Accused

Fiction detailing the ongoing events on the Homeline and numerous parallel Worldlines.

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Mon Mar 21, 2022 7:04 am

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Sun May 08, 2022 3:36 pm

Detective Constable Agnes Warner looked up from the hastily scrawled report she was reading when there was a resounding thud on the office door.
The room wasn’t huge, five desks crammed together and another office, smaller again, attached to it.
Two of those desks were piled with boxes containing note upon note on their current case.
Of the other three desks, which were for her and her colleagues, hers was the only one currently occupied. It wasn’t surprising at this hour.
It was four in the morning and other than those uniformed officers pulling the nightshift the building was like a morgue.
Agnes found this to be the best time of the day to think and get her notes ready for the morning briefing as she was very unlikely to get disturbed.
That was why she’d jumped with fright at the bang on the door and had frozen still, listening, wondering who the hell it could be?
“Hello?” she called after a moment or two. More thuds followed and she realised it was somebody kicking the door. Not hard like in an aggressive way but like someone with their hands full knocking with their foot.
Huffing in annoyance she put down the report and opened the door.
Arthur Guthrie was standing there folding a tray upon which sat a tea pot with steam rising from the spout, two cups and saucers, a jug of milk and a bowl of sugar.
Clasped between his teeth was a white paper bag, grease stained from whatever was within.
“Oh, Assistant Commissioner! I didn’t realise it was you,” she said stepping aside for her boss.
Arthur Guthrie nodded jovially to Agnes and put the tray down on one of the empty desks then removed the bag from between his teeth.
“A little birdie tells me you come in early every day to make sure you know everything for the morning brief?”
“Err, yes, sir, I have been these last two weeks since I was assigned to this case.”
Guthrie opened the bag and pulled out a sandwich thick with bacon and fired eggs then handed the bag to Agnes.
“Breakfast?” he asked.
Agnes took the bag and discovered another sandwich within.
She didn’t normally have a large breakfast, just fruit if she could afford it or porridge, but how could she refuse this offer.
“Thank you, Gov,” she said.
“By god!” the thought as she bit into it. “This is good!”
Guthrie went into the adjoining office.
“Pour the tea, Agnes, would you?” he called out.
Agnes would normally tell her colleagues to pour their own blasted tea, but this was her boss and she didn’t actually think the Assistant Commissioner was being sexist this time. After all, he did go to the trouble of making the brew and buying her breakfast in the first place.
“So what makes you come in so early?” Guthrie asked as he accepted the cup of tea.
“It’s quiet, sir. I can get on with a few things without any distraction. Sometimes a case can be a bit sporadic, we react to information as it arrives and don’t always get a chance to sort through it or write-up what we need to. I just concluded that in this high profile case that we would need to make sure our, erm, shit is in order, sir!”
Guthrie chuckled. “Yes, that is most important. We caught him in the act, bloody well don’t want to let him walk over some technicality, not that any judge would consider anything other than the rope for that cad! But still, well done, Agnes.”
They finished eating and sipped at the hot tea.
“Come on then, bring me up to date on where we are. Imagine I’m new and joining the team today.”
Agnes shrugged in surprise.
“Right, yes sir. So we are currently engaged in a manhunt for the man the papers are calling the Prince-Killer, also known as Viscount Sebastian Reynolds, the Baron of Roborough. He escaped from New Gate prison three weeks ago. Viscount Reynolds is the third generation of Reynolds to hold the Barony but the first to be titled Viscount.”
“As well as the Landed Title and the money from his inheritance, Lord Reynolds has amassed a considerable fortune through numerous business ventures, as did his father and his father before him, meaning our quarry is intelligent, resourceful and has contacts in all walks of life.”
“As we find the situation we have not been able to track down Lord Reynolds at any of his known properties or businesses. We have also investigated many of his known acquaintances. There are some avenues left to explore but they aren’t an easy route.”
“In what way?” Guthrie asked even though he knew the answer.
“Well sir, some of the names on that list are very important and powerful people. Obtaining permission to search their properties is proving difficult. For example, Lord Tebbit, the Foreign Secretary; Mr William Strachan, director of Vickers Armaments who as you know are the lead supplier of arms and vehicles to the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to name but a few. Although if the Earl of Falmouth is anything to go by, the task is not insurmountable.”
Warner noticed the assistant commissioners questioning look and realised that this was news to him.
“Oh, well, as you may be aware Lord Falmouth had strongly opposed the search of his premises without what he considered adequate grounds and the local police had been stalled, however after pressure from the Home Secretary he relented and the search was conducted yesterday evening sir. No sign of Reynolds, which isn’t a surprise. After all, even if Reynolds was there we wouldn’t be likely to find him?”
“Why not?”
“The place is enormous, sir. We’d need every officer in Cornwall to be searching the place else Reynolds could easily be in one part while we are looking in another.”
Guthrie was silent for a while.
“Very good, Agnes. We need to find him. We must expand the list to include anyone with more than a fleeting acquaintance with him. Reynolds can be very charismatic and persuasive. Maybe he could have convinced one of them to have sheltered him.”
“All of them, sir?”
“Yes, every single person. No one is exempt from this investigation.”
“That list, sir, if you don’t mind me saying, includes foreign dignitaries and even Her Majesty, the Queen herself.”
“Really? Reynolds is known personally to the Queen other that through his peerage?”
“Yes, sir. Apparently he has performed services to the country and to her Majesty personally all of which are of a classified nature.”
“When did we find that out?”
“Last week, sir. Came through on a dossier from Thames House.”
Well that throws a wolf into the henhouse, and to hell with the bloody fox, Guthrie thought. But he had an investigation and man-hunt to run. He couldn’t afford to get involved with the other nuances of the case.
“Obviously we won’t be asking the Queen if she is sheltering her grand-nephew’s killer, will we? So no one but the Queen is exempt.”

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Thu May 26, 2022 9:33 pm

“Sir?”
“Yes, Agnes?”
“May I ask something? It has been bothering me for some time now and I feel I should ask?”
“Of course,” Guthrie said.
“Well it’s about Lord Reynolds’ motive.”
“Go on,” Guthrie encouraged but he already had an idea where this was going.
“Why would he do it?”
“Agnes, surely that is what motive is, the reason why a person does a thing?”
“No, I mean to say, Lord Reynolds is a very successful businessman in his own right, you only have to look at his fortune to see that. And now it comes to light that he’d the personal acquaintance of Her Majesty herself? What possible motive could drive him to destroy all that by killing her great nephew?”
“That is a very good question, but not one we have to worry about anymore. Reynolds was caught red-handed, so to speak. His escape from custody reveals his guilt, any trial he faces will be a mere formality.”
“Hmm, I suppose you’re right.”
“You don’t sound convinced?”
“Well sir, I’d like to understand the motive.”
“Agnes, this is now a man-hunt. We are hunting down a killer, nothing more. Working out who did it is a waste of effort – we already know who and we don’t care why.”
She nodded and was quiet, filling time by sorting papers around her desk.
“I think we should investigate, sir,” she said.
“Investigate what?”
“His motive, or more specifically what drove him to do it,” Agnes said putting her hands up to hold off any retort from her boss.
“My thinking is that if we can discover his why, then it might give us more direction in our search for him. Frankly, we are flailing in the dark at the moment, spreading our resources thin over multiple avenues. If Reynolds’ had help, or was even doing this on someone else’s behalf, then that someone could be helping him now. Then we could focus our efforts that way.”
Guthrie mulled that over for a moment.
“Of course, bloody good thinking, detective. Pull another team together. I want you to lead that squad. Get me the motive and get me a place to find that bastard.”
“Yes sir.” Agnes grabbed her coat and a notebook. “I’ll go and gather some troops,” she said. “Oh, and thank you for breakfast.”
“My pleasure,” Guthrie smiled.
He watched her go. Stood for a while staring at the door. She was a good copper. He congratulated himself on choosing her for his team.

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Mon Jun 20, 2022 4:31 am

The sun had cleared the tops of the trees on the hillside behind Maristow House, bathing it and the surrounding grounds in the warm light of early autumn. The place looked serene and tranquil as four black steam wagons rolled over the brow of the hill and down towards the Tavy River on the small country road that would lead them to Lopwell Dam and the ford.
Halfway down the hill the cars turned left onto the driveway of the old mansion, finally pulling to a halt outside the grand old building.
From the doorway into the house, Danvers the aging butler who had served the Reynolds family for over fifty years huffed loudly as he read the word ‘Police’ painted in white on the sides of the wagons. He sighed louder as dozens of officers alighted from the vehicles and began amassing at the foot of the steps.
From the last wagon a man in a suit smoothed down his coat, adjusted his collar and began speaking with some of the uniformed officers.
Danvers sneered in their general direction and turned to the young housemaid, Suzie, who was standing just inside peering out over the old man’s shoulder.
“That idiot policemen is back. Run and fetch Lady Rebecca.”
He closed the door even though some of the policemen had already begun climbing the stairs.
Moments later the doorbell rang. Danvers stood motionless, sneering at the large white-painted doors.
“Bastards can wait,” he grumbled at no one in particular.

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Wed Jun 29, 2022 8:09 am

Mark Whitmore sat quietly in his office listening to the hustle and bustle of the yard outside his window.
Men sang in the distance as they loaded wooden crates into the container that would be lifted by one of the heavy steam cranes onto the awaiting rolling stock that sat patiently in the rail line beside the warehouse.
Whitmore had a foul headache, hence the reason he was sitting with his eyes shut, his glasses on top of the paperwork he had been sorting through.
It was for that reason that he wasn’t aware that he had visitors until he heard Veronica Bleeth’s frustrated voice insisting the Mr Whitmore not be disturbed.
As Whitmore’s eyes opened, so did his office door.
A man with huge mutton-chop sideburns that nestled upon his coat collar peered down at him with serious eyes.
“Erm, yes? May I help you?” Whitmore asked popping his glasses back on.
“I’m so sorry,” Veronica said from behind the man and Whitmore noticed that behind her were two uniformed policemen.
The mutton-chopped man nodded respectfully.
“Mr Whitmore, I have here a warrant to search these premises.”
“What, prey tell, are you looking for now?”
“It’s related to Lord Reynolds.”
“Lord Reynolds isn’t here.”
“That may well be, sir, but never-the-less, we’ll be going over every inch, and we’ll need your accounts too.”
Whitmore seethed inside but maintained his poise.
“Certainly,” he said with a heavy sigh.

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Sun Jul 17, 2022 8:58 pm

The zep-car emerged from the cloud cover, its ether engines whining loudly.
it was more a wagon than a car with the bulbous, almost cushion like chassis that contained the lighter-than-air ether gas.

From the parapets of Doonarry House, itself more a castle than a house, Laird James Alexander McMasters watched the vehicle ascend in an arc that brought it around to the front courtyard.
He’d already noticed the crest of the Metropolitan Police emblazoned upon the side.
“What the hell do these bastards want?” he grumbled to the darkening sky.
Glancing back at the door he thought about the convoluted route back down to the front hall.
“Sod that!” he said, stepping up onto the edge of the parapet. Then he stepped off, dropping freefall until he was only about ten feet above the ground when it seemed as though lightning was forming on the floor beneath him, reaching up to catch the falling Laird and arresting his descent placing him gently upon his feet.
The police officers who alighted looked flabbergasted.
“Erm!” one said incredulously, “I’m looking to find Laird McMasters, if you go fetch him.”
“Aye, well ya found him,” McMasters said.
“Right, well, my utmost apologies my lord, but I have been given instruction to search the premises.” He genuinely looked embarrassed.
“Alright laddie.”
“Sir?”
“I said, alright.”
“Oh, right! Thank you, my lord.”
“Aye, nay bother,” McMasters stepped aside waving his arm towards the main door that was being opened by a surprised looking butler.
Still surprised himself, the officer gathered his men around him and gave them instructions.
Then as the policemen began filing up the steps McMasters cleared his throat loud enough to make them all stop.
“What is it you’re looking for, might I ask?”
“We’re searching for Lord Reynolds,” the lead officer said, then added, “And we have a high court warrant issued to seize your accounts.”
McMasters appeared to mull that over for a moment. “No fucking way you’re taking my accounts.”
“We have a warrant, sir,” the policeman spluttered.
“Och! Alright then!” McMasters said sarcastically.
He began striding up the steps two at a time. “Let me get the door for ye,” he said.
He marched in through the open door, fixing his butler with a knowing look.
“Repel intruders, sir?” the butler inquired.
“Aye!” McMasters replied.
The heavy door swung shut ahead of the officers.
Someone banged on the door.
“Lord McMasters, this is not helping.”
From around the door came a sudden series of incredibly bright white flashes, a chorus of surprised and pained yelps and then nothing. Silence.
McMasters opened the door. All the policemen were down, motionless or writhing deliriously.
“And here we go!” McMasters gave a grim chuckle and closed the door.

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Tue Aug 23, 2022 7:58 pm

Marrisa Lockheart took the tray that was offered to her by the aging butler.
“Thank you, my dear,” the old man said.
She looked at him, a granddaughter to beloved grandfather.
“Well, be off with you girl! The tea will be stone cold else!”
“Yes, Dan-Dan,” she smiled using the nickname she gave him when she was just a tiny toddler and couldn’t say granddad properly.
He watched her swiftly depart, the cups and saucers chinking quietly as she went.
When she was out of sight the old man sighed and put a steadying hand to the table beside him.
After he’d caught his breath he straightened his back, brushed down a non-existent crease in his coat, adjusted his bow tie and wandered towards the narrow granite stairs that led up to the main building.
At the top of the stairs he stopped, cocking his head to one side.
The quiet yet insistent chime of the ether phone called out to anyone that would listen in the hope that someone would answer it. That someone was usually Danvers.
When he did answer he saw the smoky green projection of the caller suspended above the ornate wood and brass device. He recognised it as Harrold Wright from the village post office in Roborough. The postmaster spoke in hushed yet hurried tones warning Danvers of their impending visitors.

“Bloody hell!” the aging Maristow House butler cursed after his call. Ignoring the back-pain and the aching knees he took the stairs up two at a time.

Five black ether-cars pulled onto the drive at Lopwell, tyres crunching on the gravel as they approached Maristow House, the seat of the Barony of Roborough.
In procession they came to a halt forming an arc around the ornate fountain. From the cars emerged police officers, their uniforms dark, crisp and clean.
The lead car disgorged two men and a woman, the men in suits and the woman similarly dressed except for her long skirt instead of trousers.
Rebecca Reynolds, waiting to receive them, was surprised when the two men, one much older than his companions stood taking orders from the dark skinned woman.
The woman approached her face smooth, young and serious. She stopped just in from of Rebecca.
“Miss Rebecca Reynolds?” Agnes inquired.
“I am,” the slight woman in the burgundy dress confirmed.
Agnes noted the dress was expensive and very fashionably cut.
The trend these days was still very similar to those of a hundred years previous, however the en-vogue fashion has the front of the dress very short, showing much of the leg while remaining very Victorian at the back with the ruffles and bows et all. It was a risqué fashion adopted by the young and wealthy and emulated down through the classes. There was a very fine line, Agnes was aware, between acceptable fashion and slut.
“My name is Detective Sergeant Agnes Warner,” Agnes said rather proudly. She was still getting used to the promotion herself and liked the sound of those words as she spoke them. “I’m with Scotland Yard. I have here a warrant to seize all property herewith and to take you, your family and staff into custody where you will be placed under house arrest.”
Agnes brandished the requisite paperwork.
“I trust you will not be obstructing my officers and I in our duties.
Rebecca frowned. “You’re taking Maristow? But this is my home, my children live here. My staff and their families live here. This cannot be correct, you can’t do this!”
Warner thrust the piece of paper at her.
“I can. You and your family are under arrest. Your staff will be detained at Bodmin Jail while you will be taken to your brother’s Knightsbridge address and held under house arrest with the rest of your family until such time as your brother is apprehended.”
Rebecca’s face reddened, tears formed in her green eyes. She turned to Danvers who stood just behind her.
“It’s alright, m’lady, you will be fine, as will we,” he said reassuringly. Then to Sergeant Warner he said, “She will be fine, no harm will come to her or her children or so help me god I’ll have something to say about it.”
Warner almost laughed in his face. “That would be a prospect I wouldn’t relish, I assure you. However, we are not complete beasts, Danvers, it is Danvers, isn’t it? We are here to uphold the law and in doing so protect the citizens of this great country. It is not our intention do bring harm to Miss Reynolds nor to you and the rest of the staff. We do however need you off this site.”
The young detective turned to her officers.
“Take everyone into custody, then tear this place apart. I want to know every dirty secret Reynolds has here. I want to know everything.”

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Re: Accused

Post by Keeper » Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:31 pm

Agnes Warner eased herself into the comfortable leather chair that sat behind a huge heavy desk. The wood of the desk was dark, with a slight greenish tinge to it. Definitely not oak, but other than that conclusion she had no clue what it was made of.
At that point, as it had done numerous times before already, her interest in the desk’s origins vanished.
What took her attention now were the stacks of paper and documents covering said desk.
Piles, some almost a foot high, had been sorted business and each containing financial records, deeds, contracts and various other summary information.
What amazed Warner above all else was the sheer volume. There were at least thirty different businesses here, ranging from faceless investment companies in London and Paris to an import-export company in Southampton to a theatre in Shaftsbury Avenue called ‘The Magdeline’ to a small bakery in St Ives way down in Cornwall, and many in between.
Sat at various desks and tables in front of her were her investigative team; a couple of detectives and four very keen accountants drafted in for this case.
The latter were scouring the business accounts, the former going through Reynolds’ other documentation looking for anything that might help them discover where the Viscount may have gone, but also for any possible motive.
Right now, with everything laid out in front of her, the multiple millions of pounds that these documents represented didn’t give much of a motive for someone who had apparently risked life and limb to protect crown and country, to suddenly act in such a way as to jeopardise everything. And it seemed very obvious that Lord Reynolds relished his title and the privileges that it bestowed upon him.
She could just not see why Reynolds would kill such a senior and beloved figure in society?

But he’d been caught standing over the body. Not damning in itself, but there was no one else around and the room had but one entrance.
The note found upon the young Lord’s body from Reynold asking him to meet privately and urgently seemed to indicate his guilt somewhat, but in the arresting officers account there is mention of a similar note being found on Reynolds, apparently sent by the young Duke.
Agnes had gone through all of the evidence boxes and not been able to find it, making her doubt the statement. It was something she was going to have to look into the next time she was in London. Either way, her suspicions over Reynolds’ lack of motive kept growing.

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