Kaleidoscope of Guilt


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PART 1: KALEIDOSCOPE OF GUILT



Dr. Daryl Loyd walked into the break room, populated by eight other personnel. He sighed, knowing he'd have to interact with them. He recognized one of the people, Joe Fynegan, sitting down at one of the tables. Behind Fynegan's table were two other men, presumably other doctors. On the far side of the break room were a pair of women wearing rather formal attire. Next to them, a security guard was in front of a vending machine, kicking it with a fair amount of force. At yet another table, two men appeared to be complaining about something; however, Loyd was out of earshot to make out their conversation. Loyd dragged a chair over to the table with Fynegan and plopped himself down.

"Hey, Loyd, are you in this mess too?" asked Fynegan.

"I don't even know what I'm here for. Do you know why they're here?" Loyd pointed casually in the general direction of the others. Fynegan turned around for a brief moment before turning back to Loyd.

"Nope. I don't know what we're here for, either."

Loyd took a break from the conversation and observed the room. It was one of the comparatively smaller break rooms, only populated by several tables, a microwave, and two vending machines.The red-headed woman was sitting on the counter, while the other one was standing, tapping the ground with her tennis shoes. The security guard had finished bullying the vending machine and was drinking a can of soda. Loyd's observation was interrupted by Fynegan.

"What do you think we're in here for, Loyd? Those weren't normal escorts we had. Their IDs were a good level higher than ours."

Loyd took a peek at his own ID card. Level 3. He rarely remembered or even made an effort to remember anything about himself. He snapped back to face the doctor.

"No clue. I'm sure it'll be over so-"

The room was filled with a crackle of static, then a loud tapping noise similar to a large timpani.

"Hello. I'm Captain Trevelyan of IBIC1. I'll be frank about why you're here. This morning at approximately 0900 hours, one of your colleagues, a Doctor Montgomery Thornhill, was killed. The only people in the vicinity were you nine; you're all suspects."

Loyd glanced at his co-workers, then back at the ceiling. Impossible. Is this what they had been corralled up for?

"How do you know Thornhill wasn't accidentally killed?" Loyd queried.

"One gunshot to the head, two to the chest. That's not accidental. I'll be reading a list of names: if your name is called, make some indication of it. Backman, Billy. ID of 94-A7 PF54AJ."

Backman slammed his can of soda down. "What?"

"Fynegan, Joseph. ID of B-28S GH78DR."
Fynegan stood up, shouted "Present!", and sat back in his chair.

"Goggins, Carol. ID of AT-117 L300F."
Goggins stopped tapping her shoes on the ground. "Here."

"Ister, Wolfgang. ID of P-35M UJ20RH."
Ister broke off his conversation with the man next to him. "Here."

"Kabasic, Amelia. ID of AT-118 L300G."
Kabasic hopped off of the counter. "I'm here."

"Loyd, Daryl. ID of H-48M PL85IH."
So that was his ID number. "Gotcha."

"Pietrovitch, Walter. ID of B-54K EH48IJ."
Pietrovitch, sitting to the right behind Fynegan, scooted his chair closer. "Yah."

"Sabatic, Robert. ID of E-28F UH84ND."
Sabatic, opposite Pietrovitch, raised his right hand. "That's me."

"Shipherd, Phillip. ID of C-34N UI23JE."
Shipherd turned around to face Trevelyan. "Here."

"Good. Now if you would all stay here, we'll be back to ask you some questions. Good day." Trevelyan's voice ceased, and a click was heard, indicating the intercom was off. The nine co-workers, all temporarily mute, turned to look at each other. It was Fynegan that spoke first.

"One of us shot and killed Thornhill. A fellow doctor. A good man." He rubbed his nose with his finger.

"Well, if they were shot, wouldn't the killer have easy access to a gun?" asked Ister.

"Indeed. I bet my money on our security guard friend Backman." Loyd extended an appendage in the direction of the accused party. Backman raised a fist as sixteen eyes gave him a dubious look. He approached his accuser and grabbed Loyd's collar.

"What're you trying to say, huh?" Loyd deftly slapped Backman's hands away from his neck.

"Exactly what it sounds like. You're the only one with easy access, hell, even the only one with a gun."

"Not necessarily. Would you care to elaborate, Miss Kabasic?" Fynegan interjected.

"Elaborate on what? I'm not sure what you want me to talk about, Joe."

"Well when Captain Trevelyan was taking roll earlier, I heard a faint chink of metal when you hopped off the counter. Now, the only things that could make such a noise are a belt buckle, a badge, or a handgun. If you look down-" Fynegan paused. Kabasic took a look at her belt and back up. "- you'll see that your belt is fine. Also, I've heard that Foundation agents rarely keep their badges on them. So I figure that you probably have your gun. Same with your friend."

Kabasic emitted a sharp whistle. "Impressive, sciboy. Very impressive. I like you." Kabasic pulled out a Model 19 snub-nose revolver and tossed it on the table in front of her. Goggins was clearly less-enthused.

"Look, doc. If you have to say something, say it. Don't give us the damn telenovela script."

"Oh, sorry. My bad."

Kabasic gave Goggins a look of 'come on' and a slight nudge with her elbow. Goggins gave a partial eyeroll, then tossed her PPK/S right next to Kabasic's Model 19. All eyes went to the table, then resumed inditing the security guard.

"Yours next, Mr. Backman." Fynegan commanded. Backman's hand instinctively covered his revolver.

"There's no way I'm letting you folks get a hand on my gun."

"Why is that, Backman? Is there something you're trying to hide? What is it?" prodded Shipherd.

"Maybe he is killer." Pietrovitch concluded.

"Just put the gun on the table, Mr. Backman. Being arrogant and uptight isn't helping your case."

"Double my bet on Backman, Fynegan. I'll eat my pants if it's not him." Loyd chuckled at his own joke. Backman angrily slammed his hand on the table. Loyd reciprocated the action, but with both hands. The men were less than a foot from each other.

"You think I give a flying fuck about you or my 'case', Loyd? It's not proving anything, especially not when my 'accusers' are a bunch of doctors playing detective. I'll call in Trevelyan if I have to."

"Frankly, I don't - what was the term, oh yes - give a flying fuck who's doing what as long as I figure out who murdered Thornhill."

Backman and the posse, surprised, faced the ceiling.

"Yes, yes, I can hear everything you're saying. I'm sending in a man with some evidence."

They spun around toward the door where an armed guard was standing. He strolled towards the table that the group had surrounded, pushing Loyd and Backman out of his way, and placed a plastic bag in the dead center of the table. A wood-gripped Colt Python revolver was resting inside it.

"Does anyone know who owns this gun, or if you have seen anyone with it?"

"I haven't." said Fynegan.

"Me neither." chimed in Sabatic. A general murmur of agreement emanated from the group until Dr. Loyd spoke.

"It's Thornhill's. He keeps it in his desk. I don't know who else knows…" Loyd blurted. Damn. He caught himself by surprise. He didn't even really know he knew about it. Not even a single breath could be heard; the room was a vacuum. Loyd felt the heat of eight pairs of eyes piercing his lab coat. He also swore he could feel two especially boiling ones - Backman's.

"Thank you for the information, Doctor Loyd. I'll be back in a little while to confirm that. If you would all stay here, please. Thank you." The intercom cut out. The armed guard excused himself from the group and departed with a quicker-than-usual stride. Backman's punch caught Loyd by surprise. Loyd staggered back a bit, feeling his now swollen injury. He curled his lips into a smirk, fixed his collar, and retaliated. The kick hit the guard low, and Backman crumbled to the ground, clutching his left kneecap. Loyd made a move toward the incapacitated guard, but was stopped by Fynegan and Kabasic. The rest helped Backman up to his feet.

"You! Two! Timing! Scientific! Butcher!" Backman yelled, throwing each insult like an additional punch. Sabatic and Ister were struggling to keep the guard from attacking Loyd.

"Scientific Butcher?" Loyd chuckled. "What's that, another one of your ramblings to pretend you're the superior party?"

"He's talking about your tendencies to send D-Class to certain death, Loyd. You have quite a reputation." Shipherd clarified.

"Oho, you're talking about tendencies, Shipherd? I've heard of your disastrous experiments and policies: you throw D-Classes until something sticks!" Loyd laughed sardonically as Shipherd shrunk back from the opposing force.

"Get a damn grip, Loyd. You too, Backman. We're just here to-"

"Just here to what, Fynegan? Play around? Sit here and wait? I'm not doing either when I know there's a killer. Right. Fucking. There." The security guard shoved Ister and came closer to Dr. Loyd; Kabasic pushed him back.

"I'd watch it if I were you. You're not in the clear."

"Neither are you, missy. You may look all pretty on the outside but I know you have an itchy trigger fingers and no soul," leered Backman, right before Kabasic slapped his face. The guard grabbed the red-haired agent by the arm, and raised his own. A vice-like grip grabbed his wrist before he could make any other move. Backman turned to see Goggins holding his arm. He wrestled himself free from both the ladies and clicked his tongue. Backman scanned the room, and found himself surrounded by a ring of people. He noticed that Loyd had apparently been smiling the entire time. Backman shot a glance at the doctor.

"What's so damn funny?"

"I knew you couldn't do it, Backman. You may have a large temper but you have no spine to back it up."

"If you say that stupid shit again, I'll kill you, you idiot."

Loyd walked up to Backman, unfurled his pointer and middle finger, clenched the rest of his fingers into a ball, and pressed it directly against his forehead.

"You can go right ahead. You can't, because you don't have the guts nor the mental capacity to ever, ever, contemplate actually pulling the trigger. And I know that your cowardly tough guard facade has never had to - and never will. Because frankly, who would trust you to do anything around here, huh? Now go sit down and let the adults talk." taunted Loyd. He pushed Backman's fingers back into his fist and thrust it into his chest. The rest of the group, shaking and mouths agape, could only watch in surprise and nervousness. Backman appeared to consider Loyd's statement and started to walk away.

"Good riddance."

Backman turned around and his hand dropped to his waist; it was back up a second later with a shiny object. Realizing what it was, Fynegan swiftly kicked the revolver, sending it flying then clattering to the ground by Ister's feet. Backman attempt to retrieve the revolver was interrupted by a flying tackle from Kabasic that hit him squarely in the back. The revolver then was scooped up by Ister and placed into Fynegan's outstretched hand. Fynegan turned around to deal with Backman, but he was already sprawled on the ground. Kabasic was on top of him with her elbow in his spine and Goggins's PPK was resting on Backman's face. The break room door jetted open as a black turtleneck-clad man, followed by two armed guards, stormed into the room. Trevelyan and his men.

"What in the everlasting hell is going on in here?!" Trevelyan yelled. Loyd attempted to speak up, but he fell to the ground. A small pool of blood started to form. Fynegan and the others rushed to Loyd's side, leaving Backman unoccupied.

"Get a medic! Now!" barked Trevelyan to one of the armed men. The guard promptly saluted and ran out of the room. Fynegan was attempting to use his lab coat as a makeshift tourniquet.

"That… uugh…"

"It's all fine, Loyd, you'll be alright…" trailed off Shipherd. Pietrovitch was much more direct.

"It not looking good, Loyd. They are fetching a doctor."

"That… that's alright… don't worry, I'll be back an… anyway." Loyd smiled a bit, then coughed up a bit of frothy blood.

"Goddammit, where's that medic! Get the fucking medic here!" Fynegan's lab coat was dyed crimson.

"I… it… was…pretty interesting… that time." Loyd's head lulled back, a bloody smile plastered on his face. A crowd of footsteps could be heard in the hallway and continued on into the break room when the medic and the guard rushed in. Upon approaching the group and seeing his patient, the medic dropped his head. He placed his fingers on Loyd's neck and retracted them, giving a small head shake while doing so. Trevelyan kicked a chair over.

"I leave you all for ten minutes, ten bloody minutes, and you end up goddamn shooting each other? I'm prepared to detain you all for second-degree murder, unless I can get a good damn fucking explanation of what the fuck happened here." roared Trevelyan, dragging Backman up by his collar.

"Please! Help me! Please! It wasn't me, it was them, they forced me to do it, they forced me to do it! They did it, not me! He used my gun, it was him, not me!" wailed Backman.

He was silenced with a blow to the jaw from the butt of his own revolver. Trevelyan let the dead weight hit the floor as Fynegan threw the gun on top of the unconscious security personnel. Trevelyan snapped his attention toward the doctor.

"Loyd and his tempers flared up, and Backman ended up shooting Loyd. That's that." stated Fynegan.

"I'm afraid I'm inclined to believe Mr. Backman, Doctor Fynegan. It looked like you were attempting to force him to do something when I came in."

"What? What? You're just going to let this sleazeball get away with it?!" yelled Fynegan.

"Not necessarily, Doctor. I'm detaining you both with charges of second-degree murder and more than likely the murder of Doctor Thornhill as well. If you want to stand and convince me, you better have a good story."

"Ask t-t-the others!" Fynegan reasoned, motioning towards the rest.

"Possible co-conspirators. I'll be doing independent, extensive interrogation, and if one minute detail doesn't match up I'm officially charging you with the murders of Loyd and Thornhill. Take them away."


The last words the remaining seven heard from Dr. Joseph Fynegan were a desperate cry for help.


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Check out trettertretter's awesome pairing of Doctors Loyd and Fynegan here: A Stranger in a Familiar Land

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