| "Les Mortes dArthur" |
Set in the Future
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
Major Katayama Hitoshi headed the security detachment on Mimas, a moon of Saturn. He led the investigation into the murder of three athletes during the sixty-sixth Winter Olympic Games. His preliminary investigation indicated that they had been killed by bursts from a high powered laser.
The day after the murders, he was interviewed by Bill Bennett and Rannveig Aasen of Interplanetary Broadcasting Company. He indicated that security precautions had broken down back on Earth by allowing the killer to board a ship. While his personnel checked arriving baggage for arms and explosives, a deadly laser was all to easy to improvise from laser tubes in cameras, computer scanners and dozens of other, everyday tools.
Aasen asked why his guards didn't prevent the assassin from reaching cover for the kill or track him down after he struck. Major Hitoshi indicated that while an athlete could see for thirty-five km, as had been mentioned in their previous broadcast, he could also be seen for that distance. This meant that the killer could be anywhere in a circle of that radius which was 3800 sq km. Since he had a force of twenty, each would have to guard about 190 sq km.
Bennett asked if the observation satellite in synchronous orbit had spotted anything. Major Hitoshi replied that at the time, Arthur was in the night side of Mimas and so, aside from the landing area, it was in the dark. With the satellite six hundred km up, it had not seen anything. However, he did have some hope that computer enhancement of the images might reveal something useful.
Aasen asked why his guards had not spotted the flash of the laser when it fired. Major Hitoshi replied that the flash came from the light reflecting off of air and dust. Since Mimas had no atmosphere, there would not be any flash.
Bennett then thanked him for his time and ended the interview.
However, Major Hitoshi had not told all he knew. From the autopsies of the dead men, security had learned the angles that the laser bursts had hit. From this they triangulated to a small area of only a couple of sq km rather than the 3800 he had mentioned. He and a search team of security guards went out to examine the area. The guards worked in pairs with one jumping twenty to thirty meters up and shining a spotlight down to allow their partner to examine the lit area with Major Hitoshi coordinating.
A few hours later, Hitoshi was surprised when Bennett arrived at the search area. At first he was angry that one of his people had leaked the information to the media but Bennett explained that he had become curious at what Dmitri Shepilov, one of the murdered jumpers, might have been pointing at just prior to his death. Hitoshi relaxed slightly and gave grudging permission for Bennett to join the search.
This paid off when Bennett discovered an expended, heavy-duty charge cube. His guards immediately began to search the cave in which the cube was found. Major Hitoshi examined Bennett's cube and found written instruction on it in Roman letters. He found "Made in Praha" or Prague on it which indicated the cube was an Eastern European make. The cave yielded two more cubes of the same make.
The search continued with Bennett helping for a while. As he gave up and stated to leave, Hitoshi radioed him and ordered him to not broadcast any of this until he gave him clearance. Bennett reluctantly agreed.
The next day, Major Hitoshi detained Jozef Jablonski for questioning. He was the only Eastern European who had an opportunity to commit the crimes. Jablonski denied any knowledge of the killings and stated that he had been alone and asleep when they had occurred but was still held for further questioning.
Major Hitoshi was also interested in interrogating Itzhak Zalman, the sole Jew on the Arab World team. He had panicked and sought political asylum with the Chinese coach when Bennett had joked with him that there was a rumor he was an undercover member of the Second Irgun. It turned out he really was a member and thought his cover was blown. Hitoshi's guards had found a recording where Zalman stated he planned no violence, only a loss of face to the Arab World by revealing how slipshod their security measures were. The value of this recording was problematic but Hitoshi had not yet been able to gain access to Zalman.
Hitoshi, in a good humor because of his assistance, confirmed all this to Bennett when he called asking about it. He was more impatient when Bennett called a second time that day. However, Hitoshi heard him out as Bennett explained about the frost ring he had found on the exterior of Nikolai Yezhov's suite and how his home town of Kolyma had been the location of a prison camp for centuries and still used as such by Siberia. Hitoshi confirmed that Yezhov worked in the prison system and that and the fact he was a stereovision installer gave him the temperament and ability to commit the murders.
Major Hitoshi formulated a plan to take Yezhov by surprise. He announced the arrest of Jablonski for the murders which was dutifully reported by Bennett and Aasen. They also arranged to interview athletes on their reactions including Yezhov. As he was being interviewed, Hitoshi and a squad of guards knocked on his door. When he opened it, they stormed his suite and shackled him.
The guards searched the rooms and discovered a circular scar two meters wide behind a wall hanging. Another guard examined the case of the stereovision set in Yezhov's room and discovered tampering. It was removed and taken to a crime lab for closer examination. The laser tube inside proved to have been modified to be used as the murder weapon.
At this point, Yezhov gave an ironic bow to Major Hitoshi and offered him his compliments. Histoshi asked if he had anything to say. He replied that he had chosen to strike a blow for Holy Mother Russia against the godless Marxists who still held Moscow. He added that Siberia had cast them down and even Eastern Europe and China had done so too. He did not care if peace was sworn, there could not be peace between the two.
Major Hitoshi then asked why, if his fight was with Moscow, he killed the other two athletes. Yezhov answered scornfully that it was to avoid embarrassing his country. Too many people would not understand why honor compelled him to act as he did. This angered Hitoshi who replied that there was no honor in shooting in ambush. He then ordered his Security people to take him away.