Chapter 168 The night full of close call.

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◇◆◇( human point of view )




At night.




 McLaren was sitting on a bench in a small park, resting his weary legs after a day of investigations, while watching his partner, a police canine that exhaling white breath at his feet.





 He looks up at the snowing sky, warms his hands with a cup of coffee he bought at a convenience store, and sips it.





 In his hand were several photographs.
They were of missing persons who had disappeared not long ago.





 Even though his job is to memorize people's faces, there were a large number of missing persons all at once in recent cases.
It was difficult for him to remember them.





“…….I'm getting old.”




 Sigh, McLaren let out a white breath filled with the aroma of coffee and looked down at the photo again.





 Pedro, the former leader of the Sludge Club, and the other victims, a total of three.
These are the missing persons identified from the testimonies of the women they assaulted.



 Sean and Laura — Alpha Team soldiers.
Disappeared in an underground ammunition depot.




 These missing persons are, well, considered dead.
There was a lot of blood at the scene, and it matched the DNA of the victims.




 Just when it seemed that this was all, there came the recent development that someone also went disappeared.




 It was the tenant of the room where the assault took place.
Her name was Natsuki.
From our earlier inquiry, we learned that she and Pedro were acquaintances.



“Distinctive brown hair and eyes…”




 She has a younger brother, named Yakumo, who also looks a lot like her.
Neither of them has returned to their rooms since the day of the incident, and we can't contact either of them.





“That makes it seven…….”



 Over the past few years, there has been a regular record of disappearances, mainly young boys and girls in the slum,  McLaren has been following the cases, but somehow has been unable to even catch the tail of any of them.
Without a coordinated effort, it would be impossible for someone to just disappear without a trace here at Fort 88.
The fact that there are no traces at all is also too unnatural.



 The case of the woman's assault was a rare case in this regard.
The rape victim survived.




 The victim said that Pedro picked her up and went into a coffee shop, and she found herself in the room in question.
After that, she was blindfolded and put on headphones while being gang-raped by the three, one after the other.




 She also said that the last person who raped her was different from the three who disappeared.
Apparently, the genitalia size was different.
The body fluids were sent to the forensic lab, but the results have not yet come back.



“it's the end of the year.
don't slack off just yet…….”



 McLaren blurted out grudgingly.
Working late was also a regular occurrence of his holiday season.



 –In the simplest sense, the last person who held the victim was probably the murderer.



 First scenario, the murderer is a gang member who knew Pedro and the others.
After raping the victims, he killed three of them and then disposed of their bodies.
A professional killer.



 Second, the murderer is a third party with no gang affiliation.
If so, this means that the order of the events has changed, he killed the three victims first, and then violate the woman at the crime scene.
A psychopath.




 Finally, the most surprising thing was the sightings of Sean in the nearby slums, the man who disappeared in the underground ammunition depot.
Just a few moments ago, word came in that his terminal had been found in a dumpster in an alley.
There were also witnesses who said that Sean was walking in the slum with a girl.




 –and then there was the gang attack that occurred the same day.



 The bullets wounds left on the bodies told that the killer was of exceptional skill.
In this case, since the contents in the safe were missing, it was suspected that the goal was those items.




 –so is Sean the culprit in all of this?




 He killed his girlfriend Laura, then picked up Natsuki, killed three gang members and raped a woman in the same room, cleaned up all the bodies, and finally destroyed the gang's office, escaped with a large amount of drugs, and vanished under the watchful eye of the Fort.




 –no, no, that's impossible.
McLaren thinks the chances of that happening are next to none.



 It is nothing short of monstrous to pull off such a ridiculous plot so seamlessly in a single night.




 In any case, Natsuki, the room owner in question is a key figure of these cases.



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 McLaren, wandering in a maze of mystery with no way out, was staring at Natsuki's photo when he suddenly saw a figure walking down the street with a shopping bag under her arm.




 He stood up, brushed the snow off his knees, and walked over with Lestrade.




“Hey, miss.
Good evening.”




“Oo-oh!  good evening.”



 A girl shoulders jolted and looked back at him.
She wore a knit cap on her head, her black hair reaching down to her shoulders from it,  She wore thick-rimmed glasses, and her eyes behind them were wide open from surprise.
She wore heavy makeup.
The color of her eyes was not natural, probably colored contacts.



 Especially the backpack on her back, It was the decoration that his attention was drawn to.
badges, key chains, and other accessories were hanging on it — is that a spider? 




 Looking closer, there were also accessories and jewelry wrapped around her hands and neck as well.



 These fashionista girls were often seen in the city, but they often had problems with their families, and McLaren always tried to speak to them when he was free in the evening.



 The girl shrank back and asked, “What is it?”



“I'm sorry to surprise you.
I'm McLaren.
I'm the police, can I have a word?”




 Perhaps afraid of McLaren, the girl looked up at the police badge on his chest.







“I wonder if you know a girl named Natsuki around here.
She's about your age.”






The girl raised her face slightly and looked at McLaren.
Her eyes were blue.




–black hair and blue eyes.





 The Fort is very racially diverse.
At first glance, it may seem a bit strange, but the number of young people with these different features from the different races has been increasing.





 The girl who had been silent for a while opened her mouth again, face down.




“I don't know.”




“I'm sorry, but could you show me your terminal, please? Just so you know I'm not suspecting you.
It's just a normal protocol.”




 When told, the girl took the terminal out of her pocket.







 McLaren looked at the screen.





” You look Asian ……
your eye color looks different from your picture, are you wearing contacts?”













 On the screen was a blonde-hair, dark-eye girl with makeup so flamboyant to the point of losing her original features.
Was it gyaru or yamamba? McLaren isn't sure, but he heard that this kind of makeup is popular.



 –The world of girls is truly mysterious.




 It is so different that it is hard to believe that we are living in the same place.
The girl in front of me was also carrying a backpack with a very realistic spider on her back, which gave off the scent of the most sophisticated fashion of that type.




 However, while hair color can be easily changed, eye color is not.




“I'm sorry, but could you please take off those glasses and contacts?”




 Then the girl narrowed her eyes and stared at McLaren with an accusing glare.




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“……Is this because I'm part Asian?”








“Are you being so disingenuous to me because I have Asian blood in my veins? the 'Yellow cabs' should have yellow skin and dark hair for easy identification right!?”




“No, no! Not like that.
It's just a procedural to follow when we do inquiry.”





 McLaren hastily excused himself.




 Although racism has been fading, it is nevertheless still present.
These were extremely sensitive matters.
He thought that it might have been too much to ask somebody to remove their contact, even if it was for investigation.




“–I'm very sorry.
But there have been a lot of missing person cases in this area.
Many girls your age have disappeared.
It's not safe to go out alone at this time of night.”




police is looking for a missing child?”




We're looking into a couple of incidents.”




“But I saw it on the news.
They said the police don't investigate when slum kids disappear.”



“No, that is not true.”




 McLaren coughed and straightened his posture.



“Sure, there are those police who treat people of different races and people from the slum differently but that's only a small percentage.
Nobody thinks like that anymore, not me and not the police around me.
I only approached you because I was concerned about you.”







The girl looked McLaren up and down before looking down at her feet.




 McLaren let out a small sigh.




“Hah ……
you can get arrested because of this, you know? Is your house close by? Come on, I'll give you a ride.”





“No, thank you, it's just around the corner.





 With these words, the girl turned on her heel.



 The girl walks away at a quick pace.




“Hey, You!”




 McLaren, who had been watching her back, suddenly shouted.




 The girl stopped dead in her tracks and looked back over her shoulder.




“—What is it?”



“That road is not plowed, so you can't go through.
If you want to turn block, you better go one street over.”



 She nodded to McLaren's voice and said, “Thank you, officer.
Good luck with your investigation,” and disappeared into the snow.




 McLaren stares down the road where the girl disappeared.




 Suddenly, his terminal rings.




He answers.




“–oh ……
what?, a delivery truck crash because of gunshots? –I've got it.
I'll be right there.”




 He hung up.




 Once again, he looks at the place where the girl disappeared.




 Lestrade looked up and squealed, He patted his head.

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“Go ahead and sniff her trails………..forget it, There's no way such coincidence can happen right? “




 McLaren shook his head and hurriedly made his way to the slum.




When McLaren arrived at the scene, the area was already filled with barricade tape and a tense atmosphere.



“Oh, Inspector.
You're late.”



 'Yo', Eugene the reporter raised his hand.
McLaren, stopped before entering the scene, speaks aloud in exasperation.




“Why the hell you are always at the crime scene? Are you a specter or something?”



“That's right, here, take a look.”




 Eugene pointed excitedly at his feet.




 There were large footprints left there.




“What the hell is this?”





“It's Bigfoot.
see? I'm not lying, am I?”





“Bigfoot? Isn't that one of your occult articles?”




“But here's the proof.”





 Eugene pointed once again at his feet.
The large footprints were more than twice as large as that of a human.
Lestrade was sniffing at it.





 The footprints led from the alley toward the upside-down vehicle.
The police investigating the scene gave no attention to footprints, perhaps because most of it has already been covered by snow.




“Maybe you just made that up?”




“Excuseeee me!?”




 Eugene protested, raising his pen.




 McLaren kneeled, looked at the footprints, and furrowed.




 As he groans, Eugene chirps in, whispering in his ear.




“Captain, I have a hunch that ……
there might be aliens in our city.”




“You're crazy.”




 McLaren immediately denied it.



“the gang attack the other day was too violent right! and I think Not even a professional soldier could have pulled off that trick.”




And why the hell do aliens go to all the trouble of breaking in, crushing a gang's office, and attacking a delivery truck? If they really in here, they would have tried to sabotage the city walls at least.”



“No, you see.
First, they plan to disrupt the Fort…”




 McLaren grabbed Eugene as he was about to proudly present his own theory.




I don't hate you.
hell, I don't even dislike you, but don't write anything stupid.
That's not funny.
The military will have you arrested for inciting a civil unrest.”




 Eugene pauses, shutting his mouth.




“…..But what if it's true?”







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 McLaren let go.





I'm going to work now.
Understood? Bigfoot is fine, but not what you were saying earlier.”









 McLaren walked through the barricade, leaving Eugene, who began tinkering with the terminal boringly.








 His men immediately ran up to him.




“Well? what do we have here.”




“Yes, sir.
Five bodies inside the  van with their heads blown off.”




“Another flashy mess.”




Also, several packages are missing, but more importantly, there were some survivors inside.








“they said they were shoved into a box.”









“All are young men and women from the slums.”




“Are they conscious?”




“Most were drugged, but one woke up shortly after the accident.”




“Can they talk?”




“just barely, there're still drugged and dazed.”




His subordinate took him to the ambulance, where he found a woman lying on a stretcher.




“This is Inspector McLaren.
May I ask you a few questions?””




 As McLaren stood beside the stretcher, the woman looked at him with cloudy eyes.








“Hm? Sorry?”




 McLaren asked again with a furrowed brow.
And the woman repeated.




Bigfoot helped me ……”




 She said.








“……I couldn't see much, but there was a big crash, and when I woke up, there was a gap in the box, and through the gap, and I saw a big figure ……
shooting bad people to death…….
That must be the Bigfoot, ……
the one I saw on the Internet…….”




 No further information was obtained.




 McLaren watched the ambulance drive away with sirens blaring, then took a deep breath and went to investigate the delivery vehicle.





 Inside, all that was left were bodies with their heads blown off.

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