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  • With: Akela Noelani, Rick Dryer, NPCs
  • Location: USCGC Tangent, St. Paul Bay, Kodiak, AK
  • When: May 2017
  • Time of Day: Early Morning
  • Notes: Reference Post

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There were many ways to start the morning out good on Kodiak Island. Being called out to deal with a floater was not one of them. 

 

As usual and per the agreement they had with local law enforcement, CGIS had sent their locally based forensics team to deal with a dead body that had been reported floating near the bridge over St. Paul Harbor. Akela Noelani and her team enjoyed the chance to get out on the Coast Guard's 65 foot small harbor tug, the USCGC Tangent. They did not enjoy the job of extracting the deceased's body from the water. Dealing with the smell and condition of a corpse that had been in the water for a long period of time was equally unpleasant. Predation and the overall condition of the body would make the job ahead of her and the medical examiner's that much harder.

 

For the moment, they were only making sure the body stayed in place while they waited for someone from the Kodiak Police Department to make it out to the cutter. While they waited, the team and crew carefully lowered nets and swept the bottom for any items that might be associated with the dead man. With the currents in the bay, it was unlikely.

 

The sound of a small boat distracted Akela from staring at the morbid sight of the body. She looked toward the cutter's stern to see a small launch approaching the bigger vessel. To her pleasure, she recognized the man that was clambering up and onto the cutter's deck. She had worked with Rick Dryer when Liam MacLeod was shot. They had dealt well with one another. Hopefully, this case would be handled the same way. 

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Floaters. Rick knew what that meant  a boat ride and probably getting wet, not one of his favorite things, as it was cold on top of it. But this was Alaska, and it was the job. He had seen Special Agent Akela Noelani from CGI as the approached, and to him this was good. Having worked with her before he suddenly felt more relaxed. She was extremely competent, yet easy to work with.

 

He came aboard the cutter and walked directly to her with an extended had, “Good morning, such as it is. Good to see you again.” He greeted, “What have we got?”  Not that he didn't know, but  she may have some info he didn't on the floater.

 

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Akela took the offered hand and gave it a firm shake. "Welcome aboard the USCGC Tangent, Lieutenant. Sorry to have to call you out here." 

 

Indicating for the man to walk with her, Akela led them toward the bow of the ship. "Some fisherman heading out to Chiniak Bay spotted the body beneath the bridge. They called it in and my team was dispatched. We are searching the waters around the body, but have left him in situ for you before we haul him on board. It's your lead unless he IDs as Coast Guard or our support personnel." 

 

As usual, Akela's report was succinct and to the point. She was about to recommend that they go ahead and pull the body on board when she heard her name called from the cutter's dinghy. "Special Agent Noelani! We've got something."

 

Akela grinned at Rick, "Here we go! Whatcha' got, Obrecht?"

 

She leaned over the rail and looked at what the man was holding up. "Looks like your average Remington 700 from here. Send it up." Akela glanced at Rick, "This might be something more than a fisherman going into the drink."

 

@Flip

 

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Rick was smiling both at her and the firm handshake, even though he was not happy about the call, but he liked this woman. So in spite of the body, and whatever it would reveal, he had pleasant enough company.

 

"Understood, can't have you guys doing all the work out here. Let's get him up and see what we've got, and maybe you've got some coffee on board?"  He replied. as he walked along the deck with her toward where the hoist was.

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

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"There is always coffee on board," Akela replied with a saucy grin. "In fact, the USCG has been accused of fueling its cutters with the stuff." She turned to a young man, "Get the LT some coffee, Seaman."

 

The carefully wrapped rifle was on board by that point so Akela forwarded Dryer's orders ot Obrecht, "Go ahead and bring the body up. Let's hope bits of him doesn't sluff off before the ME gets him on the table."

 

While the crew got busy on her orders, Akela turned back to Rick, "How are you liking the exciting life of working for the KPD?" She was not being sarcastic. In fact, although the KPD was very small, they did an amazing job of law enforcement. It was rare that visitors saw the darker side of Kodiak. Tourism was increasing and the Chief of Police was pushing hard to make sure they remained safe.

 

@Flip

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"There is always coffee on board," Akela replied with a saucy grin. "In fact, the USCG has been accused of fueling its cutters with the stuff." She turned to a young man, "Get the LT some coffee, Seaman."


“Thanks, a bit on the brisk side out here.” Rick said, stating the obvious “Well, I guess it would be okay to bring him on board and we can get started. Let’s have a look, what say?” Water-logged bodies were his east favorite things to deal with.
 

The carefully wrapped rifle was on board by that point so Akela forwarded Dryer's orders to Obrecht, "Go ahead and bring the body up. Let's hope bits of him doesn't sluff off before the ME gets him on the table."


While the crew got busy on her orders, Akela turned back to Rick, "How are you liking the exciting life of working for the KPD?" She was not being sarcastic. In fact, although the KPD was very small, they did an amazing job of law enforcement. It was rare that visitors saw the darker side of Kodiak. Tourism was increasing and the Chief of Police was pushing hard to make sure they remained safe.

 

“You know, I was a bit apprehensive about restarting my LE career, but it’s been pretty good...so far.” He smiled, accepting the cup of coffee from the Seaman, “thanks. It’s not the quiet small town force I mistook it for. Seems there’s far ore than meets the eye here."

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

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Akela watched the men in the dinghy as they carefully and respectfully worked on getting the dead man's body on board. No matter who he had been in life, they were being respectful. She always found that simple caring a bit moving. However, Rick's last words caught her attention...

 

It’s not the quiet small town force I mistook it for. Seems there’s far ore than meets the eye here."

 

"In many ways, Kodiak is one of the last frontiers left in the USA," Akela said. "We attract a certain element. Most of it is harmless. People fed up with the rat race and things like that. There is also the element that is trying to hide for other - less savory - reasons. That's where Aidan O'Quinn's focus is. Those of us in law enforcement have to deal with them but with the island becoming more popular for the eco-tourism crowd, it's necessary to make sure that it's safe here for visitors."

 

Akela grabbed a pair of gloves out of her forensics case, expertly slipped them on and picked up the gun. "Remington 700 chambered for Lapua .338. Popular hunting rifle although it's not bear season here. Maybe he," she nodded toward the body that was being conveyed on board the ship, "was hunting something else...like MacLeods."

 

@Flip

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As the body was brought up Rick watched Akela with the rifle. ".338? Big shell to be used on a man. And the second time a big bore has been used in a murder." He paused a moment as the body was transferred onto the  deck of the cutter.

 

"I'm wondering if this isn't the same rifle, or at least the same killer using this type of weapon. It would seem, from what you just said that the Remington 700 is readily available everywhere in the state, much less in Kodiak. That would make tracking it down very difficult." Though he was not above attempting such an undertaking.

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

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Akela continued examining the rifle. Then something caught her eye and she blinked, "Serial number's intact, Lieutenant. That will help track down where it was sold. Ballistics will tell us if it's the same gun used in the MacLeod shooting."

 

By then, the body had been extracted from the water and laid out on the deck. The Medical Examiner was doing his preliminary work before authorizing transport. After a few minutes, he rose to his feet, nodding to Akela and Rick. He was a slender, elegant man in his mid-fifties with thick silver gray hair and eyes to match. A clipped British accent marked his country of origin. "Well, the cause of death seems fairly obvious."

 

As they had turned the man over, a gaping wound showed. He had literally been gutted like a deer. In fact, at first glance, it appeared that his vital organs had been removed. Just as Akela's stomach lurched at seeing a human treated like the carcass of a wild animal, Chamberlain called over the rail to the CGIS personnel tasked with dragging the area and those searching the shore near the bridge, "Stay sharp, lads. If you find an odd heart, liver or entrails, gather them up carefully."

 

"You got it, Doc," one of Akela's team called back good-naturedly.

 

She sighed, "I think the shooting was something more than just someone not happy with the former CEO of Coldwater Holdings." There was little to support her feelings beyond a vague uneasiness. "Can't discuss an ongoing case without authorization, but if I see Lucian at the Alibi tonight, I'll offer him a vague warning to be careful when out and about."

 

@Flip

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Rick looked at what had once been a man, a man that had been alive, possibly with family, friends, children, hopes and dreams. Dead, brutally gutted. He had to agree this was more than a shooting, a simple murder, far more. There was real anger in what had befallen this man, rage was more like it.

 

"He was the CEO of Coldwater Holdings? Man, he pissed somebody off!" Rick observed. "Figure the fish got to his entrails, or are you hoping they're down there?" Not that it would matter much he supposed. It wasn't like they had found the body in a building, or a car and all that was missing.  'Sounds  a hell of a lot like an episode of Fringe!' He thought, then immediately mentally shook his head to clear it. "You get much of this sortta thing up here?"

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

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Akela shook her head, "No, sorry to not have been clear. Liam MacLeod was the founder and former CEO of Coldwater Holdings. His daughter, who I'm sure you met after the MacLeod boys' debacle, is the current CEO - Reagan MacLeod. I suspect this man is our shooter." She indicated the rifle that had been brought up. "That's the same round they took out of MacLeod's chest. He was lucky." She narrowed her eyes, absently watching the ME work. "I'm not sure MacLeod was meant to die."

 

Tags @Flip

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"Ah yes, Reagan MacLeod dealt with her on the kidnapping fiasco.  She's CEO material if I ever saw it." Rick recalled. "This, well this looks almost like revenge of some sort. More than just to silence someone. Hell, one round would accomplish that."

 

The condition of the body bespoke of a disturbed individual either hired or working on their own to kill this man. But if it were a simple case of murder and not this disembowelment they were looking at, then why was the rifle found with the body? Was this in fact the shooter, or someone made to look like the shooter?

 

"You have an ID on this guy yet?" Rick asked, hoping the ME had found something.

 

TAG @Stormwolfe

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"Not yet," the ME answered. "Been in the water too long for our fingerprint scanners to work and no ID on him. We'll have to get him back to base before I can give either of you any more information." Jonas Chamberlain rose to his feet. "Wrap him up for transport. Be kind."

 

Akela smiled slightly despite the situation. Jonas always took the dead to heart and demanded respect for his patients. He was also one of the most competent medical examiners that she had ever worked with. Chamberlain was so intuitive when it came to his work, he practically solved some of the cases before forensics finished their work. Of course, this was also the most distressing part of her job. Until the reports came in from Jonas and his people, as well as various samples to be tested and analyzed, Akela was in waiting mode.

 

"Even if the man is...or was...our shooter," Akela said to Rick, "he did not deserve to die like that. Perhaps Liam MacLeod can shed more light on what is going on. I don't envy you the job of trying to get to the bottom of all this."

 

@Flip

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Rick smiled wryly, "Murder's murder. No two ways about it. But you're right about this one, we've zero to go on but the stiff, excuse me, the body. "  He caught his faux pas, too much time on the streets of LA.

 

"We'll see what the lab turns up, if anything, and I'll have a chat with Mister Liam  MacCloud. Doubt we'll get anywhere with him, but hey, he could surprise us." He added. as his coffee arrived. He nodded to the seaman, "Thanks. So, what's left to do here,  anything?"

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

 

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"Nothing for your guys, Lieutenant," Akela answered. "My team will bag and tag everything. Once we've gotten forensics off it, we'll put non-perishables in your evidence lock-up." CGIS had a good working relationship with the Kodiak Police Department. It suited both organizations since it meant cost breaks on both sides. On top of that, KPD did not have to try to field the expense of a full forensics lab or wait, sometime for weeks, for evidence to be processed at the state-run labs. It was a win-win.

 

"The MacLeods are generally well-thought of around here," Akela added. She knew Lucian fairly well and had met Liam, Naomi and Reagan on a number of occasions. She had not met J.D. yet, but had to assume he had been well-raised just like Lucian and Reagan. "I know that won't guarantee Liam's cooperation."

 

Tags @Flip

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“I was told your people were great to work with. Not duplicating work is always a plus, and the fact we get what we need without the long waits from the State labs. Makes a difference.” He said appreciative.

 

“I’ve had the occasion to cross paths with Reagan McLeod, straight forward, no BS, and that’s a good thing. Lucian, well, I like him. Seems like he has info I like to have, but I suppose time will tell, and Liam? Well, we’ll see what happens.” He looked to the body. “Poor man, bet he thought he’d be set for life.”

Rick knew that he'd have to have the McLeod's co-operation to get anywhere with either case. And, maybe Liam would be the key, or just another block in the way of solving these murders.

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

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Akela nodded her understanding. She did not know anyone on Kodiak that could be considered a confidante of Liam's other than his wife. The man was not reclusive, but he was very reserved about his private life and he had the finances to make sure it stayed that way. "I've done a little work with Lucian on Storm Shelter cases. He is usually very careful about not crossing legal boundaries. However, when he takes on a client, their safety and needs come first with him."

 

She watched as the ME got the body situated in his launch. He left one of his assistants with Akela's forensic team and headed back to port. Time was of the essence when it came to processing the body. Akela was not wild about having to go to autopsy but she would have to stop by to pick up any forensic evidence. She sighed and began packing up her case. Indicating the launch that had brought her to the scene, Akela asked, "Want a ride back? Beats the rubber boat you came out in." She grinned and winked.

 

@Flip

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"I've done a little work with Lucian on Storm Shelter cases. He is usually very careful about not crossing legal boundaries. However, when he takes on a client, their safety and needs come first with him."

 

 “Understandable. One can’t put the client at risk, poor business practice,” Dryer responded. To him, none of the MacLeods sound like poor business people.” Rick surmised, not really knowing much about the family other than the usual public knowledge things, and of course the legal record of Lucians time with the Marshals service.

 

She sighed and began packing up her case. Indicating the launch that had brought her to the scene, Akela asked, "Want a ride back? Beats the rubber boat you came out in." She grinned and winked.

 

He took a swallow of his coffee and smiled at the offer.”Missus Dryer raised no fools. I’ll take that ride and anything beats that rubber boat. At least the driver had the common sense to head back til I called for him." He scanned the dark sky with a crack of light in the east. "Think it'll rain?

 

Tag @Stormwolfe

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Akela laughed and straightened up, "The right question on Kodiak is do you think it won't rain?" Still, she trained a practiced eye on the sky, "Not for a while yet. We will be off the water before it cuts loose."

 

She picked up her case, "I love it here, but it is a far cry from where I grew up."

 

@Flip

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Yeah, the rain. Well, it's part and parcel. LA, well you know that old time song, "It Never Rain In Southern California?'Not exactly true, but certainly not like it is here, and so we are not as lush and green as this is." He reported. we get some, not enough, but some. " He half chuckled and finished his coffee that was now a little less than lukewarm. He looked at her a moment, "so what do you gather from this mess? Anything?"

 

Granted he had seen some pretty brutal stuff on the streets of Los Angeles, but this was beyond any of that. The gangs could be cruel, savage and wanton, this certainly had all the traits of  a psychopath.

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Akela pursed her lips as she picked up her case and handed it over the rail to the launch. She had quite a few theories, but should she share them? More than once, her CO had cautioned her about involving herself in a KPD case beyond the basic forensics work and reports. She found it hard to resist though. Akela loved solving puzzles. She let the science guide her and her mind interpret the science. For many years, Akela had been a top CGIS agent. Although moving to forensics was her decision, the urge to solve crimes had not gone away. Admittedly, her work  as a scientist helped make that happen...but it was not the same as working in the field. Also, she liked Rick Dryer.

 

"Lieutenant, my CO doesn't like for me to get mixed up into KPD cases - more than this anyway," Akela gestured at the forensics work going on. "He's probably right, but I was a CGIS field agent for a very long time and I miss it." She found herself telling Dryer the thoughts that had just played it her head. "I think it is all connected to the MacLeod shooting somehow. Too much of a coincidence to have this happen and find a rifle chambered for Lapua, same as the rounds that hit Liam. MacLeod"

 

"Maybe gutting that man was meant to throw us...you...off the scent?" She slanted a look up at Rick.

 

@Flip

 

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"I think it is all connected to the MacLeod shooting somehow. Too much of a coincidence to have this happen and find a rifle chambered for Lapua, same as the rounds that hit Liam. MacLeod"

 

 “I’m certainly getting that feel. Connected, that is a a real possibility. And actually, I can’t say I blame either of you. Your boss has a point, but having been in the field, well, that never goes away.” Rick responded.

 

"Maybe gutting that man was meant to throw us...you...off the scent?" She slanted a look up at Rick.

 

“I can see that as one possibility, a second might be a message to someone or several someones that are interconnected in whatever is going on.” Rick surmised. “And I believe that there is most certainly something afoot we have no idea about, that is for the moment.” He smiled. “I will say this Agent Noelani, you’re welcome on my case anytime, for any reason. Doesn’t need to be made public. Just so you know.” He liked her, liked her style and was well aware that she could be useful with her knowledge of those involved, or likely to be.

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Akela grinned, liking the compliment. In her experience, lots of cops felt that using an outside agency such as CGIS was an intrusion. It was a relief to not have to battle the lieutenant when circumstances required they work together. "Thanks. I'll let you know when all the evidence is processed and the autopsy results are in - unless you plan on attending it."

 

She handed her case over to the man waiting to assist them into the launch before climbing in herself. Akela looked up at Rick, "I'll keep you in mind if I decide not to re-up my commission. Might apply at the KPD."

 

@Flip

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Rick smiled, "Take care, see you next time." And he knew there would be a next time, for something. "No, probably wouldn't be able to get away, but I'll be on the lookout for the results. Leads to follow up, people to talk to, you know that routine I'm sure."

 

Not that autopsies were something he like attending, he would if he could sort of thing, and for this one, he doubted anything new would be revealed. It was pretty straight forward what had happened and what the cause of death was. Although , there was always a chance something might turn up from the procedure that was not evident at the crime scene. It had happened before and really wasn't all that uncommon.

 

"Well anything comes up on my end I'll let you know." He offered.

 

 

 

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About Storm Shelter

Storm Shelter brings crime drama and not quite soapy soap-opera to the online written RPG world. Set in one of America's last frontiers, the residents of Kodiak Island and Storm Shelter Air & Rescue encounter bad guys and storm gales in equal measure. The RPG offers guided site-wide plots and open character driven stories..

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