructions at all. We kicked him out after two weeks."

"Who hired him? You?" I asked.

"No, not me. I do not know, but I believe the Personnel Department hired him." said Ashok. "Normally candidates talk to me, Dr. Grayson and Dr. Wilkins, but I never spoke to James here, and suddenly he was showing up as being hired."

"I see." I said. "What about this woman?" I asked, showing him Elizabeth's picture.

"Ah yes, she came in with Dr. Grayson." said Ashok. "He said she was from the Pennsylvania offices, and making a visit."

"An inspection?" I asked.

"Dr. Grayson did not say that," said Ashok, "and she did not act like she was formally inspecting anything. Dr. Grayson said it was just a visit to see if our methods were the same as the Pennsylvania labs' methods."

"So, Ashok, tell me about Dr. Grayson and Dr. Wilkins. Did you like them?"

"They were both good people." said Ashok. "Dr. Grayson was brilliant with the research ideas he had; I very much enjoyed working with him on the projects. Dr. Wilkins was a very good boss. He was efficient. He was friendly with everyone, but not particularly 'friends' with anyone, if you understand what I mean."

"Yes, I do." I said. "Did Drs. Grayson and Wilkins like each other? Friendly? Cordial? Professional?"

"Both very professional, they both loved the work they were doing." said Ashok. "They seemed to be friends, but in the last two or three months, some of my staff remarked that they were not talking to each other very much."

"Any idea of why that was?" I asked.

"No sir." said Ashok. "Neither said anything about the other to me."

"Did Dr. Wilkins ever seem agitated?" I asked. "Anything bothering him, any problems he might've mentioned..."

"No sir." said Ashok. "I don't know of any problems he had. His death is very shocking to me, to all of us I think."

"Tell me, do you know Dr. Cubbard at all? Beyond meeting him at events?" I asked.

"He was my boss in the Quality Control Division." said Ashok. "He then became a Factory Manager, and I came to the Research Department, where I am now, of course."

"What did you think of him?" I asked.

"He was a very good manager. He knew what he wanted done, told us, and we did our jobs." said Ashok.

"Did people like him?" I asked.

"In a professional way, yes. They all thought he was a good leader and manager, as far as I know. Personally, he kept himself at a different level. He wanted to move up, and he did."

"Did Dr. Cubbard seem friendly with either Dr. Grayson or Dr. Wilkins?"

"Oh, he and Dr. Grayson were talking all the time, about the research projects." said Ashok.

I heard a commotion in the front areas, and knew what it meant, so as the door opened I asked "Ashok, do you know of any research that was stolen from the labs recently?"

"No sir, our audit after Dr. Wilkins death came up with nothing missing--"

Just then Dr. Tom Cubbard himself walked in. I'd asked that last question so that he would hear Ashok's answer, and not hear directly my questions about him (Cubbard).

"You wanted to speak with me, Commander?" Cubbard asked, his voice professional but with the barest minimum of courtesy.

"I certainly did, Dr. Cubbard." I said. "Shall we go to your offices, or the big conference room we met in last time?"

"Uh, sure." said Cubbard. "But before your people continue speaking with any of my staff, I want company lawyers present."

"Better call them fast, then." I said. "My warrants do not require me to wait, so unless your people specifically ask for legal representation, I'm not obligated to wait for it... and so far they've been very willing to talk to us without lawyers present." I saw the beginnings of Cubbard's face flushing. I quickly stood up and left the room, striding down the hallway, forcing him to follow. Joanne stayed behind to finish talking to Ashok, as pre-planned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Now I know why the Commander carries that crowbar." said Martin Nash, as the SWAT Team members prepared to use a ram to batter down the door to the late Michael Campbell Fulton's apartment. Tanya Perlman nodded, and gave the SWAT team the sign to go.

*WHAM!*

The ram was more than effective in forcing the door open. The two other uniformed officers, wearing protective gear, entered the apartment to clear it. A moment later, they were back at the door.

"Lieutenant," one said, "the apartment is clear. But you need to see this." Going in, Tanya and Martin saw what the officer was talking about.

"Yep, this is a crime scene." Nash said. The rug on the floor was soaked with blood. Brain spatter was all over the sofa and floor, as well.

"Okay, the Crime Lab is being called in now." said Lt. Perlman, who was on her Police Cellphone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lieutenant Teresa Croyle and Detective Christopher Purvis arrived at the Grayson residence. They were getting in a bit of cross-training, as well as helping out to resolve some issues for their MCD colleagues. And Teresa knew that she was uniquely qualified for this particular mission...

"Hello, Dr. Grayson," said Lt. Croyle as he greeted them in the study. "We only want to ask if you can identify a couple of people. She showed him a picture of James and Susan Douglas. "Do you know these two people?" she asked.

"Uh, yeah, I know him, anyway. James Diggle, or something like that." Dr. Grayson said. "He was hired into the Research Department some weeks ago. Didn't work out."

"Who hired him? You?" asked Teresa.

"No, and it was strange." said Dr. Grayson. "Normally we have a rigorous interview process, where Ashok, myself, and Dr. Wilkins would talk with the candidates. But none of us talked to him. If we had, we'd never have hired him; he didn't know how to do a darn thing in the lab."

"Did you and this 'Ashok' get along well?" Teresa asked.

"Oh yes," said Grayson, "he managed the staff, but he loved to talk ideas with me, and he helped me on some of my experiments."

"Did you talk with him about your previous research?" Teresa asked. "The refined drugs, and all of that?"

"Not really." Dr. Grayson said. "We talked mostly about what we were currently doing, some fresh ideas on current processes, but nothing about my previous work. I might add that Ashok has a Masters in Chemistry and is working towards his Ph.D. at the University, but he is actually the manager and not one of our scientists."

"Okay. What about this woman?" Teresa asked, showing the Elizabeth photo. "Did you ever see her in the BigPharmaCorp facility?"

"Ah, the Iron Crowbar's sister." said Grayson, shaking his head. "My wife said that she saw the resemblance between them when he showed her that picture yesterday."

"Yes, she's his sister, but they are not close at all. Quite the opposite." said Teresa. "So, did she ever go into BigPharmaCorp? Into your research areas?"

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