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Re: Tomas Thomson investigates - Chapter 6

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  • Doc Quantum
    Does this story have unseasonal snow, or are the references to winter a mistake? The beginning of this story places it in August. Other than that, great story.
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 8, 2012
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      Does this story have unseasonal snow, or are the references to winter a mistake? The beginning of this story places it in August. Other than that, great story. I've been catching up on my Earth-S, and I love seeing these kinds of genre fiction.

      Cheers,
      Doc

      --- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Swanson" <ddswanson@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > When Tomas returned to self-awareness, for a short second or so he
      > thought he was back in NoWhere. He couldn't see anything. But he
      > quickly realized that he could feel his body, so he wasn't off in
      > mental never-never land again.
      > Well, actually, what he was feeling was his head! He had a headache
      > that felt as if someone were using sledgehammers as drumsticks on his
      > head. He breathed in very small sips of air, trying to make sure his
      > head didn't move when he breathed. The air around him seemed very
      > stale, and he felt as if he were choking. He sluggishly put two and
      > two together in his slowly working mind. "The oxygen in here is
      > almost gone! I'm suffocating!" This galvanized him into action,
      > painful headache or no.
      > Trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his head, he reached up and
      > found the trapdoor, and heaved up underneath it. It flipped open, and
      > cold, sweet fresh air blew in. Tomas breathed deeply, and after
      > several minutes, his headache started to improve. When the pain had
      > finally diminished to about the level of a medium hangover, he
      > climbed up and out of the ice room.
      > The sun was just rising. He had fallen into that room more than 12
      > hours ago, during part of which time a fire had been burning
      > overhead, consuming oxygen. No wonder his head hurt so badly. It
      > was probably a good thing he had been unconscious, or he would have
      > needed more air, and might not have survived.
      > His headache continued to clear, and he was surprised at how well he
      > felt overall. In fact, it seemed almost impossible that he could have
      > climbed out of the ice room so easily given his recent injury. But
      > his leg felt fine, with no trace of pain! He gently reached up to
      > touch his head, where he had bashed it, and there was a small lump
      > there, and it was a little sore, but nothing to worry about. Then he
      > realized that he was very very thirsty and as hungry as he could ever
      > remember being before.
      > It had snowed while he had been unconscious, which made the footing
      > very treacherous as he scrambled out of the cellar and made his way
      > over the remains of the demolished house. He didn't even think about
      > looking for the bad guys until he reached some solid ground, and he
      > was lucky they hadn't stuck around. If there had been a shooter
      > nearby, he would have been shot. He could see no tracks of any kind
      > in the snow, so if anyone had come to check out the explosions and
      > the fire, they must have left before the snow started.
      >
      > Tomas picked up a handful of snow and ate it. It didn't do much for
      > his hunger, but helped his thirst a little. He grabbed several more
      > handfuls and eventually his stomach started to quiet down a little
      > bit, but he knew he had only fooled it temporarily. He checked
      > himself out again, and realized that he was in surprisingly good
      > shape for someone who had been so badly injured only 12 hours
      > before. He realized that it must be tied into the powers he had
      > gained from the anti-crime drug. He probably owed Todd his life once
      > again...
      >
      > Tomas was filthy, he smelled like smoke, and his clothes were torn
      > and bloody. His pickup truck was a pile of shattered junk, buried
      > beneath a thin covering of snow. He was lucky the snow was only an
      > inch or so deep, and the temperature was just about freezing. The
      > way he felt, he'd be able to get back to the main road in 20 minutes
      > or so, and if he could hitch a ride, he'd be home in another 20
      > minutes. If anyone would stop for someone who was such a mess!
      >
      > He didn't even bother to check out the pickup; he had felt and heard
      > the gas tank go up in the explosion. There couldn't be anything
      > useful there. The house was totally destroyed as well, but the barn
      > was still standing. He hoped maybe he could find some rags or
      > something in the barn, to clean up with, and maybe to use as gloves.
      >
      > He found a variety of farming tools in the barn, and he did find some
      > old rags. A few minutes later, looking somewhat more respectable, he
      > left the farm and started running down the road. Even in his
      > depleted condition, Tomas was faster than any normal human, and he
      > covered the 3 miles back to Highway 41 in a little over 15 minutes.
      > He started walking south, his thumb out.
      >
      > A few minutes later, he was surprised when a Highway Patrol car
      > pulled over. They didn't usually bother hitch hikers.
      >
      > One officer got out of the car. "Morning, son! You look kinda
      > banged up. Where you headed?"
      >
      > "Good morning, officer. Yeah, I had a night you might not believe.
      > My name's Tomas Thomson, and I'm headed home to Calumet." Tomas
      > showed him his ID, both Driver's License and his Dewey, Ketchum and
      > Howe ID.
      >
      > "We saw some footprints on Moeller Road. Was that you, Thomson?
      > Know anything about those explosions and the fire last night?"
      >
      > "I've got a long story, sir. Tell you what, I'm famished. If you'll
      > let me buy you and your partner a cup of coffee at Donna's down the
      > road, I'll tell you the whole thing! I'm so hungry I might pass out
      > otherwise!"
      >
      > "You better not be trying to bribe us, son!" said the officer with a
      > smile. Tomas noticed that his name was Sergeant Ken Williams. "Hop
      > in." Tomas got in and noticed that there were no door handles on the
      > inside of the back doors. Well, he wasn't trying to escape anyway.
      > They stopped at Donna's and as Tomas ate, he gave them the whole
      > story. Sergeant Williams asked him questions as his partner, Officer
      > Johnson, went to call in the story, and then called Dewey, Ketchum
      > and Howe and talked to Bonnie to verify his identity. Willaims and
      > Johnson were assigned to investigate further, and after they took
      > Tomas home to clean up some more and get some clothes, they headed
      > back to the now-demolished farmhouse.
      >
      > The three of them searched the demolished farmhouse and the
      > surrounding area closely but they couldn't find any clues. Tomas
      > contributed what he knew - 3 men driving a red and black Aston Martin
      > DB2, armed with pistols and a pistol-mounted rocket launcher. The
      > patrolmen were skeptical about that, but they couldn't doubt that
      > Tomas's pickup truck and the house had been blown up. And Tomas's
      > own footprints in the snow proved at least part of the story - he had
      > clearly been in the house sometime before the snow started.
      >
      > There had been a pretty big crowd here just after dark, with fire
      > trucks, cops and spectators, and nobody had seen the DB II. They had
      > noticed Tomas' truck, and there was a full-scale investigation team
      > on the way. After they searched the crime scene, Tomas was
      > questioned at Highway Patrol HQ. When they found out that Ida Autumn
      > had died in his office the day before, and he had admitted being
      > involved in the explosions last night, the Patrol wanted to keep him
      > overnight in jail, but Bonnie managed to track down Ketchum, who
      > convinced them to release Tomas on his own recognizance.
      >
      > Williams and Johnson dropped him off at his house, and he hit the
      > sack for a couple of hours. His subconscious must have been working
      > overtime while he slept, because he awoke with a couple of
      > conclusions and a lot of new questions.
      >
      > Somebody wanted him dead. It had to be Harvey Autumn; he couldn't
      > think of anyone else in Chicago who would come after him. The man
      > with the German accent must be an out-of-town hitman, and the Aston
      > Martin and the rocket launcher both probably belonged to him. Right
      > now, Tomas had an advantage - if the hitman thought Tomas was dead,
      > he might hang around Chicago for a few days. Tomas had to get
      > downtown and see if he could find that car!
      >
      > He got a cab to the train station and caught the next train into
      > town, and then rented a car from Hertz Driv-Ur-Self. The hitman was
      > obviously highly-paid, so he would probably be staying at one of the
      > high class hotels, the Drake, the Fairmont, the Raddison or the
      > Chicago Hilton. Tomas wondered for just a second if Todd was related
      > to the Drake Hotel, but it didn't seem likely.
      >
      > He checked in with Bonnie and told her where he was headed. Then he
      > went out to do some of that detective stuff!
      >
      > He parked downtown near the Raddison. He watched people go in and
      > out for a few minutes, and noted which of the attendants did they
      > valet parking for guests. During a lull in guest traffic, he walked
      > up to these attendants and began a conversation with them. "Hi,
      > guys! Did you get a chance to drive that Aston Martin DB II I saw
      > fly out of here a while ago? Man, what a great car!"
      >
      > "You talkin' that red and black one?" asked the guy who Tomas had
      > seen parking the most cars. Tomas nodded his head. The speaker had
      > a wistful expression on his face. "I've seen it on the streets, but
      > whoever owns it ain't staying here. Too bad... Man, I'd give a
      > bundle to take that one for a spin!" Suddenly he looked worried. He
      > and his mates were not supposed to drive guests' cars any further
      > than the garage and back. He had heard that sometimes the hotel
      > would hire people to report on what the employees were doing. He
      > might have just talked himself out of this really sweet job!
      >
      > But Tomas wasn't interested in getting these kids in trouble. He'd
      > found out that the DB II had been seen downtown recently, in the
      > grand hotel area, and even though the owner wasn't registered here,
      > he seemed to be on the right track.
      >
      > "Me too! I wonder what they cost? More than I'll ever have, I
      > bet..." and he walked away.
      >
      > This scene was repeated with minor variations at the Hilton and the
      > Fairmont. The guy in the Aston Martin wasn't shy about showing it
      > off! Which argued that he was pretty sure Tomas was dead, and there
      > had been no witnesses.
      >
      > Tomas had subconsciously saved the Drake for last, probably because
      > of the name. But at the Drake, he had some luck!
      >
      > "Tell you what, that is one fantastic car! It's weird driving on the
      > wrong side, but once you get used to that, it's like riding a tiger!"
      >
      > "Is it fast?" Tomas wanted to know.
      >
      > This kid was smarter than the first one, and a little
      > suspicious. "Sorry, pal, I don't know. I drive it from the front
      > door here to the parking lot, and then back again. Enough to make me
      > wish it was my car, but I'll never get a chance to see how fast it is.
      > Say" his voice turned harsh "aincha got someplace else to
      > be? We're busy here."
      >
      > Tomas smiled to himself, and walked away. "Thanks!" he said
      > cheerily, and waved. What else might he find out?
      >
      > He stopped in a sheltered doorway a ways down the street, and watched
      > to see where the Drake valets took the cars they parked. A covered
      > garage about a block from the hotel, He scouted the garage, and the
      > next time one of the valets brought a car around, he snuck inside
      > while the booth attendant was distracted. A little cautious
      > scouting - he could be very quiet... and a another piece of good
      > luck, the DB II was in the garage!
      >
      > But what was he going to do next? He didn't have any magical devices
      > he could stick to the car that would enable him to follow it using
      > his extra-sensory perception. He got the license and carefully
      > checked the doors and the boot, but the car was locked. No obvious
      > clues that he could see through the windows, either.
      >
      > He had an idea. He owed this guy big time, for his pickup truck and
      > his scrapes and bruises, so why not give him back a little
      > aggravation? And maybe he could find out who the guy was at the same
      > time...
      >
      > He pulled out his trusty Swiss Army knife and used the corkscrew to
      > bore a hole in one of the front tires. Then he covered the
      > headlights in turn with his jacket, and shattered them. The jacket
      > kept the noise to a minimum.
      >
      > Finally he headed towards one of the emergency exits. He pulled out
      > his pistol and, apologizing to the patron god of performance
      > automobiles, shot out the front windshield of the DB II and then took
      > off. The emergency exit let out the back, and the only attendant in
      > the garage was in the booth at the front, so he got away without
      > anyone seeing him.
      >
      > Suddenly he had doubts - suppose this wasn't the car he was
      > interested in? It would take him six months of successful cases just
      > to cover the cost of the windshield! And he doubted that Ketchum
      > would allow him to put it on his expense account. In fact, if this
      > was the wrong car, he was pretty sure Ketchum would fire him and make
      > sure he never got another PI job in Chicago! Come to think of it,
      > who was paying for this investigation, anyway, with the principal
      > dead? Well, he could worry about those things later.
      >
      > Opening the emergency exit set off the alarm, but he was prepared for
      > that. He withdrew at top speed. and by the time the disturbance had
      > calmed down, he was back on the street in front of the hotel. He
      > entered and made for the restaurant, taking a seat where he could
      > keep an eye on the lobby, and sure enough, in a few minutes he saw a
      > hotel manager escorting a very disturbed blonde man towards the
      > garage. The man was angry and loudly berating the manager, and Tomas
      > was sure it was the same man he had heard yesterday giving orders.
      > He heard the manager apologize to Mr. Ackerman. It was almost
      > certainly a pseudonym, but he sure knew a lot more now than he had
      > this morning.
      >
      > He felt sorry for the hotel staff for a few minutes, but their
      > security was lax. He was about to leave when 4 very large men came
      > over to his table and sat down with him.
      >
    • ddswanson
      Well, I would have to rewrite to get rid of the snow - so it must be more like October. I wonder if the Mosad ever made it into any other comic book fanfic?
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 14, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        Well, I would have to rewrite to get rid of the snow - so it must be more like October.

        I wonder if the Mosad ever made it into any other comic book fanfic?

        --- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Quantum" <the_time_trust_2000@...> wrote:
        >
        > Does this story have unseasonal snow, or are the references to winter a mistake? The beginning of this story places it in August. Other than that, great story. I've been catching up on my Earth-S, and I love seeing these kinds of genre fiction.
        >
        > Cheers,
        > Doc
        >
        > --- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Swanson" <ddswanson@> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > When Tomas returned to self-awareness, for a short second or so he
        > > thought he was back in NoWhere. He couldn't see anything. But he
        > > quickly realized that he could feel his body, so he wasn't off in
        > > mental never-never land again.
        > > Well, actually, what he was feeling was his head! He had a headache
        > > that felt as if someone were using sledgehammers as drumsticks on his
        > > head. He breathed in very small sips of air, trying to make sure his
        > > head didn't move when he breathed. The air around him seemed very
        > > stale, and he felt as if he were choking. He sluggishly put two and
        > > two together in his slowly working mind. "The oxygen in here is
        > > almost gone! I'm suffocating!" This galvanized him into action,
        > > painful headache or no.
        > > Trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his head, he reached up and
        > > found the trapdoor, and heaved up underneath it. It flipped open, and
        > > cold, sweet fresh air blew in. Tomas breathed deeply, and after
        > > several minutes, his headache started to improve. When the pain had
        > > finally diminished to about the level of a medium hangover, he
        > > climbed up and out of the ice room.
        > > The sun was just rising. He had fallen into that room more than 12
        > > hours ago, during part of which time a fire had been burning
        > > overhead, consuming oxygen. No wonder his head hurt so badly. It
        > > was probably a good thing he had been unconscious, or he would have
        > > needed more air, and might not have survived.
        > > His headache continued to clear, and he was surprised at how well he
        > > felt overall. In fact, it seemed almost impossible that he could have
        > > climbed out of the ice room so easily given his recent injury. But
        > > his leg felt fine, with no trace of pain! He gently reached up to
        > > touch his head, where he had bashed it, and there was a small lump
        > > there, and it was a little sore, but nothing to worry about. Then he
        > > realized that he was very very thirsty and as hungry as he could ever
        > > remember being before.
        > > It had snowed while he had been unconscious, which made the footing
        > > very treacherous as he scrambled out of the cellar and made his way
        > > over the remains of the demolished house. He didn't even think about
        > > looking for the bad guys until he reached some solid ground, and he
        > > was lucky they hadn't stuck around. If there had been a shooter
        > > nearby, he would have been shot. He could see no tracks of any kind
        > > in the snow, so if anyone had come to check out the explosions and
        > > the fire, they must have left before the snow started.
        > >
        > > Tomas picked up a handful of snow and ate it. It didn't do much for
        > > his hunger, but helped his thirst a little. He grabbed several more
        > > handfuls and eventually his stomach started to quiet down a little
        > > bit, but he knew he had only fooled it temporarily. He checked
        > > himself out again, and realized that he was in surprisingly good
        > > shape for someone who had been so badly injured only 12 hours
        > > before. He realized that it must be tied into the powers he had
        > > gained from the anti-crime drug. He probably owed Todd his life once
        > > again...
        > >
        > > Tomas was filthy, he smelled like smoke, and his clothes were torn
        > > and bloody. His pickup truck was a pile of shattered junk, buried
        > > beneath a thin covering of snow. He was lucky the snow was only an
        > > inch or so deep, and the temperature was just about freezing. The
        > > way he felt, he'd be able to get back to the main road in 20 minutes
        > > or so, and if he could hitch a ride, he'd be home in another 20
        > > minutes. If anyone would stop for someone who was such a mess!
        > >
        > > He didn't even bother to check out the pickup; he had felt and heard
        > > the gas tank go up in the explosion. There couldn't be anything
        > > useful there. The house was totally destroyed as well, but the barn
        > > was still standing. He hoped maybe he could find some rags or
        > > something in the barn, to clean up with, and maybe to use as gloves.
        > >
        > > He found a variety of farming tools in the barn, and he did find some
        > > old rags. A few minutes later, looking somewhat more respectable, he
        > > left the farm and started running down the road. Even in his
        > > depleted condition, Tomas was faster than any normal human, and he
        > > covered the 3 miles back to Highway 41 in a little over 15 minutes.
        > > He started walking south, his thumb out.
        > >
        > > A few minutes later, he was surprised when a Highway Patrol car
        > > pulled over. They didn't usually bother hitch hikers.
        > >
        > > One officer got out of the car. "Morning, son! You look kinda
        > > banged up. Where you headed?"
        > >
        > > "Good morning, officer. Yeah, I had a night you might not believe.
        > > My name's Tomas Thomson, and I'm headed home to Calumet." Tomas
        > > showed him his ID, both Driver's License and his Dewey, Ketchum and
        > > Howe ID.
        > >
        > > "We saw some footprints on Moeller Road. Was that you, Thomson?
        > > Know anything about those explosions and the fire last night?"
        > >
        > > "I've got a long story, sir. Tell you what, I'm famished. If you'll
        > > let me buy you and your partner a cup of coffee at Donna's down the
        > > road, I'll tell you the whole thing! I'm so hungry I might pass out
        > > otherwise!"
        > >
        > > "You better not be trying to bribe us, son!" said the officer with a
        > > smile. Tomas noticed that his name was Sergeant Ken Williams. "Hop
        > > in." Tomas got in and noticed that there were no door handles on the
        > > inside of the back doors. Well, he wasn't trying to escape anyway.
        > > They stopped at Donna's and as Tomas ate, he gave them the whole
        > > story. Sergeant Williams asked him questions as his partner, Officer
        > > Johnson, went to call in the story, and then called Dewey, Ketchum
        > > and Howe and talked to Bonnie to verify his identity. Willaims and
        > > Johnson were assigned to investigate further, and after they took
        > > Tomas home to clean up some more and get some clothes, they headed
        > > back to the now-demolished farmhouse.
        > >
        > > The three of them searched the demolished farmhouse and the
        > > surrounding area closely but they couldn't find any clues. Tomas
        > > contributed what he knew - 3 men driving a red and black Aston Martin
        > > DB2, armed with pistols and a pistol-mounted rocket launcher. The
        > > patrolmen were skeptical about that, but they couldn't doubt that
        > > Tomas's pickup truck and the house had been blown up. And Tomas's
        > > own footprints in the snow proved at least part of the story - he had
        > > clearly been in the house sometime before the snow started.
        > >
        > > There had been a pretty big crowd here just after dark, with fire
        > > trucks, cops and spectators, and nobody had seen the DB II. They had
        > > noticed Tomas' truck, and there was a full-scale investigation team
        > > on the way. After they searched the crime scene, Tomas was
        > > questioned at Highway Patrol HQ. When they found out that Ida Autumn
        > > had died in his office the day before, and he had admitted being
        > > involved in the explosions last night, the Patrol wanted to keep him
        > > overnight in jail, but Bonnie managed to track down Ketchum, who
        > > convinced them to release Tomas on his own recognizance.
        > >
        > > Williams and Johnson dropped him off at his house, and he hit the
        > > sack for a couple of hours. His subconscious must have been working
        > > overtime while he slept, because he awoke with a couple of
        > > conclusions and a lot of new questions.
        > >
        > > Somebody wanted him dead. It had to be Harvey Autumn; he couldn't
        > > think of anyone else in Chicago who would come after him. The man
        > > with the German accent must be an out-of-town hitman, and the Aston
        > > Martin and the rocket launcher both probably belonged to him. Right
        > > now, Tomas had an advantage - if the hitman thought Tomas was dead,
        > > he might hang around Chicago for a few days. Tomas had to get
        > > downtown and see if he could find that car!
        > >
        > > He got a cab to the train station and caught the next train into
        > > town, and then rented a car from Hertz Driv-Ur-Self. The hitman was
        > > obviously highly-paid, so he would probably be staying at one of the
        > > high class hotels, the Drake, the Fairmont, the Raddison or the
        > > Chicago Hilton. Tomas wondered for just a second if Todd was related
        > > to the Drake Hotel, but it didn't seem likely.
        > >
        > > He checked in with Bonnie and told her where he was headed. Then he
        > > went out to do some of that detective stuff!
        > >
        > > He parked downtown near the Raddison. He watched people go in and
        > > out for a few minutes, and noted which of the attendants did they
        > > valet parking for guests. During a lull in guest traffic, he walked
        > > up to these attendants and began a conversation with them. "Hi,
        > > guys! Did you get a chance to drive that Aston Martin DB II I saw
        > > fly out of here a while ago? Man, what a great car!"
        > >
        > > "You talkin' that red and black one?" asked the guy who Tomas had
        > > seen parking the most cars. Tomas nodded his head. The speaker had
        > > a wistful expression on his face. "I've seen it on the streets, but
        > > whoever owns it ain't staying here. Too bad... Man, I'd give a
        > > bundle to take that one for a spin!" Suddenly he looked worried. He
        > > and his mates were not supposed to drive guests' cars any further
        > > than the garage and back. He had heard that sometimes the hotel
        > > would hire people to report on what the employees were doing. He
        > > might have just talked himself out of this really sweet job!
        > >
        > > But Tomas wasn't interested in getting these kids in trouble. He'd
        > > found out that the DB II had been seen downtown recently, in the
        > > grand hotel area, and even though the owner wasn't registered here,
        > > he seemed to be on the right track.
        > >
        > > "Me too! I wonder what they cost? More than I'll ever have, I
        > > bet..." and he walked away.
        > >
        > > This scene was repeated with minor variations at the Hilton and the
        > > Fairmont. The guy in the Aston Martin wasn't shy about showing it
        > > off! Which argued that he was pretty sure Tomas was dead, and there
        > > had been no witnesses.
        > >
        > > Tomas had subconsciously saved the Drake for last, probably because
        > > of the name. But at the Drake, he had some luck!
        > >
        > > "Tell you what, that is one fantastic car! It's weird driving on the
        > > wrong side, but once you get used to that, it's like riding a tiger!"
        > >
        > > "Is it fast?" Tomas wanted to know.
        > >
        > > This kid was smarter than the first one, and a little
        > > suspicious. "Sorry, pal, I don't know. I drive it from the front
        > > door here to the parking lot, and then back again. Enough to make me
        > > wish it was my car, but I'll never get a chance to see how fast it is.
        > > Say" his voice turned harsh "aincha got someplace else to
        > > be? We're busy here."
        > >
        > > Tomas smiled to himself, and walked away. "Thanks!" he said
        > > cheerily, and waved. What else might he find out?
        > >
        > > He stopped in a sheltered doorway a ways down the street, and watched
        > > to see where the Drake valets took the cars they parked. A covered
        > > garage about a block from the hotel, He scouted the garage, and the
        > > next time one of the valets brought a car around, he snuck inside
        > > while the booth attendant was distracted. A little cautious
        > > scouting - he could be very quiet... and a another piece of good
        > > luck, the DB II was in the garage!
        > >
        > > But what was he going to do next? He didn't have any magical devices
        > > he could stick to the car that would enable him to follow it using
        > > his extra-sensory perception. He got the license and carefully
        > > checked the doors and the boot, but the car was locked. No obvious
        > > clues that he could see through the windows, either.
        > >
        > > He had an idea. He owed this guy big time, for his pickup truck and
        > > his scrapes and bruises, so why not give him back a little
        > > aggravation? And maybe he could find out who the guy was at the same
        > > time...
        > >
        > > He pulled out his trusty Swiss Army knife and used the corkscrew to
        > > bore a hole in one of the front tires. Then he covered the
        > > headlights in turn with his jacket, and shattered them. The jacket
        > > kept the noise to a minimum.
        > >
        > > Finally he headed towards one of the emergency exits. He pulled out
        > > his pistol and, apologizing to the patron god of performance
        > > automobiles, shot out the front windshield of the DB II and then took
        > > off. The emergency exit let out the back, and the only attendant in
        > > the garage was in the booth at the front, so he got away without
        > > anyone seeing him.
        > >
        > > Suddenly he had doubts - suppose this wasn't the car he was
        > > interested in? It would take him six months of successful cases just
        > > to cover the cost of the windshield! And he doubted that Ketchum
        > > would allow him to put it on his expense account. In fact, if this
        > > was the wrong car, he was pretty sure Ketchum would fire him and make
        > > sure he never got another PI job in Chicago! Come to think of it,
        > > who was paying for this investigation, anyway, with the principal
        > > dead? Well, he could worry about those things later.
        > >
        > > Opening the emergency exit set off the alarm, but he was prepared for
        > > that. He withdrew at top speed. and by the time the disturbance had
        > > calmed down, he was back on the street in front of the hotel. He
        > > entered and made for the restaurant, taking a seat where he could
        > > keep an eye on the lobby, and sure enough, in a few minutes he saw a
        > > hotel manager escorting a very disturbed blonde man towards the
        > > garage. The man was angry and loudly berating the manager, and Tomas
        > > was sure it was the same man he had heard yesterday giving orders.
        > > He heard the manager apologize to Mr. Ackerman. It was almost
        > > certainly a pseudonym, but he sure knew a lot more now than he had
        > > this morning.
        > >
        > > He felt sorry for the hotel staff for a few minutes, but their
        > > security was lax. He was about to leave when 4 very large men came
        > > over to his table and sat down with him.
        > >
        >
      • The Time Trust
        One of the things I m doing with the new Five Earths site is editing all previously archived stories to remove any inconsistencies within the story or with
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 14, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          One of the things I'm doing with the new Five Earths site is editing all previously archived stories to remove any inconsistencies within the story or with other stories published either by the comics publishers or by us. Despite the great amount of editing that has previously been done by myself and others, there are several errors still out there. That's why I tag all stories that have simply been imported in to the new site but not edited since then as "unedited."

          So if you want to submit an edited version of that story, I'd appreciate it. I'm not editing the Earth-S stories right now (too busy with Earth-1 and Earth-2 at the moment), but I will be sometime soon.

           
          --
          Cheers,
          Doc Quantum of The Time Trust


          Read stories of your favorite DC Comics characters at the Five Earths Project!
          www.5earths.info


          >________________________________
          > From: ddswanson <ddswanson@...>
          >To: ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com
          >Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:38:33 AM
          >Subject: [Shazam Earth S Lives on] Re: Tomas Thomson investigates - Chapter 6
          >
          >

          >Well, I would have to rewrite to get rid of the snow - so it must be more like October.
          >
          >I wonder if the Mosad ever made it into any other comic book fanfic?
          >
          >--- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Quantum" <the_time_trust_2000@...> wrote:
          >>
          >> Does this story have unseasonal snow, or are the references to winter a mistake? The beginning of this story places it in August. Other than that, great story. I've been catching up on my Earth-S, and I love seeing these kinds of genre fiction.
          >>
          >> Cheers,
          >> Doc
          >>
          >> --- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Swanson" <ddswanson@> wrote:
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > When Tomas returned to self-awareness, for a short second or so he
          >> > thought he was back in NoWhere. He couldn't see anything. But he
          >> > quickly realized that he could feel his body, so he wasn't off in
          >> > mental never-never land again.
          >> > Well, actually, what he was feeling was his head! He had a headache
          >> > that felt as if someone were using sledgehammers as drumsticks on his
          >> > head. He breathed in very small sips of air, trying to make sure his
          >> > head didn't move when he breathed. The air around him seemed very
          >> > stale, and he felt as if he were choking. He sluggishly put two and
          >> > two together in his slowly working mind. "The oxygen in here is
          >> > almost gone! I'm suffocating!" This galvanized him into action,
          >> > painful headache or no.
          >> > Trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his head, he reached up and
          >> > found the trapdoor, and heaved up underneath it. It flipped open, and
          >> > cold, sweet fresh air blew in. Tomas breathed deeply, and after
          >> > several minutes, his headache started to improve. When the pain had
          >> > finally diminished to about the level of a medium hangover, he
          >> > climbed up and out of the ice room.
          >> > The sun was just rising. He had fallen into that room more than 12
          >> > hours ago, during part of which time a fire had been burning
          >> > overhead, consuming oxygen. No wonder his head hurt so badly. It
          >> > was probably a good thing he had been unconscious, or he would have
          >> > needed more air, and might not have survived.
          >> > His headache continued to clear, and he was surprised at how well he
          >> > felt overall. In fact, it seemed almost impossible that he could have
          >> > climbed out of the ice room so easily given his recent injury. But
          >> > his leg felt fine, with no trace of pain! He gently reached up to
          >> > touch his head, where he had bashed it, and there was a small lump
          >> > there, and it was a little sore, but nothing to worry about. Then he
          >> > realized that he was very very thirsty and as hungry as he could ever
          >> > remember being before.
          >> > It had snowed while he had been unconscious, which made the footing
          >> > very treacherous as he scrambled out of the cellar and made his way
          >> > over the remains of the demolished house. He didn't even think about
          >> > looking for the bad guys until he reached some solid ground, and he
          >> > was lucky they hadn't stuck around. If there had been a shooter
          >> > nearby, he would have been shot. He could see no tracks of any kind
          >> > in the snow, so if anyone had come to check out the explosions and
          >> > the fire, they must have left before the snow started.
          >> >
          >> > Tomas picked up a handful of snow and ate it. It didn't do much for
          >> > his hunger, but helped his thirst a little. He grabbed several more
          >> > handfuls and eventually his stomach started to quiet down a little
          >> > bit, but he knew he had only fooled it temporarily. He checked
          >> > himself out again, and realized that he was in surprisingly good
          >> > shape for someone who had been so badly injured only 12 hours
          >> > before. He realized that it must be tied into the powers he had
          >> > gained from the anti-crime drug. He probably owed Todd his life once
          >> > again...
          >> >
          >> > Tomas was filthy, he smelled like smoke, and his clothes were torn
          >> > and bloody. His pickup truck was a pile of shattered junk, buried
          >> > beneath a thin covering of snow. He was lucky the snow was only an
          >> > inch or so deep, and the temperature was just about freezing. The
          >> > way he felt, he'd be able to get back to the main road in 20 minutes
          >> > or so, and if he could hitch a ride, he'd be home in another 20
          >> > minutes. If anyone would stop for someone who was such a mess!
          >> >
          >> > He didn't even bother to check out the pickup; he had felt and heard
          >> > the gas tank go up in the explosion. There couldn't be anything
          >> > useful there. The house was totally destroyed as well, but the barn
          >> > was still standing. He hoped maybe he could find some rags or
          >> > something in the barn, to clean up with, and maybe to use as gloves.
          >> >
          >> > He found a variety of farming tools in the barn, and he did find some
          >> > old rags. A few minutes later, looking somewhat more respectable, he
          >> > left the farm and started running down the road. Even in his
          >> > depleted condition, Tomas was faster than any normal human, and he
          >> > covered the 3 miles back to Highway 41 in a little over 15 minutes.
          >> > He started walking south, his thumb out.
          >> >
          >> > A few minutes later, he was surprised when a Highway Patrol car
          >> > pulled over. They didn't usually bother hitch hikers.
          >> >
          >> > One officer got out of the car. "Morning, son! You look kinda
          >> > banged up. Where you headed?"
          >> >
          >> > "Good morning, officer. Yeah, I had a night you might not believe.
          >> > My name's Tomas Thomson, and I'm headed home to Calumet." Tomas
          >> > showed him his ID, both Driver's License and his Dewey, Ketchum and
          >> > Howe ID.
          >> >
          >> > "We saw some footprints on Moeller Road. Was that you, Thomson?
          >> > Know anything about those explosions and the fire last night?"
          >> >
          >> > "I've got a long story, sir. Tell you what, I'm famished. If you'll
          >> > let me buy you and your partner a cup of coffee at Donna's down the
          >> > road, I'll tell you the whole thing! I'm so hungry I might pass out
          >> > otherwise!"
          >> >
          >> > "You better not be trying to bribe us, son!" said the officer with a
          >> > smile. Tomas noticed that his name was Sergeant Ken Williams. "Hop
          >> > in." Tomas got in and noticed that there were no door handles on the
          >> > inside of the back doors. Well, he wasn't trying to escape anyway.
          >> > They stopped at Donna's and as Tomas ate, he gave them the whole
          >> > story. Sergeant Williams asked him questions as his partner, Officer
          >> > Johnson, went to call in the story, and then called Dewey, Ketchum
          >> > and Howe and talked to Bonnie to verify his identity. Willaims and
          >> > Johnson were assigned to investigate further, and after they took
          >> > Tomas home to clean up some more and get some clothes, they headed
          >> > back to the now-demolished farmhouse.
          >> >
          >> > The three of them searched the demolished farmhouse and the
          >> > surrounding area closely but they couldn't find any clues. Tomas
          >> > contributed what he knew - 3 men driving a red and black Aston Martin
          >> > DB2, armed with pistols and a pistol-mounted rocket launcher. The
          >> > patrolmen were skeptical about that, but they couldn't doubt that
          >> > Tomas's pickup truck and the house had been blown up. And Tomas's
          >> > own footprints in the snow proved at least part of the story - he had
          >> > clearly been in the house sometime before the snow started.
          >> >
          >> > There had been a pretty big crowd here just after dark, with fire
          >> > trucks, cops and spectators, and nobody had seen the DB II. They had
          >> > noticed Tomas' truck, and there was a full-scale investigation team
          >> > on the way. After they searched the crime scene, Tomas was
          >> > questioned at Highway Patrol HQ. When they found out that Ida Autumn
          >> > had died in his office the day before, and he had admitted being
          >> > involved in the explosions last night, the Patrol wanted to keep him
          >> > overnight in jail, but Bonnie managed to track down Ketchum, who
          >> > convinced them to release Tomas on his own recognizance.
          >> >
          >> > Williams and Johnson dropped him off at his house, and he hit the
          >> > sack for a couple of hours. His subconscious must have been working
          >> > overtime while he slept, because he awoke with a couple of
          >> > conclusions and a lot of new questions.
          >> >
          >> > Somebody wanted him dead. It had to be Harvey Autumn; he couldn't
          >> > think of anyone else in Chicago who would come after him. The man
          >> > with the German accent must be an out-of-town hitman, and the Aston
          >> > Martin and the rocket launcher both probably belonged to him. Right
          >> > now, Tomas had an advantage - if the hitman thought Tomas was dead,
          >> > he might hang around Chicago for a few days. Tomas had to get
          >> > downtown and see if he could find that car!
          >> >
          >> > He got a cab to the train station and caught the next train into
          >> > town, and then rented a car from Hertz Driv-Ur-Self. The hitman was
          >> > obviously highly-paid, so he would probably be staying at one of the
          >> > high class hotels, the Drake, the Fairmont, the Raddison or the
          >> > Chicago Hilton. Tomas wondered for just a second if Todd was related
          >> > to the Drake Hotel, but it didn't seem likely.
          >> >
          >> > He checked in with Bonnie and told her where he was headed. Then he
          >> > went out to do some of that detective stuff!
          >> >
          >> > He parked downtown near the Raddison. He watched people go in and
          >> > out for a few minutes, and noted which of the attendants did they
          >> > valet parking for guests. During a lull in guest traffic, he walked
          >> > up to these attendants and began a conversation with them. "Hi,
          >> > guys! Did you get a chance to drive that Aston Martin DB II I saw
          >> > fly out of here a while ago? Man, what a great car!"
          >> >
          >> > "You talkin' that red and black one?" asked the guy who Tomas had
          >> > seen parking the most cars. Tomas nodded his head. The speaker had
          >> > a wistful expression on his face. "I've seen it on the streets, but
          >> > whoever owns it ain't staying here. Too bad... Man, I'd give a
          >> > bundle to take that one for a spin!" Suddenly he looked worried. He
          >> > and his mates were not supposed to drive guests' cars any further
          >> > than the garage and back. He had heard that sometimes the hotel
          >> > would hire people to report on what the employees were doing. He
          >> > might have just talked himself out of this really sweet job!
          >> >
          >> > But Tomas wasn't interested in getting these kids in trouble. He'd
          >> > found out that the DB II had been seen downtown recently, in the
          >> > grand hotel area, and even though the owner wasn't registered here,
          >> > he seemed to be on the right track.
          >> >
          >> > "Me too! I wonder what they cost? More than I'll ever have, I
          >> > bet..." and he walked away.
          >> >
          >> > This scene was repeated with minor variations at the Hilton and the
          >> > Fairmont. The guy in the Aston Martin wasn't shy about showing it
          >> > off! Which argued that he was pretty sure Tomas was dead, and there
          >> > had been no witnesses.
          >> >
          >> > Tomas had subconsciously saved the Drake for last, probably because
          >> > of the name. But at the Drake, he had some luck!
          >> >
          >> > "Tell you what, that is one fantastic car! It's weird driving on the
          >> > wrong side, but once you get used to that, it's like riding a tiger!"
          >> >
          >> > "Is it fast?" Tomas wanted to know.
          >> >
          >> > This kid was smarter than the first one, and a little
          >> > suspicious. "Sorry, pal, I don't know. I drive it from the front
          >> > door here to the parking lot, and then back again. Enough to make me
          >> > wish it was my car, but I'll never get a chance to see how fast it is.
          >> > Say" his voice turned harsh "aincha got someplace else to
          >> > be? We're busy here."
          >> >
          >> > Tomas smiled to himself, and walked away. "Thanks!" he said
          >> > cheerily, and waved. What else might he find out?
          >> >
          >> > He stopped in a sheltered doorway a ways down the street, and watched
          >> > to see where the Drake valets took the cars they parked. A covered
          >> > garage about a block from the hotel, He scouted the garage, and the
          >> > next time one of the valets brought a car around, he snuck inside
          >> > while the booth attendant was distracted. A little cautious
          >> > scouting - he could be very quiet... and a another piece of good
          >> > luck, the DB II was in the garage!
          >> >
          >> > But what was he going to do next? He didn't have any magical devices
          >> > he could stick to the car that would enable him to follow it using
          >> > his extra-sensory perception. He got the license and carefully
          >> > checked the doors and the boot, but the car was locked. No obvious
          >> > clues that he could see through the windows, either.
          >> >
          >> > He had an idea. He owed this guy big time, for his pickup truck and
          >> > his scrapes and bruises, so why not give him back a little
          >> > aggravation? And maybe he could find out who the guy was at the same
          >> > time...
          >> >
          >> > He pulled out his trusty Swiss Army knife and used the corkscrew to
          >> > bore a hole in one of the front tires. Then he covered the
          >> > headlights in turn with his jacket, and shattered them. The jacket
          >> > kept the noise to a minimum.
          >> >
          >> > Finally he headed towards one of the emergency exits. He pulled out
          >> > his pistol and, apologizing to the patron god of performance
          >> > automobiles, shot out the front windshield of the DB II and then took
          >> > off. The emergency exit let out the back, and the only attendant in
          >> > the garage was in the booth at the front, so he got away without
          >> > anyone seeing him.
          >> >
          >> > Suddenly he had doubts - suppose this wasn't the car he was
          >> > interested in? It would take him six months of successful cases just
          >> > to cover the cost of the windshield! And he doubted that Ketchum
          >> > would allow him to put it on his expense account. In fact, if this
          >> > was the wrong car, he was pretty sure Ketchum would fire him and make
          >> > sure he never got another PI job in Chicago! Come to think of it,
          >> > who was paying for this investigation, anyway, with the principal
          >> > dead? Well, he could worry about those things later.
          >> >
          >> > Opening the emergency exit set off the alarm, but he was prepared for
          >> > that. He withdrew at top speed. and by the time the disturbance had
          >> > calmed down, he was back on the street in front of the hotel. He
          >> > entered and made for the restaurant, taking a seat where he could
          >> > keep an eye on the lobby, and sure enough, in a few minutes he saw a
          >> > hotel manager escorting a very disturbed blonde man towards the
          >> > garage. The man was angry and loudly berating the manager, and Tomas
          >> > was sure it was the same man he had heard yesterday giving orders.
          >> > He heard the manager apologize to Mr. Ackerman. It was almost
          >> > certainly a pseudonym, but he sure knew a lot more now than he had
          >> > this morning.
          >> >
          >> > He felt sorry for the hotel staff for a few minutes, but their
          >> > security was lax. He was about to leave when 4 very large men came
          >> > over to his table and sat down with him.
          >> >
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • ddswanson
          Sort of a timeline problem, Doc. This story has to happen before the heroes get caught in the Suspendium trap - and the origin of Shiva has to happen after the
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 21, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            Sort of a timeline problem, Doc. This story has to happen before the heroes get caught in the Suspendium trap - and the origin of Shiva has to happen after the trap. I guess the Tomas PI story has to happen in around February 1953, and the origin of Shiva must be in late 1953, and the origin of Red Rocket and Tom Atomic must happen in early 1954.

            If you ever get up to Crisis on Earth S, please don't post that one. It needs major rewrites and there is no continuity built from it, so leaving it out shouldn't affect anything else.




            --- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, The Time Trust <the_time_trust_2000@...> wrote:
            >
            > One of the things I'm doing with the new Five Earths site is editing all previously archived stories to remove any inconsistencies within the story or with other stories published either by the comics publishers or by us. Despite the great amount of editing that has previously been done by myself and others, there are several errors still out there. That's why I tag all stories that have simply been imported in to the new site but not edited since then as "unedited."
            >
            > So if you want to submit an edited version of that story, I'd appreciate it. I'm not editing the Earth-S stories right now (too busy with Earth-1 and Earth-2 at the moment), but I will be sometime soon.
            >
            >  
            > --
            > Cheers,
            > Doc Quantum of The Time Trust
            >
            >
            > Read stories of your favorite DC Comics characters at the Five Earths Project!
            > www.5earths.info
            >
            >
            > >________________________________
            > > From: ddswanson <ddswanson@...>
            > >To: ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com
            > >Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:38:33 AM
            > >Subject: [Shazam Earth S Lives on] Re: Tomas Thomson investigates - Chapter 6
            > >
            > >
            > > 
            > >Well, I would have to rewrite to get rid of the snow - so it must be more like October.
            > >
            > >I wonder if the Mosad ever made it into any other comic book fanfic?
            > >
            > >--- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Doc Quantum" <the_time_trust_2000@> wrote:
            > >>
            > >> Does this story have unseasonal snow, or are the references to winter a mistake? The beginning of this story places it in August. Other than that, great story. I've been catching up on my Earth-S, and I love seeing these kinds of genre fiction.
            > >>
            > >> Cheers,
            > >> Doc
            > >>
            > >> --- In ShazamEarthSliveson@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Swanson" <ddswanson@> wrote:
            > >> >
            > >> >
            > >> > When Tomas returned to self-awareness, for a short second or so he
            > >> > thought he was back in NoWhere. He couldn't see anything. But he
            > >> > quickly realized that he could feel his body, so he wasn't off in
            > >> > mental never-never land again.
            > >> > Well, actually, what he was feeling was his head! He had a headache
            > >> > that felt as if someone were using sledgehammers as drumsticks on his
            > >> > head. He breathed in very small sips of air, trying to make sure his
            > >> > head didn't move when he breathed. The air around him seemed very
            > >> > stale, and he felt as if he were choking. He sluggishly put two and
            > >> > two together in his slowly working mind. "The oxygen in here is
            > >> > almost gone! I'm suffocating!" This galvanized him into action,
            > >> > painful headache or no.
            > >> > Trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his head, he reached up and
            > >> > found the trapdoor, and heaved up underneath it. It flipped open, and
            > >> > cold, sweet fresh air blew in. Tomas breathed deeply, and after
            > >> > several minutes, his headache started to improve. When the pain had
            > >> > finally diminished to about the level of a medium hangover, he
            > >> > climbed up and out of the ice room.
            > >> > The sun was just rising. He had fallen into that room more than 12
            > >> > hours ago, during part of which time a fire had been burning
            > >> > overhead, consuming oxygen. No wonder his head hurt so badly. It
            > >> > was probably a good thing he had been unconscious, or he would have
            > >> > needed more air, and might not have survived.
            > >> > His headache continued to clear, and he was surprised at how well he
            > >> > felt overall. In fact, it seemed almost impossible that he could have
            > >> > climbed out of the ice room so easily given his recent injury. But
            > >> > his leg felt fine, with no trace of pain! He gently reached up to
            > >> > touch his head, where he had bashed it, and there was a small lump
            > >> > there, and it was a little sore, but nothing to worry about. Then he
            > >> > realized that he was very very thirsty and as hungry as he could ever
            > >> > remember being before.
            > >> > It had snowed while he had been unconscious, which made the footing
            > >> > very treacherous as he scrambled out of the cellar and made his way
            > >> > over the remains of the demolished house. He didn't even think about
            > >> > looking for the bad guys until he reached some solid ground, and he
            > >> > was lucky they hadn't stuck around. If there had been a shooter
            > >> > nearby, he would have been shot. He could see no tracks of any kind
            > >> > in the snow, so if anyone had come to check out the explosions and
            > >> > the fire, they must have left before the snow started.
            > >> >
            > >> > Tomas picked up a handful of snow and ate it. It didn't do much for
            > >> > his hunger, but helped his thirst a little. He grabbed several more
            > >> > handfuls and eventually his stomach started to quiet down a little
            > >> > bit, but he knew he had only fooled it temporarily. He checked
            > >> > himself out again, and realized that he was in surprisingly good
            > >> > shape for someone who had been so badly injured only 12 hours
            > >> > before. He realized that it must be tied into the powers he had
            > >> > gained from the anti-crime drug. He probably owed Todd his life once
            > >> > again...
            > >> >
            > >> > Tomas was filthy, he smelled like smoke, and his clothes were torn
            > >> > and bloody. His pickup truck was a pile of shattered junk, buried
            > >> > beneath a thin covering of snow. He was lucky the snow was only an
            > >> > inch or so deep, and the temperature was just about freezing. The
            > >> > way he felt, he'd be able to get back to the main road in 20 minutes
            > >> > or so, and if he could hitch a ride, he'd be home in another 20
            > >> > minutes. If anyone would stop for someone who was such a mess!
            > >> >
            > >> > He didn't even bother to check out the pickup; he had felt and heard
            > >> > the gas tank go up in the explosion. There couldn't be anything
            > >> > useful there. The house was totally destroyed as well, but the barn
            > >> > was still standing. He hoped maybe he could find some rags or
            > >> > something in the barn, to clean up with, and maybe to use as gloves.
            > >> >
            > >> > He found a variety of farming tools in the barn, and he did find some
            > >> > old rags. A few minutes later, looking somewhat more respectable, he
            > >> > left the farm and started running down the road. Even in his
            > >> > depleted condition, Tomas was faster than any normal human, and he
            > >> > covered the 3 miles back to Highway 41 in a little over 15 minutes.
            > >> > He started walking south, his thumb out.
            > >> >
            > >> > A few minutes later, he was surprised when a Highway Patrol car
            > >> > pulled over. They didn't usually bother hitch hikers.
            > >> >
            > >> > One officer got out of the car. "Morning, son! You look kinda
            > >> > banged up. Where you headed?"
            > >> >
            > >> > "Good morning, officer. Yeah, I had a night you might not believe.
            > >> > My name's Tomas Thomson, and I'm headed home to Calumet." Tomas
            > >> > showed him his ID, both Driver's License and his Dewey, Ketchum and
            > >> > Howe ID.
            > >> >
            > >> > "We saw some footprints on Moeller Road. Was that you, Thomson?
            > >> > Know anything about those explosions and the fire last night?"
            > >> >
            > >> > "I've got a long story, sir. Tell you what, I'm famished. If you'll
            > >> > let me buy you and your partner a cup of coffee at Donna's down the
            > >> > road, I'll tell you the whole thing! I'm so hungry I might pass out
            > >> > otherwise!"
            > >> >
            > >> > "You better not be trying to bribe us, son!" said the officer with a
            > >> > smile. Tomas noticed that his name was Sergeant Ken Williams. "Hop
            > >> > in." Tomas got in and noticed that there were no door handles on the
            > >> > inside of the back doors. Well, he wasn't trying to escape anyway.
            > >> > They stopped at Donna's and as Tomas ate, he gave them the whole
            > >> > story. Sergeant Williams asked him questions as his partner, Officer
            > >> > Johnson, went to call in the story, and then called Dewey, Ketchum
            > >> > and Howe and talked to Bonnie to verify his identity. Willaims and
            > >> > Johnson were assigned to investigate further, and after they took
            > >> > Tomas home to clean up some more and get some clothes, they headed
            > >> > back to the now-demolished farmhouse.
            > >> >
            > >> > The three of them searched the demolished farmhouse and the
            > >> > surrounding area closely but they couldn't find any clues. Tomas
            > >> > contributed what he knew - 3 men driving a red and black Aston Martin
            > >> > DB2, armed with pistols and a pistol-mounted rocket launcher. The
            > >> > patrolmen were skeptical about that, but they couldn't doubt that
            > >> > Tomas's pickup truck and the house had been blown up. And Tomas's
            > >> > own footprints in the snow proved at least part of the story - he had
            > >> > clearly been in the house sometime before the snow started.
            > >> >
            > >> > There had been a pretty big crowd here just after dark, with fire
            > >> > trucks, cops and spectators, and nobody had seen the DB II. They had
            > >> > noticed Tomas' truck, and there was a full-scale investigation team
            > >> > on the way. After they searched the crime scene, Tomas was
            > >> > questioned at Highway Patrol HQ. When they found out that Ida Autumn
            > >> > had died in his office the day before, and he had admitted being
            > >> > involved in the explosions last night, the Patrol wanted to keep him
            > >> > overnight in jail, but Bonnie managed to track down Ketchum, who
            > >> > convinced them to release Tomas on his own recognizance.
            > >> >
            > >> > Williams and Johnson dropped him off at his house, and he hit the
            > >> > sack for a couple of hours. His subconscious must have been working
            > >> > overtime while he slept, because he awoke with a couple of
            > >> > conclusions and a lot of new questions.
            > >> >
            > >> > Somebody wanted him dead. It had to be Harvey Autumn; he couldn't
            > >> > think of anyone else in Chicago who would come after him. The man
            > >> > with the German accent must be an out-of-town hitman, and the Aston
            > >> > Martin and the rocket launcher both probably belonged to him. Right
            > >> > now, Tomas had an advantage - if the hitman thought Tomas was dead,
            > >> > he might hang around Chicago for a few days. Tomas had to get
            > >> > downtown and see if he could find that car!
            > >> >
            > >> > He got a cab to the train station and caught the next train into
            > >> > town, and then rented a car from Hertz Driv-Ur-Self. The hitman was
            > >> > obviously highly-paid, so he would probably be staying at one of the
            > >> > high class hotels, the Drake, the Fairmont, the Raddison or the
            > >> > Chicago Hilton. Tomas wondered for just a second if Todd was related
            > >> > to the Drake Hotel, but it didn't seem likely.
            > >> >
            > >> > He checked in with Bonnie and told her where he was headed. Then he
            > >> > went out to do some of that detective stuff!
            > >> >
            > >> > He parked downtown near the Raddison. He watched people go in and
            > >> > out for a few minutes, and noted which of the attendants did they
            > >> > valet parking for guests. During a lull in guest traffic, he walked
            > >> > up to these attendants and began a conversation with them. "Hi,
            > >> > guys! Did you get a chance to drive that Aston Martin DB II I saw
            > >> > fly out of here a while ago? Man, what a great car!"
            > >> >
            > >> > "You talkin' that red and black one?" asked the guy who Tomas had
            > >> > seen parking the most cars. Tomas nodded his head. The speaker had
            > >> > a wistful expression on his face. "I've seen it on the streets, but
            > >> > whoever owns it ain't staying here. Too bad... Man, I'd give a
            > >> > bundle to take that one for a spin!" Suddenly he looked worried. He
            > >> > and his mates were not supposed to drive guests' cars any further
            > >> > than the garage and back. He had heard that sometimes the hotel
            > >> > would hire people to report on what the employees were doing. He
            > >> > might have just talked himself out of this really sweet job!
            > >> >
            > >> > But Tomas wasn't interested in getting these kids in trouble. He'd
            > >> > found out that the DB II had been seen downtown recently, in the
            > >> > grand hotel area, and even though the owner wasn't registered here,
            > >> > he seemed to be on the right track.
            > >> >
            > >> > "Me too! I wonder what they cost? More than I'll ever have, I
            > >> > bet..." and he walked away.
            > >> >
            > >> > This scene was repeated with minor variations at the Hilton and the
            > >> > Fairmont. The guy in the Aston Martin wasn't shy about showing it
            > >> > off! Which argued that he was pretty sure Tomas was dead, and there
            > >> > had been no witnesses.
            > >> >
            > >> > Tomas had subconsciously saved the Drake for last, probably because
            > >> > of the name. But at the Drake, he had some luck!
            > >> >
            > >> > "Tell you what, that is one fantastic car! It's weird driving on the
            > >> > wrong side, but once you get used to that, it's like riding a tiger!"
            > >> >
            > >> > "Is it fast?" Tomas wanted to know.
            > >> >
            > >> > This kid was smarter than the first one, and a little
            > >> > suspicious. "Sorry, pal, I don't know. I drive it from the front
            > >> > door here to the parking lot, and then back again. Enough to make me
            > >> > wish it was my car, but I'll never get a chance to see how fast it is.
            > >> > Say" his voice turned harsh "aincha got someplace else to
            > >> > be? We're busy here."
            > >> >
            > >> > Tomas smiled to himself, and walked away. "Thanks!" he said
            > >> > cheerily, and waved. What else might he find out?
            > >> >
            > >> > He stopped in a sheltered doorway a ways down the street, and watched
            > >> > to see where the Drake valets took the cars they parked. A covered
            > >> > garage about a block from the hotel, He scouted the garage, and the
            > >> > next time one of the valets brought a car around, he snuck inside
            > >> > while the booth attendant was distracted. A little cautious
            > >> > scouting - he could be very quiet... and a another piece of good
            > >> > luck, the DB II was in the garage!
            > >> >
            > >> > But what was he going to do next? He didn't have any magical devices
            > >> > he could stick to the car that would enable him to follow it using
            > >> > his extra-sensory perception. He got the license and carefully
            > >> > checked the doors and the boot, but the car was locked. No obvious
            > >> > clues that he could see through the windows, either.
            > >> >
            > >> > He had an idea. He owed this guy big time, for his pickup truck and
            > >> > his scrapes and bruises, so why not give him back a little
            > >> > aggravation? And maybe he could find out who the guy was at the same
            > >> > time...
            > >> >
            > >> > He pulled out his trusty Swiss Army knife and used the corkscrew to
            > >> > bore a hole in one of the front tires. Then he covered the
            > >> > headlights in turn with his jacket, and shattered them. The jacket
            > >> > kept the noise to a minimum.
            > >> >
            > >> > Finally he headed towards one of the emergency exits. He pulled out
            > >> > his pistol and, apologizing to the patron god of performance
            > >> > automobiles, shot out the front windshield of the DB II and then took
            > >> > off. The emergency exit let out the back, and the only attendant in
            > >> > the garage was in the booth at the front, so he got away without
            > >> > anyone seeing him.
            > >> >
            > >> > Suddenly he had doubts - suppose this wasn't the car he was
            > >> > interested in? It would take him six months of successful cases just
            > >> > to cover the cost of the windshield! And he doubted that Ketchum
            > >> > would allow him to put it on his expense account. In fact, if this
            > >> > was the wrong car, he was pretty sure Ketchum would fire him and make
            > >> > sure he never got another PI job in Chicago! Come to think of it,
            > >> > who was paying for this investigation, anyway, with the principal
            > >> > dead? Well, he could worry about those things later.
            > >> >
            > >> > Opening the emergency exit set off the alarm, but he was prepared for
            > >> > that. He withdrew at top speed. and by the time the disturbance had
            > >> > calmed down, he was back on the street in front of the hotel. He
            > >> > entered and made for the restaurant, taking a seat where he could
            > >> > keep an eye on the lobby, and sure enough, in a few minutes he saw a
            > >> > hotel manager escorting a very disturbed blonde man towards the
            > >> > garage. The man was angry and loudly berating the manager, and Tomas
            > >> > was sure it was the same man he had heard yesterday giving orders.
            > >> > He heard the manager apologize to Mr. Ackerman. It was almost
            > >> > certainly a pseudonym, but he sure knew a lot more now than he had
            > >> > this morning.
            > >> >
            > >> > He felt sorry for the hotel staff for a few minutes, but their
            > >> > security was lax. He was about to leave when 4 very large men came
            > >> > over to his table and sat down with him.
            > >> >
            > >>
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
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