The heat was intolerable, he could barely stand being in the same room as his companion, but alas, there was little to do but complain. He was stuck with him, thats just the way it was. He let out a sigh, opened his briefcase and removed an unfoldable stool, which he proceeded to setup and sit on while he waited for his companion to finish taking notes about the crime scene.
To an outside observer, the man (whose name badge referred to him as Private Investigator #902 - Arthur Kynnes) appeared to be fairly average. He was dressed in the stereotypical garb of the private investigator; a large trenchcoat with deep, dark pockets. He had short, curly black hair, which combined with his thickly-rimmed glasses managed to hide most of his face. He was cleanly shaven, though he displayed a little stubble this late into the night.
Sat on his stool, twiddling his thumbs, he looked like an impatient midget compared to the hulking mass of his companion.
His companion, whose namebadge referred to him as Private Investigator #903 - Mr. Sharp, was a large, 8 feet tall cylinder of metal roughly 2 feet in diameter. On the sides of the cylinder hung several segmented metal arms and at it’s base similar tenticular legs and a set of wheels. The top of the cylinder was lined with various pipes emitting a stream of steam and smoke. At that moment, Mr. Sharp turned around and his numerous arms folded away a clipboard and pen into a compartment in his front. He turned several lenses, which served as his eyes, upon Arthur and emitted voice.
“Something here is highly irregular Arthur. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. It certainly isn’t a suicide as the police seem to think.”
Arthur fanned himself with a hand as Mr. Sharp leaned over him and the heat from the burner set in his front like a fiery mouth washed over him. Sweating profusely and wiping a now slightly sooty hand across his forehead, leaving a dark smudge, he packed his stool away into his briefcase and have a silent nod.
“What makes you say that Mr. Sharp?”
“Well, my conclusion that this is not suicide is based on the fact the victim appears to have been nailed to the ceiling, Arthur. I don’t think the poor woman could have managed that herself.”
Arthur raised an eyebrow and looked up, grimacing slightly.
“Yes, that is rather odd. Stranger things have happened though. I suppose we had better head to the station and report our findings Mr. Sharp.”
With that, they both headed out of the small back-alley flat and out into the gas-lamp lit streets of Gastown.
The journey to the Police Station was fairly uneventful with little to distract the two investigators but their own bickering.
Arthur has decided that he would come up with ways that the woman might have indeed nailed herself to the ceiling while Mr. Sharp consistently managed to counter every suggestion.
“Perhaps she used some kind of catapult…”
“But then where is it, Arthur? She couldn’t very well tidy it away afterwards could she?”
Arthur frowned and was about to use an anecdote about his mother’s cleaning prowess and how even death wouldn’t keep her from having a well-dusted mantle-piece when Mr. Sharp indicated that they had arrived and promptly held open the door for the both of them.
Arthur walked in, waited for Mr. Sharp to follow and then approached the reception desk. Arthur realised he was still sweating profusely from the heat given off by his companion and took a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed himself with it while waiting for an officer to show up.
“You couldn’t, I don’t know, turn that thing down could you?” Arthur said irritably, indicating the burner in Mr. Sharp’s chest.
“You know very well that’s not possible Arthur.” Mr. Sharp replied, his lenses whirring in the Mechanoid equivalent of a frown “Oh look, here comes an officer.”
The officer was in his mid-fifties, his grey hair tightly combed and slicked back. He adjusted his tie, cleared his throat and then leant over the desk using his elbows for leverage.
“Hello sirs. How may I help you?”
“We believe the suicide case in Mollycot Lane is not what it appears to be.” Mr. Sharp said before Arthur could get a word in. “We believe it to be murder.”
“Or an ingenious catapulting contraption…” Arthur mumbled defeatedly.
“Well, you boys must have turned up late.” The officer said with a frown. “We’ve got her boy in the back, said he saw the whole thing. Things a closed case.”
Arthur and Mr. Sharp looked at each other.
“What?” They both exclaimed.
“I said we have her boy in the back, saw the whole grizzly affair. Terrible thing to see you own mother do something like that.”
“Do you think we could we talk to him?” Arthur asked.
“Well I don’t know about that. What were you two doing there anyway? Working on a case were we? You PIs ought to leave to police work to the professionals.”
“Well yes, we were working on a case actually, allow us to explain, perhaps then you will change your mind.”
The police officer looked on unamused as Arthur and Mr. Sharp began to relay the tale of how they had come to be in that room down Mollycot Lane.
Mr. Sharp rested in the corner, polishing his lenses while Arthur attended to the paperwork. Arthur’s idea of attending to the paper work often involved filing it away; usually in Mr. Sharp’s burner. Mr. Sharp didn’t mind too much, though paper always left such unseemly soot.
Arthur was mildly worried. The tax collectors were getting rather forwards in their requests for the their next contribution and the landlord was also waiting on a few weeks worth of rent for their office, a small room above a bakery on Lamp Street. Work hadn’t been very good recently, a whole lot of nothing had come their way. Mr. Sharp had maintained his usual infuriating good humour about the situation but Arthur had been getting nervous. Which was annoying since it always gave him the hiccups.
Arthur was filing away the last of the paperwork when the bell rung and in walked a woman of about 40, she was of average appearance, dark brown hair with matching eyes and a blue, floral patterned dress.
“Hello? Is this the investigator’s office?”
Arthur dropped a pile of paper and made his way amongst the boxfiles and stacks of various case-related paraphrenalia until he was close enough to shake her hand.
“Yes, Kynnes and Sharp, Private Investigators. How may we help you?”
“Well, it’s my husband. He’s gone missing. He was scared, I think he was running from something.”
“Really? Well, take a seat Mrs…?”
“Mrs Parley and we’ll discuss your case. Mr. Sharp, are you taking notes?”
“So Mrs Parley, could you describe you husband for me?”
“Well, he’s about 8 foot tall, round, he has the cutest little burner.”
“Excuse me, are you telling me that your husband is a Mechanoid?”
“Why yes, is that a problem?”
“W-Well no, it’s just, well, I’ve never heard of that happening before, I mean, how do you, you know…”
Mr. Sharp interrupted, he lenses whirring as he glared at Arthur. “What my colleague is trying to say is, he is marvelling over how you must cope with the prejudice. Mechanoids certainly aren’t second-class citizens anymore, not since they passed the Mechanoid Equality Act, but there are still some undesirable which would wish to make trouble for a marriage such as yours.”
“Oh yes, well, Mr. Parley is always very good about that, he wouldn’t take any nonsense, no sir. Sure, we’ve had trouble, but Mr. Parley has always dealt with it, god bless him. He’d never allow anyhing to happen to me or our son.”
“Son!?” Arthur spluttered.
“Yes, our son, Mr. Kynnes. Of course, he is adopted. Mr. Parley and I have obvious… difficulties, but we overcome them in our own way.” Mrs. Parley said, then realising what she might have implied blushed deeply and fanned herself with a hand.
“Sorry about the heat Mrs. Parley.” Mr. Sharp said knowingly. “I’m sure you understand.”
Mrs. Parley smiled and nodded. “Yes. So, I suppose I had better start at the beginning.”