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SW1 Double Blind


From Tue Jan 13 23:13:07 1998
Subject: {ASS/M} New Story: SW#1: Double Blind (sci-fi/mystery)(m/2xhermaphrodite)
From: (SandMan)
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 05:13:07 GMT

Content Warning: The following work of fiction deals with sexual
situations between a man and two hermaphrodites. Hermaphrodites
contain the sex organs of both male and female. They exist in real
life. Hermaphrodites can be terribly confusing to people who are
secure in their sexuality. If this bothers you or if it is illegal
to possess such material in your locality, please hit the delete
button now. This is a work of fiction and any similarity to any
person(s) living or dead is pure coincidence. Under no circumstances
should this material be deemed suitable for minors.

Subject: In the near future Steve Whiley P.I. sets out on a routine
case to prove adultery in a divorce proceeding and soon finds himself
entwined in a high tech murder mystery.

Author's note: Based on "fan mail" The Case was far and away my most
successful story, though I hardly consider it my best work. Still the
setting has its appeals, and I revisit the world of Steve Whiley once
more. If you haven't read The Case, you needn't bother to dredge it
up; this is a prequel, in a matter of fashion. To those of you who
have read The Case, the story does cover some old ground, but briefly,
so it should not distract too much from this new story. To me, it
addresses the major faults of the first: the sex this time is hot and
steamy, and, most important of all, there's a real case and some good
solid detective work at play.

Subject Matter: (Sci-fi) (M/2xHermaphrodite)
Rating: (X) Not suitable for minors. May be illegal in some areas.

Author: The SandMan
Copyright: 1998

Distribution Rights: May be distributed freely WITHOUT MODIFICATION on
USENET, USENET II, not-for profit web sites, not-for profit ftp sites,
and news archival services which offer free public access to archived
articles. All other rights are specifically reserved by the author.

Creation Date: 1/9/98
Distribution Date: 1/13/98 (ASS/ASSM)

Steve Whiley P.I. - Issue #1
Double Blind (By Sandman)

She was waiting for me when I stepped off the lift. As I walked down
the hallway I studied her. Tall, shapely, in a black dress that left
little to the imagination and was no doubt cut just to show off her
curves. The dress was slit at her legs, revealing a gorgeous shapely
leg and the hint of a garter. The shoes matched the dress, black with
very high heels. A diamond necklace hung around her neck, plunging
down between her ample breasts. They had to be synthetics; no one
could be that perfectly shaped, especially when not wearing a bra.
Matching diamond earrings dangled from her ears. A large brimmed
black hat hid one eye, but the one studying me as I approached was a
brilliant green. Her long wavy blond hair flowed from under the hat
and danced across her shoulders. There was the hint of blush, and
full rich red lips. She was elegance and class personified.

"You're late," she said as I unlocked the door and held it open for

"Traffic," I replied. Really my droid had broken down and I had had
to fix breakfast myself. Even though she was impossibly out of my
league, I didn't want to ruin any potential chances by rubbing her
nose in my poverty. She tossed her head in a dismissive gesture and
took a seat. I moved behind my desk and sat down as well. "What can
I do for you?"

"I'm about to divorce my husband. I want anything you can find on
him," she answered.

Hardly surprising -- spouse hunting was my stock and trade. "A
thousand new dollars a day, plus expenses, and a fifty grand bonus
if I can prove fault," I replied. It was higher than my usual fee,
almost double what I normally charged, but she looked as if she could
afford it. The necklace alone would be worth a year's salary.
Proving fault wasn't as easy as catching her husband in the sack; he
could do that all he wanted, and it would still be a no-fault divorce.

Fault in this case would be to catch him in a criminal act, something
that would send him to jail, annulling the marriage and ensuring she
got every last penny of the estate. It was a rare case when I got to
collect a bonus.

"Expensive," she said, as she considered. For a second I thought I
had inflated my fee too high; I could dicker, but if it came to that
I'd probably lose her anyway. "My contacts in the department said
you were the best. I'll give you a week; after that we'll see where
you stand."

It paid to keep up old friendships. I had started out as a cop on
the beat, and made detective in only three years. After I solved a
particularly gruesome serial killing that had stumped even the feds,
the FBI recruited me and I worked for ten years as the best serial
killer stalker in the trade. The CIA pulled me from the FBI and set
me to work on tracking terrorists, but I only lasted with them two
years. The CIA scared the daylights out of me. They knew too much
about everyone, and they didn't play fair. When I quit the CIA, I
returned home and hung up my shingle as a Steve Whiley, P.I. I kept
up my ties with the cops; I respected their beat they respected mine.

And when someone casually asked how something could be found out,
they usually sent that someone my way.

"I'll need a name, Personal Identification Number, and address.
I'll start today," I said quickly.

"Jack Dawson," she replied. "I'm Ann Dawson. His PIN is
2832-893-2913. Our address is 315 Wedgewood in the heights. I'll
meet you here; don't try to contact me."

She stood and fished through her purse and removed a white envelope.
She opened it and, after a bit of counting, removed some cash and
threw the envelope on the desk. My quick eye counted two thousand
new dollars had been removed. When I checked the envelope I was not
surprised to find a thousand new dollars waiting for me. I had short
changed myself; she would have gone to three. But a grand was more
than enough. I watched with an appreciative eye the way her hips
swayed as she left the office.

I swung around and turned on the terminal and did a quick search.
Jack Dawson, president and owner of SynCor the largest maker of
computerized medical devices in the world. The most famous product
was the nanites, microscopic robots which could be injected into a
patient's bloodstream by the millions. Smaller than a blood cell,
they repaired damage cells, cleared arteries, and could even locate
and destroy viruses and bacteria. The second was the passive imaging
table, a staple of any doctor's office. The patient simply lies on
the table and a wall-sized view screen prints out vital signs and a
complete realtime scan of the body, with several flexible views,
allowing the doctor to slice through the body layer by layer in any
direction. Under the direction of a skilled controller, the P.I.T.
could simulate a free floating camera inside the patient's body. The
software was so good that it required little skill to control.

Jack Dawson had attended MIT for one year, and then had dropped out
when he struck gold with a nifty little device which made comparing
DNA instantaneous. Drop a sample of each in either side, and within
one second a green or red light would flash. Over the next year he
improved the technology to allow for computer coding of DNA strands,
and the government made him a wealthy man. It's the staple of any
prescient lab: drop a DNA sample from the crime scene into the
analyzer, and within five minutes the DNA is compared with every
living person in the nation. The next year he built the profiler,
a device which would reconstruct with 90% accuracy the physical
profile of a person just from their DNA. The only thing it couldn't
do was predict fat from environmental factors, and facial hair and
coloring. Another jackpot. He met Ann Varas a few years after he
invented the profiler at a charity auction, courted her a year, and
then finally tied the knot. No children, probably by choice, since
sterility was always reversible if you had the money for it, and
genetic incompatibilities were equally repairable -- again, if you
had the money.

Pictures flashed of both Jack and Ann. He was a mousy little man,
about five foot five, thin as a rail, with short brown hair and too
small blue eyes that looked distinctly beady. His nose was thin and
hawkish, set above thin bloodless lips. One would have never known
by looking at him that he was one of the richest men in the world.

I punched an address into my terminal and an attractive blond appeared
on the screen; she smiled when she saw it was me. "How's it hangin',
Steve?" she asked.

"It never hangs when I'm lookin' at you babe," I replied. She loved
the banter; we'd had more than a few good times together.

"How sweet! What can I do you for?"

She was busy; otherwise, she would not have skipped over my remark.
I was brief. "I need an e-tap on -- Jack Dawson."

She gave a low whistle. "That's grade A stuff honcho."

"You can do it?" I asked.

She leaned over conspiratorially so that her face filled my view
screen. "We're the CIA honey. We can do anything. Usual fee; tap
will be up in a few minutes." The screen went dark.

I had met Candice when I worked for the CIA. She was one of their
net agents, and we worked on quite a few cases together. She was one
of the rare computer nerds who happened to be both interesting and
genuinely attractive. Candice was married to the net, but she was
also lonely. We had had a few flings just for the fun of it. She was

the first to know I was leaving the CIA, and the only one to really
know why. She was one of my best contacts; she liked me enough to do
a favor now and again and didn't mind the money on the side, usually
five hundred new dollars. She was also good enough that we both knew
she'd never get caught freelancing.

A window popped open on my terminal. The tap had started and I was
getting all of Jack's unread e-mail. Twenty in all, nineteen of them
business related, or so technical I couldn't make heads or tails of
them. But the tenth of the bunch set my blood racing.

To: Jack Dawson
From: Anonymous

The package has arrived. It will take a few days to prepare
the reply you requested. Look over the plan again carefully.

There may be a flaw and it could all unravel. I'll explain
further once we can get a secured line. You'll probably have
already seen it by then.

My heart pounded. On the surface the message seemed perfectly
innocent, but the way it avoided naming anything set off alarm bells.
Something was going on here, and maybe something that would earn me
a nice little bonus. I called up the message headers and then began
the laborious process of tracing the e-mail back to its source. I
couldn't trace it to a single person, but I did trace it to Zurich,
Switzerland, at a SynCor branch office.

A little more digging through the net and I found Jack Dawson was
scheduled to leave today for a vacation in the Bahamas. I winced when
I saw it would be by teleport. No way was I going to follow him
through that. The Star Trek guys had it right all along, it turned
out, though not as easily as it looked. Take three atoms A, B and C.

Entangle B with C. Then take C as far away as you want. Now entangle

A with B, destroying A in the process and C immediately takes on every

last characteristic of A. Immediately, as in faster than the speed of
light. Einstein called it spooky; he was a smart man.

The teleport is the quickest way to travel and communicate anywhere.
It's really the only way to get to the outer colonies. The only
problem with it is that you die in the process. Oh sure, another you
walks out of another booth somewhere, but could you teleport a soul?
And not everyone was convinced the original suffered a painless
disintegration; quite a few imaginative authors described in vivid
detail the agonies of the original self before the new self emerged.

I booked a supersonic flight to the island and just barely had time
to run by my apartment and pack a few things before I caught the
flight. He wasn't due to leave for a couple of hours, so I'd arrive
in plenty of time to mark him as he left the teleport terminal. In
fact, thanks to the usual airport delays and rental car hassles, I
had just barely pulled up to the terminal when I spotted him walk
into a waiting limo.

I followed him to a nearby ritzy resort, The Caribbean, where I stood
behind his assistant as she picked up the key. Penthouse, of course.

I sighed mentally as I stepped forward and requested a room on the
floor just under the penthouse. The price would put a serious dent
in my savings, but it was the only way to keep up the stakeout. I
could do it on the beach, but sooner or later someone would notice
the snooper, and the snooper was not something I wanted noticed. The
penthouse would also face the beach, so a hotel to the back or side
would have too much interference from the other rooms. Like I said,
it was the only way, and my expenses were part of my bill. I'd get
it back sooner or later.

The room was classy and large, with a great view of the ocean,
almost worth the mortgage they charged to keep it for a night. I
didn't bother unpacking farther than my snooper. CIA standard issue,

Made of composites so it didn't trigger airport alarms. It looked
like nothing more than a small laptop; it even was a computer, if
someone turned it on. It used another quirk of quantum physics: take
a photon and it hits a wall, and the light stops dead in its tracks.
Only sometimes, maybe one time for every million, it doesn't. It
bores right on through and comes out the other side. It also happens
to do this at five times the speed of normal light. The Snooper uses
incredibly sophisticated image enhancement routines and catches this
almost non-existent light, piecing it back together again. The
software was so good I could even select views, zoom, and pan as if
I had a remote control video camera in the room I was looking in on.
It was also illegal as hell to own one.

I set it up quickly, aiming the invisible laser at the roof. The
laser was generated from a device which looked like a camera, the kind

you'd use for video teleconferencing. It picked up the vibrations
that passed through the walls and windows and reconstructed them as
sound. It worked best on glass, but the software would give me a
clear read on what was being said upstairs. And so the stakeout

He dismissed his secretary almost as soon as she had him settled in.
After making a few calls, very mundane, he sat down in a chair and
sipped a scotch, waiting for something or someone. There was a knock
on the door, and when he called out "come in," the door opened to
reveal two strikingly attractive ladies, as pretty as the man's own
wife. Jack may have been an unattractive geek, but his taste in women

was impeccable, and to many women wealth was as handsome as a man
could get.

They were twins, from the look of them. Long slender faces with
oriental features, long straight silken black hair, large dark eyes
with just a hint of an oriental slant. Their breasts were stacked;
probably synthetics again -- too perfect. Narrow waists, pleasingly
rounded hips, long, long legs. Jack smiled when he saw them. "It's
been too long since I've seen you."

They closed the door and walked over to his chair. Each taking an
arm, they lavished him with kisses. I selected a discrete Arial view
and punched the record button. If I had to testify in court, I would
swear I had placed a camera in the room. Adultery wasn't cause for a
fault finding anymore, but it would tend to sway the end result a bit
more favorably to the one who had not committed the act, or at least
the one who had not gotten caught. If things progressed as they
looked like they might, Ann's judgment would shift from a 50/50 split
to a 60/40 split in her favor. And, at these numbers, that was no
small chunk of change.

He had undone one of the girls' tops, exposing a breast, which he
fondled and kissed eagerly. The other girl undid her own top and,
seeing un-tasted flesh, he turned his attentions to the new girl and
then back again. Jack sighed and stood up and the girls began to
disrobe him eagerly. One girl did not remove his shirt so much as
massage it off of him, letting her hand rub across his chest and back
as she skillfully removed the shirt. The other girl removed his
shorts and pants, pausing a moment to place her mouth over his erect
cock and give a small suck. Naked, he walked over to the bed and sat
as he watched them disrobe.

As I watched them something hit me as unusual, but it wasn't until
they removed their panties that I noticed what had bothered me. They
were hermaphrodites! They stood before him with raging hardons and,
as part of the show, they were pulling back their pussy lips to give
a good view of their anatomy. They both had pubic hair and they both
had pussies, but where the clitoris should have been they both had
large five-inch cocks, and below the cocks were fully formed vaginas,
which they were both probing with their fingers at the moment.

I sat back in my chair and whistled. Hermaphrodites were incredibly
rare, maybe one in every fifty thousand births. Most doctors changed
the sex to either male or female at birth so the child would not grow
up in the underground "third sex". Even the poorest patients were
allowed the operation. Sometimes the doctor and parents allowed a
child to remain unchanged, until the child himself would one day
decide to become a boy or a girl; until that day, the child had both
sexual organs. Some, like these, had only a penis; others had
testicles as well. Either these girls were born hermaphrodites and
chose to stay that way, or they had one hell of a surgeon. One thing
was very certain though: Jack Dawson had very, very exotic tastes.

The "girls" moved from masturbating themselves to fucking each other.
One girl slid her cock into the other and they made love standing up,
very carefully positioned to give the maximum amount of exposure to
their audience on the bed. Their breasts brushed against each other
as they moved, their beautiful faces locked in a long lingering
passionate kiss. The penis of the girl being fucked rubbed against
the belly of the girl doing the fucking. Jack watched the show as
fascinated as I was at the sight.

Go tell your extreme religious fanatic about this, the kind that
doesn't like doctors because they thwart the will of God. Ask him if
the girls were homosexual. He'll probably run screaming for the door.
Find the most gay-bashing man you can dig up, and put him in a room
with one or both of these women, and he'd probably fuck them without a
second thought and then run screaming to the nearest loony bin.
Hermaphrodites can do that to people. You find yourself asking a lot
of questions you don't know the answer to.

Both girls visibly reached orgasm in the loudest and most active way
possible; it was part of the show, of course. The girl whose penis
was visible actually ejaculated, so she did have testes, probably
internal. If they weren't careful, these girls could get pregnant all
by themselves. They looked over at Jack and smiled mischievously. He
smiled back. I think I would have as well. The answer to every
possible dream, the dream of having two women, the dream of bedding
twins, and that little dream that few of us really admit to having,
the dream of exploring bisexuality.

Jack didn't need to explore. Judging from what followed, he was going

back over well-traveled ground. The girls walked over to him, and he
swallowed one girl's prick, still covered with cum, while he fondled
the other girl's cock with his hands, letting it fall on occasion to
finger fuck her.

He brought both of them to climax, and not missing a beat he swallowed
his partners' seed. It slowly dawned on me that while the girls may
have male anatomy, they retained the woman's ability to achieve
multiple orgasms. I very, very much envied them at this point.

One of the women rolled over onto the bed and, after placing a pillow
under her ass, spread herself invitingly. Jack smiled and poised
himself above her. Jack was not a large man in any respect. His
fully erect penis measured perhaps three and a half inches, and I say
that with the margin for error on the high side. He slid in and then
waited. The other girl scooted up behind him on her knees, her penis
covered in a mass of cum and saliva. She positioned herself at his
ass and pushed in. Jack didn't grunt in pain; he was used to this.
Then they began to move in a dance that was so exotic I just about
came in my shorts.

Jack's belly brushed the prick of the girl beneath him. It quivered
and throbbed noticeably as he brushed it. His chest brushed across
her ample breasts, her nipples standing firm and erect. The girl behind him had her thrusts timed perfectly. As Jack withdrew she
thrust in, when jack thrust in she pulled out. Her breasts, as
perfectly shaped and as full as her sisters', bounced with the
movement, and she massaged them eagerly with her hands. Sometimes
she would lean over, allowing them to brush against Jack's back as
he moved.

The girl on the bottom climaxed and, judging from Jack's face, he was
joining her. The girl behind him looked to prolonging the inevitable.

No doubt if she came now it would interfere with the timing, and there

was nothing I saw that indicated these girls were not the pinnacle of
professional. She waited until Steve's pace slowed and he fell onto
the girl under him, who wrapped him in a lovers embrace, holding him
inside her. The girl behind him dropped her hands to his hips and was
not gentle as she followed through with her own orgasm.

After they had rolled apart, with Jack between the two breathtakingly
beautiful women, he sighed, "Much, much too long..." as their hands
gently caressed his body. I stopped recording and considered what I
had found. I could earn a fortune by publishing the vid on the net.
I could probably earn three times that by using it as blackmail. But
neither was my style. My ethics are the only thing that lets me wake
up in the morning and get a good night's sleep each night.

An unusual flash of light where there should be no unusual flash of
light led me to swing the view around to the window. The image
started to fall apart as I tried to push the view beyond what the
device could detect. I saw just the hint of something, then I slapped
myself on the forehead for a fool and went to my own window and looked
out. A helicopter hovered about a quarter mile out. I fished out a
pair of binoculars and zoomed in. A man with a camera was clearly
visible. The shades of Jack's room had been open. I wasn't the only
one who had filmed the encounter.

That complicated matters, though I couldn't yet say how. Best see how
the dice fell. Jack had sent both of the girls off with a kiss and a
smile and then settled down to matters of business. He did not look
like a happy man, going through those reports and statistics. I
suppose if I took a vacation and ended up going over reports and
statistics I wouldn't be happy either.

The next morning the news was all over the tabloids. "Jack Dawson
caught sleeping with two hermaphrodites!" the headlines screamed. The
article gave a pretty good account of what happened, compete with a
net address where the reader could purchase the entire film. Jack
was not a happy man that morning when he found out.

"Do whatever you have to, squash that story and do it now! Buy every
damn rag if you have to, but I want a full retraction in tomorrow's
paper, and I want that net site shut down immediately or there will be
hell to pay!" Jack hit the disconnect button with a fury and stormed
around the room, stomping so hard I could hear his steps through the
ceiling without the aid of the snooper.

Jack punched up another number and I cursed at being unable to find a
view that would reveal what he pressed. I could see only him, not
the person he talked to or what he typed on the terminal. "Zaire, I
want to push forward with the plan. Two days, tops, I think. Get
everything ready," he said, as he ran his hands through his hair.

"I think we've worked out the problem, Jack," a woman's voice sounded
over the link. "Two days will be rough; can you give us five? Even
that will be pushing it."

"No, I can't give you five! I said two and I meant it! I'm through
with all this crap and it's going to end in two days!" Again he
jabbed the disconnect button.

The rest of the morning was spent in preparations to return home.
After issuing a terse statement to the waiting press, that the
tabloid reports where nothing more than creative computer animation,
he stepped into his limo and rushed to the teleport terminal. I had
his itinerary well in hand though, thanks to the snooper, and had
booked a more conventional supersonic for my passage.

Ann was waiting for me back at my office. She sat down in a cold fury
as soon as she entered. "I guess I don't need you anymore. The
perverted little fool!" she said disgustedly. "I'm here to settle
the bill."

I shrugged and pushed over a disk containing the film. The one you
could get off the net, though mine was far, far better. It never hurt to be cautious where the snooper was concerned. "There's another
grand for today, plus travel and hotel; that tops off another two
grand. You might want to think about keeping me on. I caught enough
hints to think I can show cause."

"You're joking!" she said, not quite but almost laughing in my face.
The thought of her husband engaged in a criminal act seemed quite
beyond his capacity in her opinion.

"I'm not," I replied.

She considered me carefully. "No more daily expenses. If you can
show cause, you'll get the bonus."

"If I have to work on spec, the bonus will grow to half a million new
dollars," I shot back. I could play hardball, too.

"Prove cause and it's yours," she agreed. She stood and again pulled
an envelope out of her purse. She removed some cash and dropped the
envelope on my desk. It contained four thousand new dollars. My
creditors would be very happy.

I leaned back in my chair and considered. Something was going to
happen in two days, something that Jack Dawson seemed to think would
make his life easier. Someone in Zurich was probably helping him in
his plan. It might or might not be illegal. If it was illegal and
I caught him, I got my bonus. If not, I lost a few days of my life.

Catching him in the act would prove no easy task, for his offices in
SynCor were such that it was impossible for me to get close enough to
use the snooper. His home, with that large privacy fence, was even
worse. And when the second day rolled around, I had no more leads on
what was about to happen than anyone else. So I was just as shocked
as everyone else when Jack Dawson was found dead in his study by a

After they had taken Ann in for questioning, I sat in precinct
headquarters, sipping on really lousy coffee with Bill Stein, an old buddy I used to walk the beat with. The years had not been kind to
Bill; he had grown very rotund, to such an extent he only worked desk
duty now. Fat was easy to remove, liposuction and pills were nearly
100% effective, but Bill liked who he was, though I suspected he liked
that the fat kept him off the streets. It was scary out there, even
for a cop.

"What's the dope on the Dawson slaying?" I asked.

"You nosing in on our territory, Steve?" Bill asked seriously.

I shrugged. "The girl's my client. Referred to me by one of my pals
here at the precinct. I have a prior claim. Or let's just say a
vested interest. If I decide to do a bit of nosing around, I'll make
sure my old buddies get the credit."

Bill nodded. "It's a righteous bust. DNA sniffer shows only three
people in that room, the maid, the wife, and the husband. The maid
has an alibi, the wife doesn't. Murder weapon was found in the room
by the door, too far away to be a suicide; the trajectory doesn't look
right either. No prints on the gun, but the wife has a nice selection
of stylish gloves."

"Gun?" I asked.

"Rail," Bill replied.

"Damn!" I swore. Rail guns were every bit as effective, compact and
portable as their gunpowder counterparts, but were more accurate at
long range and they left no gunpowder residue. If Ann really were
innocent she could have proved it, had gunpowder been involved. Up
to 48 hours after a shot, the residue could be detected even in the
suspect's blood.

"Thanks, Bill. I appreciate the info," I said as I got up. Normally
the cops would still be questioning a suspect, trying to wear him or
her down, but she was rich, and rich bought privileges, not the least
of which was an overpaid lawyer who told my brothers in arms to go
fuck themselves. But they held her in a private cell pending formal
charges; they could at least do that. The case was circumstantial,
but it was the strongest circumstantial case you could have.

Her lawyer was in the meeting room when I entered. He studied me
warily. I sat down at the table across from her and asked, "Did you
do it?"

Her lawyer started to object, but she shook her head fiercely and
hissed, "No." I believed her. It was more than just wanting to
believe her as well. I felt it in my gut. She disliked Steve, she
wanted to divorce him, she wanted him out of her life; but she wasn't
the type to go around killing people. The cops said the motive was
money. When you start dividing up billions of new dollars, there's
not much difference between five billion and ten billion. Either
figure was more than a person could spend in three lifetimes. The
motive didn't jibe. The secondary motive was jealous rage at finding
her husband in a compromising position with the two "girls". That
was more credible in court. But Ann had wanted to divorce her
husband; Jack's exploits only served to further her cause. Again,
the motive didn't jibe with what I knew.

"I'm still available if you need my services," I said. "Same rate as
before, fifty grand bonus if I get you out of here." I could have
asked for more; I should have. But the trouble with ethics is that
they don't really leave you much room to take advantage of situations
like this.

"Get me out of here and I'll pay whatever you want," she said, on the
verge of tears. And seeing the once proud, strong, elegant woman I
had first met reduced to this cowering, very afraid little girl, I
would have taken the case pro bono.

I set out of the precinct with a grim determination and a familiar
thrill of excitement rushing through my veins. The closed box mystery
is a long favored prop of mystery writers that so rarely appears in
real life. My client was the only one in the box. That and the maid.

I spent the rest of the day interviewing her and digging into her
past. There was nothing that pointed to her as anything other than a
simple servant who had worked for the Dawson family going on ten years


What started tripping alarm bells were the security logs, showing that
shortly after the murder a white Porsche had been taken from the
garage and logged out. I went through the logs again; everyone in
the house was accounted for. Everyone that was logged into the house
was there when the Porsche left. I sat back in my chair and let out
a low whistle. Someone else had been in the house that night, someone

who had gotten around security. The log showed the magcard had been
Jack's own personal card. There was no picture. Apparently Jack
didn't feel it was necessary for security to take snapshots of his
comings and goings.

Slowly the scene unfolded. Someone had been in the room with Jack
that night, shot him with a rail gun, somehow managed to not leave a
single trace of his DNA behind, and escaped in the white Porsche. But
the killer would have to wear a space suit to avoid leaving behind a
few strands of DNA, and a man in a space suit is not inconspicuous.
I pulled up the police lab report with a kernel of an idea forming.
It had been tried at least once: a man using a clone to fake his own
death. What had tripped him up were the replication errors in the
DNA. A clone is not a perfect copy; there are subtle replication
errors that can be detected. From what I had learned so far, this
didn't sound all that farfetched.

I scrolled through the lab report until I found what I was looking
for, or rather didn't find what I was looking for. There were no
replication errors. Another dead end. Next, I called up the will;
when you want for suspects, the will can be a veritable grocery store
of suspects. It struck me as unusual as I read it. It pretty much
gave half of the entire estate to Ann, which she was entitled to
anyway unless dead or in prison. Jack's half was to be inherited by
a registered clone that would be awakened after his death. If Ann
were dead or in prison, the clone would inherit the whole ball of
wax. Few men were vain enough to live out their deaths as clones,
but Jack seemed the type.

I pulled up the previous will, which had been changed only two weeks
ago. It was far more standard; everything went to Ann and a few
charities were mentioned favorably. Nothing unusual, nothing out of
the ordinary. But two weeks ago Jack suddenly becomes interested in
clones, changes his will, and is violently murdered soon after. I
called up the new will again and investigated the registered clone.
The clone was stored in Zurich. Suddenly everything started to click
together, though it still didn't show anything useful. Everything
seemed to revolve around Zurich, and that is where I found myself the
next morning.

I walked into the SynCor branch office and presented myself to the
secretary. "I'm not sure who I should talk to," I began. I was
wearing a transkit, basically a glorified microphone I spoke into.
Echo cancellation muted my voice, and the computer provided a smooth
translation to the listener. "I'm here to see the person in charge
of the Jack Dawson clone."

"Please have a seat. I'll find someone to help you," she said. The
speaker in my ear gave her a dull mechanical sound that in no way
went with her otherwise attractive features.

I waited patiently until a striking red-haired woman in a white lab
coat walked over to me. I rose and made a small greeting. "You can
take the transkit off; I speak English fluently."

I smiled as I took off the kit. "How did you know I speak English?"
I asked.

"You have the look about you, and I have a keen ear." She shrugged.
"What can I do for you?"

"I'm investigating the Dawson murder. I'd like to see the clone and
maybe learn a bit more about the process," I replied.

"Are you a policeman?" she asked.

"Investigator for Ann Dawson," I answered. "Same rights."

"Not in Switzerland," she said dryly.

"I've got a few pals on the force. I'm sure I could get one up here,
if you insist, and I'm sure he'd let me tag along," I countered.

"No," she said, considering her words. "That won't be necessary.
Follow me."

As I followed her through the maze of corridors, she explained the
process of cloning. "It's fairly simple, really. We take an egg and
destroy the genetic material inside; we then insert a compete strand
of the donor DNA. The egg believes it's been fertilized and starts
growing. Of course we modify the DNA slightly to speed up the aging
clock, so to speak. One in three clones can't or don't survive the
first three days. After a week, if all goes well, we have a fully
grown clone that's put into cryostorage until it's needed."

"But without the memories and experiences of the donor," I said.

"Correct. We're working on a way to transplant brain engrams, but
the process is still very primitive and we haven't made that
breakthrough yet. One day, perhaps." She took me to a vault that
looked more like a morgue than anything else and pulled out a drawer
that contained a body which, to my eye, was Jack Dawson.

"Jack Dawson's registered clone. We're waiting for the final approval
to come down through the executors before reviving him. After that,
we'll begin an accelerated teaching program, and within a year he'll
be a fully functional member of society again. Is this what you came
to see?"

Another dead end. "Yes. I guess it was. I thank you for your time."

As I sat in the hotel room that night I tried to piece everything
together. But it all fell apart. Something was going on; every
instinct I ever had screamed at me that something wasn't right. But
I couldn't put my finger on it. I checked my e-mail and I read a
note from Bill, my buddy on the force, that said they had located the
Porsche in front of the teleport terminal. Whoever had left was now
long gone.

I called Teleport, Inc., and worked my way up the ladder trying to
gain access to the security files for the terminal, but it was no go
all the way. Even the cops couldn't touch Teleport; they were a
multinational and their terminals were nearly as immune as embassy
grounds. Frustrated, I punched up Candice, and after a few minutes
of good natured bantering I posed the question. "You up for a game
of whodunnit tonight, blossom?"

She grew serious. "Whose system?"

"Teleport. LA Terminal. Security reports for two days ago," I

"A snap. You owe me dinner, though, and a good fuck after!" she

"You can have those anytime you want," I said, deadly serious.

She sighed. "Then I'll have to add a few more items to the list
later!" she winked. "Hold on, lover; here we go."

My screen split in two, showing Candice on the left and security
readouts on the right. I started recording the right side of the
screen. A couple of hundred faces flipped past me at the rate of
about one a second. Then suddenly I said, "Stop! Go back one."
The faces stopped and the image flipped back to the previous one.
Not the one I wanted. "Again," I said. Again, nothing familiar.
"Again," I said. And suddenly Jack Dawson was staring right at me.
The time and date stamp of the photo clearly indicated a time after
he was supposed to have been dead.

"Can you follow this one through? I want to see where he went."
Candice nodded and more information appeared on the screen.
Polynesia, a private island owned by SynCor. I leaned over and kissed
the camera and made a big show of it with a loud smack. "For this,
Candice, I will have to marry you."

"Ugh!" she said, ruffling her nose. "That's not a reward; that's a
punishment! But I'll think of something interesting, I promise."

She cut the connection and I let the pieces of the puzzle fall
together. Jack makes a big show of being caught in a scandalous
affair, probably even going so far as to tip off the tabloids, giving
his wife even more of a motive for murder than the billions of
dollars already at stake. Somehow he manages to get an exact copy of
himself, not a clone with replication errors, but a copy so perfect
that every DNA test says the copy is him. He kills the copy and runs
off to hide on a private island for a year or so. His wife gets sent
off to prison and his clone inherits the whole ball of wax. The clone

goes through the motions of learning to be a person for the curious,
but the attention span of the press is hours, not months. After a
year, maybe a little longer just to be safe, the clone meets a
quiet, untimely end, and Jack steps out of hiding, free and clear.

But how did he get the exact copy? Replication errors were
inevitable. It could be proved scientifically that a perfect clone
could not be produced. Then, because Jack had centered my attention
on Teleport so much, the last piece of the puzzle clicked into place.
Teleport works by entwining A with B, destroying A but transferring
the properties of A to C. In theory, there could be a D and E. The
D would disintegrate itself like B but the E would be another perfect

A shiver ran down my spine as I imagined the two of them in the study
together. Maybe they even had sex; he was just narcissistic enough
to do it. Then they flipped a coin to decide who would die. In the
end, it was just another teleport, but one that finally did live up
to all of those writer's imaginations.

I turned the results of my investigations over to Bill and my client.
The cops had a little trouble getting Teleport's security logs, but
eventually they saw what I did. The cops didn't storm the island. A
lone deputy arrived by launch and personally handed the summons to
appear in court to a very, very surprised Jack Dawson. Ann's lawyers
dug out all the labs that were used to make the exact copy, and she
was acquitted by the grand jury without ever standing trial.

In the end, I got fifty-six thousand new dollars. My bonus for
getting her out of jail, my fee for the days worked, plus expenses.
Since no one could decide if a murder had been committed or not,
since the victim was now very much alive, I didn't get my half-
million. The most we could get him on was adultery and fraud.
Fraud was a civil crime, not a criminal one. The prisons were too
crowded for that kind of criminal. But, in the final divorce, Ann
got a 70/30 split, which was far better than the 50/50 she had
started out with.

Ann's a good girl; she offered me the half mil, but I turned it down
flat. Ethics can be a damned nuisance sometimes. But, for the
moment, at least, my creditors were happy and I have some cash in my
pocket and a supersonic booked for Virginia, where Candice and I have
a dinner date planned. I'm sure she's thought up some pretty good
things to add to that list by now as well.


Also by Sandman:
The Choice (1/1/98) (bi) (M/F) (MM) (FF) (MM/FF)
The Case (1/2/98) (sci-fi) (M/F) (MM) (V-violence)
Stranded (1/3/98) (bi) (M/F) (MM) (FF) (MM/F)
Sorrows End (1/7/98) (M/F) (Romantic)
Steve Whiley#1-Double Blind (1/13/98) (sci-fi)(M/2xHermphrodite)
*Steve Whiley#2-Starlight (sci-fi) (m/f) (m/ff)
*Burnt Offerings (Horror) (m/f) (v-violence)

* Unpublished.


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