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At First Glance

Posted on Wed Nov 24th, 2021 @ 3:26am by Chief Petty Officer Remal Kajun & Captain Rhenora Kaylen

Mission: *CD*
Location: Bajoran Village
Timeline: Current-ish

The transport left them in the Capital city closest to their final destination, but would require secondary transport to the nearest village and then a short walk, something Rhenora did not object to. The walk would take them by Jurel's house, the location where the body had been found and the woman's primary place of residence. It would give them an insight into what may have happened and the general feel on the days and weeks leading up to Jurel's death.

The city was busy, and soon they made their way to the transportation hub where dozens of smaller craft left every hour for the smaller villages. Spying their destination from the list Rhenora and Remal made a beeline for the nearly full shuttle.

Remal took his seat and resumed his conversation as though nothing had interrupted it. "As I was saying, the first home we will be staying at is the home of one of my former patients. He was a soldier in the war and had some pretty bad PTSD not to mention his addiction. As long as we remain calm and collected he should be okay with our staying there while we attend the service anyway." There was more to the story, but as a counselor sometimes Remal knew certain things went left unsaid.

" I understand," Rhenora replied calmly as they settled into the shuttle. They all carried scars of the past, some were physical, others cut deeply in different ways.

"Good." He settled in as well despite the confined space. He wanted to tell her all about his contacts, the people that would be helping them and their backgrounds. But he knew she and her mind were focused on the service of her fallen comrade. The loss of a friend was much more important than the trivial nature of a man with PTSD or some other affliction. There were so many he saved or counselled over the years, many of which would now give their lives to repay him for doing what he loved, helping people in their time of need.

The shuttle ride was smooth and largely uneventful, descending slowly as they neared the smaller town they would disembark at. The region was mountainous, one of the reasons the Resistance had flourished here. Plenty of hiding places mixed in with good soil for farming and growing foodstuffs.

Touching down the shuttle powered down and the rear doors opened, revealing a cool breeze that made Rhenora shiver slightly. It had been too long since she had been in these parts and she missed the kiss of the first-afternoon breeze across her skin. The night would be cold, enough for a fire or other heating source to ward away the chill. Already several narrow pillars of white smoke rose from chimneys nearby. They would stop briefly at Jurel's house before attending the service, traditionally held in the late afternoon so the evening could be spent in remembrance.

Disembarking, Rhenora paused for a moment, getting her bearings before recognizing a landmark. Many years had passed since she had been this way and it took a few moments to recall the route.

"This way...I think...it's been a while" she admitted with a crooked smile, setting off at a comfortable pace down a road leading south. The town gave way to a smaller village, which in turn gave way to farmland, wide fields dotted with small but functional cottages. Domesticated animals roamed the streets, giving a feel of calmness and tranquility, a feeling of safety almost. Why was it then that they could potentially be heading into the scene of a murder?

The Captain's gut twisted, reminding them of the importance of any and all information presented to them. Further along, a small cottage with no smoke from the chimney stood dark against the surrounding trees. Jurel's home. Now empty, stood forlorn. The fields were still kept, the garden neat, testifying the abrupt nature of the passing. Rhenora paused at the gateway, feeling as though she were now trespassing.

"I get a strange feeling from this place, something's not right" she whispered, her feet seemingly rooted to the spot. They stood on the edge of the meandering road, the only beings around for quite the while. Most would be heading to the service, or were gathering beforehand for some reminiscing.

He was along for the ride. Never one to ignore her feelings let alone scoff at them, his gut said to trust her gut as well as her guidance. This was her friend and this was her mystery. He stood by, and stood guard in case things went sideways. Without a word, he could feel her direction shift and so shifted with her. Always a step behind.

Together they headed down the narrow path between the fields, towards the cottage dwarfed by the surrounding trees that offered protection from the element. Rhenora kept her eyes open and her Pagh listening, tuning in to her surroundings and the feel for the place. She felt uneasy, as though they were being watched from a distance. It could very well be possible, many hiding places would offer an easy view of anyone coming to the house as well as completely concealing one's location. The rebel inside her knew what to look for and cast a keen eye about, watching, calculating.

The house was locked, an old padlock from many years past hung loosely from the door, the local constabulary having secured the premises after concluding their very rapid and ineffective investigation. It wouldn't take much to pick then reset the lock, gaining entry and a short time to conduct their own investigation before attending the service. Was this what it would come down to? Breaking into an old friend's house to see what killed him?

Rhenora approached the front door, her senses keen on the surrounding area. If it was one of Jurel's locks, there would be a spare key nearby, the man had been a thinker back in the resistance and Kaylen was sure nothing had changed. Dismissing the obvious locations she carefully investigated a few more tactical hiding places before revealing the small metal key underneath a stone on the nearby windowsill. To the naked eye the stone had just appeared loose, but to the trained eye it was ever so slightly off centre, enough to squirrel a slender key between the stonework for emergencies.

Taking the key she unlocked the door and carefully opened it, stepping inside and taking in as much as she could. Her hand automatically reached for the tricorder on her bag, flipping open the device and running a thorough scan on the area. Nothing of consequence was discovered, however, if this was indeed murder, Rhenora had a feeling it wasn't going to be obvious.

Hidden keys, well locked pavilion, the house itself held mysteries waiting to be unlocked. He moved into the living area, immediately searching for details about the person, knowing she would be focused on the details behind the murder. He was there as a spectator, merely to fill in gaps she may miss. Remal spied an easy chair, a small hearth and what looked like an old pipe hand-carved and crafted but rarely used. He eyed the dusty details on the pipe. “Remind me what the report had to say?” He asked the quiet of the house.

"The report said 'no suspicious circumstances, and that Jurel appeared to have suffered a fall in the kitchen and hit his head on the stone floor" Rhenora mused as she headed towards the kitchen area. It was small but functional with simple stone flagging underfoot. There was a small bloodstain on the floor near the cooktop, a few slivers of silver hair now stuck to the stone in dried blood. Without a body it was difficult to ascertain exactly what happened, but she was sure there would be clues left and missed by any law enforcement wanting an easier afternoon. Slip and fall, or was it something more? Altercation and fall? Murder and fall? There had to be something to give them a clue.

Carefully she took a close visual recording of the kitchen, before running a few more scans of it and the rest of the house. Time was running out but she would at least have time to review the data later.

He followed her into the cooking area, taking note of the cutlery neatly in its place and the well-used array of pots and pans. There was also a workbench just beyond the back door where it looked like Jurel enjoyed working with plants, a man after Remal’s own interests. He pointed at the back door, “Possible point of entry. It’s where I would enter if I wanted to catch someone off their guard.”

"We need to go, we don't want to be late," she said as she had one last look around Jurel's home, heading for the door before carefully relocking it and stashing the key in its hiding place.

Clenching his jaw with uneasy frustration, Remal gave a look back at the house. It felt to him that this would not be the last time they would be seeing the inside of this particular house. Then he double-timed his trot and easily caught her up.

TBC

 

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