This week, Captain Darrow starts his investigations. To read from the beginning, go here. My idea of Joseph Darrow is the actor Michael Sheen.
Intruders chapter 6 scene 2
Captain Darrow went to see Sean Parry, the Stock Controller, in his office adjacent to the pithead. He was not welcomed.
‘Wil Jones asked me to help you, but I don’t have to like it. There’s none of us thieving here, Captain.’
Darrow withdrew his outstretched hand, since Parry was ignoring it.
‘I’m on your side, Mr Parry. If I can show I investigated fully and found no fault with anyone, it will go in your favour with Chert. I’ve read the reports. I want to hear your view on things.’
Parry looked at him for a long moment, while Darrow waited. This was his chance to search for evidence first hand. Parry grunted, but he sat down at a console and waved Darrow to a chair. Darrow smiled to himself.
‘What do you want to know?’ Parry asked.
‘Tell me about the stock records. How often do you check them?’
Parry folded his arms. ‘Never been a need before.' Darrow waited. Parry went back to his keyboard. 'We record the tally as the quartz comes out of the pit, and when the carrier is due, we do a final check.'
'Is it always right?'
Parry shrugged. 'Occasionally there’s been a miscount, but it’s one container, missing or short weight, never more.'
'So how did you know there was quartz missing?'
His shoulders slumped. 'We only spotted it because when we went to stack the day’s production, there was a gap in the stacks. We always stack the containers the same way, so the gap was obvious.’
‘No sign of tampering - no footprints, or other evidence?’
‘Nothing,' he snapped. 'We searched thoroughly. It was the same both times. First time I thought someone was playing a game - not very funny - but no one admitted it. Don’t know where they’d put that much quartz anyway. When it happened the second time, I put a guard on round the clock.’
‘So what happened the third time?’
‘If you’re expecting me to talk about Stefan’s ghost, forget it. Go talk to Stefan Kozlik. All I know is what I saw, and what’s on the video record, which is nothing.’
He leaned back and folded his arms.
‘I want a copy of that video record,’ Darrow said. ‘What about the other incidents - are there video records of them?’
‘I’ll get the video record of the last incident for you, but we didn’t keep the others - there was nothing on them anyway. Just interference.’ He tapped his keyboard.
Darrow said, ‘I also want Stefan’s address, and directions to the old mineworkings.’
Parry’s eyebrows rose. ‘What do you want to go out there for?’
‘You said yourself there’s nowhere to hide that much quartz. I figure that’s the only place. Maybe your guys missed something when they searched.’
‘Well, they weren’t long, I’ll say that,’ he said, handing Darrow a data stick. ‘The men won’t like you looking around, better keep it quiet or there’ll be trouble. Stefan is in apartment six. The old workings are just outside the dome. There are suits hanging by the airlock in the stores, but before you use that airlock, speak to the Doc, he’s got Elwyn in there.’
‘It’s all right, I’ll go back to the Kestrel for my own suit and use the ship’s second airlock. Which way from there to the mineworkings?’
‘Counter-clockwise round the dome. It’s not far.’
‘Thanks for your help.’ This time Parry shook his hand.
[Next week Darrow goes to see Stefan Koslik]
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