By Alan Dean Foster
Vernon Moody is a latest cop who loves to trap killers the trendy approach - with desktops and customary experience. he is not chuffed whilst his most recent case revolves round the supposedly mystical homes of a misplaced Navaho sandpainting. Or whilst the portray leads him to suspect an alien presence.
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It didn't help that he was the shortest member of the department, with the exception of two of the female officers. In spite of his handicap he had risen to become chief of the largest police department in the state of Florida. The detectives often wondered how that had come about. Accidents of nature were frequently invoked. Moody didn't think about it as much as some of his friends, because he had next to no contact with the Chief's office. Nor did Feldstein actively seek the company of his officers, preferring the seclusion of his office with its mollyboards and vorec circuits.
He wouldn't put anything past a damn strider. It was so very different from Mississippi. In many ways the Sip was much nicer than Flo-ree-dah: quieter, friendlier, laid-back and relaxed. Less need to flinch when someone approaching you on the street reached into his coat. It was also a helluva lot duller, he reminded himself. Which was why after graduating from the Academy he'd moved to the Greater Tampa area with his first wife. His appraisal of his prospects in West Florida had been borne out by quick advancement.
The hypothetical weapon made more sense than the hypothetical motive. No bullets to trace to a certain caliber gun, no poisons to track to a pharmacologist, no messy sharp blades. An electric charge left no calling card. He didn't care much for the Chief. While Moody liked working with machines, he also enjoyed the company of other human beings. Feldstein didn't. If given a choice, there was no doubt in Moody's mind that the Chief would much prefer to run his department without any people at all.