Chapter 1

Alice Clark had thoroughly enjoyed her association with Bruce McLoud/David Smith and wanted to continue working with the investigative side of his organization. Being a receptionist was OK, but she craved the action associated with actual investigations and crime-busting.

She realized that Bruce was right, she needed to establish at least two alternate personalities, one female and one male. She figured that it would be easier for her, for obvious reasons, to develop the female persona first. She needed to start out with a name and a physical appearance. She wanted to make the persona as unconnected with any existing people as possible, so she picked a name out of the blue: Janet Jones. There must be hundreds of women with that name, but no one she knew, so it should be safe. She decided that her body should be average in every way, pretty, but not beautiful. She chose a White skin for the convenience of not having to worry about racial stereotyping among the majority of US citizens. For the fun of it, she chose a birthday of February 14th, 1925; it was easy to remember and it tickled her fancy.

She would have to get a driver's license and show a history of attending school. She would also get a college degree, probably in business. She would have to be an orphan so that she didn't need to exhibit any parents. She would find an orphanage that had its records destroyed in a fire or flood and claim to have lived there since she was too young to remember any thing about a family. That should be enough to satisfy the FBI when they checked on her. Anything else, she would fix as it came up.

Her male name would be Harold Anderson and she would adjust her appearance to pretty much the same standards she had selected for Janet Jones. This time she chose a birthday of July 1st, 1924. She would do the records of Harold's life the same way she did for Janet.

Alice jumped to the house in the EU and practiced shifting her body into the two new shapes she needed. She was not surprised to find that she had more trouble assuming the male body; she had to chuckle that she had the most problems getting the penis and scrotum right.

It took her several days to get all the records falsified for the two new personae, but she finally got it all done, including the private investigator licenses.

Now that she had done all that, it was time to test her acting skill. She jumped back to her office the moment after she had left and called the Atlanta FBI office.

"Hello, this is Alice Clark of David Smith, Investigations. May I speak to Agent Jones or Agent Williams, please."

"Agent Jones speaking. How are you, today, Mrs. Clark?"

"Hello, Agent Jones. I'm doing right well. Mr. Smith would like to speak to you for a minute. Please hold on."

Alice switched to the voice Bruce used when speaking as David Smith. "Hello, Agent Jones. I have an associate I'd like for you to meet. She's Janet Jones. She's highly competent and has my full confidence. I'm going to be out of town for a few weeks to a few months and I'd like to recommend that you contact her for any work that you'd normally pass on to me. I'm catching a plane out of town in a few minutes, so I won't be here to introduce you. When would be a convenient time for you to meet her?"

"How about tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM? Will that be convenient for her?"

"She's in the office with me right now; I'll ask her... She says 10:00 AM will be fine. I've got to run or I'll miss my plane. I'll see you later. Goodbye."

The next morning, Alice TPed to the EU and changed into the Janet Jones persona. She put on a suitably conservative outfit and TPed to the hall outside the FBI office. Janet walked up to the receptionist and said, "Good morning, I'm Janet Jones. I have an appointment at 10:00 with Agent Jones."

"Certainly, Miss Jones. Please be seated and I tell him that you are here."

The receptionist dialed a number, spoke for a moment, and said, "Agent Jones will be out in a moment, Miss Jones."

"Thank you."

A very few minutes later, Agent Jones came through a door and approached Janet. "How do you do, Miss Jones? I'm Agent Jones. Amusing coincidence with the names, isn't it?" he said, with a grin.

Janet smiled and said, "Yes, it is. But Jones is a common name."

"True. Follow me, please. We'll use one of the conference rooms in back."

"Ah, here we are, Miss Jones. Please take a seat."

"Thank you, Agent Jones. I think you know why I am here."

"Yes, I do. You picked an excellent time to call, since we have a case we wanted to discuss with Mr. Smith. There was a bank robbery in Macon about five weeks ago that we would like for your agency to look into. We'll pay Mr. Smith's usual rate.

"You probably read about the case in the newspaper. Two people were killed during the robbery: the guard and a teller. Approximately $740,000 was taken. We don't have much in the way of clues and we hoped that Mr. Smith could come up with something."

"I'll be happy to look into the case as see what we can come up with. May I see the file on the case?"

"I hoped you would say that. Here is the file. Take as long as you need to examine it. I've written my extension number there, please call me when you are ready to leave. There is a phone on that stand."

"Thank you, I'll start reading now."

Agent Jones left and Janet started reading. There wasn't much hard information in the file, besides the inconclusive ballistics report of two different guns being used, both .38 caliber.

The witnesses agreed that there were three robbers, all of whom wore cloth sacks over their heads as masks. They wore white tee shirts and jeans. Judging from their hands and their voices, they were all White men.

There was a lot of verbiage, but little information, in the file beyond that. The names of all the witnesses were listed and Janet committed them to memory. She knew that she would be judged by how long she spent studying the file, so she sat there for a while longer looking at the file, but actually thinking about how she was going to do the investigation. She finally read in Agent Jones' mind that he thought that she had spent long enough with the file, so she called him, saying that she was ready to leave.

Janet left the FBI office and TPed back to EU to change clothes and return to her office in Atlanta just the moment after she left. She had hardly gotten settled in her chair when the phone rang. It was a woman wanting to know if they handled divorce cases. Alice told her no and she recommended another agency that had been used by one of her friends a couple of years ago. The caller thanked her and hung up.

Alice thought some more about the case and decided that she should become Janet again and TP to Macon for a closer inspection.

Janet walked into the bank and looked around. It looked pretty much like a standard bank lobby, sort of financial-institutional-modern with a dash of Old South sloppiness. At least, the blood stains had been cleaned up. She could understand why the guard had been shot, but why shoot the teller? It suddenly dawned on her: why was she here? She could gt a lot more information if she POVed the crime in progress!

Janet jumped back to EU and changed to Alice. She took a comfortable seat and POVed the crime. She arrived just before the robbers and looked around the bank lobby. Everything looked about like you would expect for a normal workday in a bank, except for one thing: the teller who was later shot looked awfully nervous. A mind-scan showed that she was expecting the robbery and they were late!

The robbers burst in the doorway and pointed two pistols and a shotgun at the people in the bank. "This is a robbery! Everybody! On the floor or get shot!"

Everybody but the bank guard dropped to the floor as fast as possible, but he tried to be a hero. As he was reaching for his pistol, one of the robbers shot him. When this happened, the other robber pointed his pistol at the nervous teller and shot her between the eyes, or as close thereto as he could from 10 feet away.

At that, the man with the shotgun swung it around at the other workers standing behind the counter and yelled, "Put all the money you got in these bags!" as the first robber handed out some pillow cases.

Meanwhile, the second robber climbed over the counter and ran to the vault. He filled more pillow cases with money from the vault and ran back into the main part of the bank, shouting, "I got all I could carry! Come on, y'all! Let's go!"

They ran out the door to a car parked in front with its motor running, jumped in, and sped away.

Alice jumped away at this time and repeated her POV of the crime. This time she arrived soon enough to mind-scan the nervous teller. This was an inside job to the extent that she had tipped off the robbers as to the best time to hit the bank and where to look in the vault. Her lover was the one who had shot her!

Again, Alice revisited the robbery, but mind-scanned the lover/shooter. He was going with the teller just for the information he could get on the bank. This was not the first time he had pulled this trick on an unsuspecting female teller. Once he had the information he wanted, he lost interest in the woman. He immediately realized that he was subject to a murder charge as soon as the guard was shot, so he killed the teller to keep her from identifying him and the other two men when he broke up with her. After all, you can only hang once!

This man was the ringleader who had brought in the other two men to be helpers during the robbery, but he planned to eliminate them as soon as possible. He knew he had more than half a million dollars in loot and he didn't plan to share it!

Alice had her POV follow them as they hurried out of Macon to an abandoned shed they had been using for a hideout. After the three men had unloaded the car, they gathered around a table for a drink. The leader got up to go piss and when he came back, he ruthlessly shot his two companions in the head while they were sitting at the table with fresh drinks. He put their feet in buckets he filled with concrete. After the concrete had set, he dumped one of the men in Jackson Lake and the other in Sinclair Lake. He had already counted the money and found that he had a little over $740,000; he was set for life!

He drove to Atlanta after disposing of the two bodies and moved into a classy, but not posh, apartment. He torched the car and returned to his apartment where he was now living with a new "girlfriend."

Alice was appalled at this man's callousness at taking human life. She could have killed him at any time, but she wanted Janet Jones and the agency to get credit for his capture. She would take care of him if he escaped the law on a technicality.

Now, the question was: how to trap him? If the authorities recovered his gun, which he had foolishly kept, they could have him on ballistics evidence. Furthermore, the bank had the serial numbers of the largest bills that were stolen, so that they could be matched, since the crook had kept all of the cash with him. It seemed that he didn't trust banks!

It had taken zero objective time to solve this crime and only a little of Alice's subjective time, about 2 days, but she had to give the FBI a reason to believe her when she told them what she knew. Therefore, she planned to stall around for two weeks before turning the robber over to the FBI.

She typed up a plausible story for her investigation to give to the FBI and the real story to give to Bruce. On the appointed day, she mailed the report to Agent Jones and sat back to await results. She got a phone call of thanks from Agent Jones the next day, but that was the end of the contacts or information. Then, three days later, there was a sudden splash of news on the radio and in the newspaper of how the FBI had cracked the case and caught the Bank robber from the big heist in Macon. Not a mention of outside help, but she wasn't surprised; the FBI wasn't known for spreading around credit or thanks. Nevertheless, Alice had been able to enjoy the fun of the chase and the satisfaction of solving a difficult case, so she was happy.

Alice sent a bill to the FBI for the nominal two weeks that Janet had spent on the case and went on to other things.

A few days later, she read in the paper that a woman was found murdered in her bedroom in a ritzy suburb of Atlanta. The woman had been hacked to pieces with a meat cleaver from the kitchen. She was so badly chopped up that the coroner could not be certain of the cause of death, but, presumably, she had died as a resulted of being minced. There were no suspects and her husband was in the hospital with a nervous breakdown.

Alice got curious and wondered if this was the same woman who had called her a couple of weeks ago about taking a divorce case. She popped her POV back in time and did a trace of the phone call. Yes, damn it, it was the same woman! Alice vowed right then never to turn down a case without looking into it more thoroughly; the woman might be alive if she had taken the case!

A mind-scan of the woman showed that she was fearful that her husband had taken a lover and was about to kill her before she could divorce him. All of their money was actually hers and it was bound up in trusts in a way that kept him from getting to it as long as she was alive. Once she was dead, he could take legal means to get the money.

Alice found the husband in a "hospital" that was more of a spa and a resort than a true hospital. A mind-scan showed that he was faking the "nervous breakdown" in a effort to look like he was distraught over his wife's murder. He was the real killer and had staged the whole thing to escape from her legal clutches. During the murder, he had done all he could to inflict the maximum pain on the woman, and he had no remorse over his act, only glee at his belief that he would get away with the deed.

Alice was incensed at this and vowed to exact revenge. She contacted the man by mind-speak and said, "I know that you killed your wife. Until you are punished for your crime, you will only get enough sleep to keep you alive, but I will do nothing to preserve your sanity. From now on, you will continue to hear your wife's screams except when you are confessing. Good luck in Hell, which is starting now!"

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