| "Les Mortes dArthur" |
Set in the Future
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||Norway (part of United Europe)|
|Affiliations:||Interplanetary Broadcasting Company|
Rannveig Aasen was a co-anchor for Interplanetary Broadcasting Company's coverage of the events of the Sixty-sixth Winter Games on Mimas, a moon of Saturn. She was a striking blonde woman from Oslo, Norway. As such, she was a citizen of United Europe.
Aasen shared anchoring duties with Bill Bennett. The two had developed a sexual dalliance on the trip to Mimas, more out of boredom than anything else, and so neither viewed it as a serious romance.
Aasen and Bennett made their first broadcast covering the opening ceremonies on Mimas from a studio in the Olympic Village. As the torch bearer climbed the improbably steep slope to light the Olympic flame, the two filled the audio portion of the broadcast with chatter that informed their viewers of the conditions on Mimas and the unusual modes of motion required in its .008g gravity.
When the parade of athletes began entering the plain at the foot of Arthur's central peak, Aasen played a prank on the broadcast director. She unbuckled the belt that ensured she stayed in her seat in the low gravity and began caroming around the studio like an insane billiard ball, all the while providing a commentary on the procession in a professional voice. Bennett watched in admiration as she didn't miss a beat.
After the first day transmission ended (and Aasen was indirectly chastised by the director), the two went to a lounge in the complex that contained a bar. Aasen had aquavit with a beer chaser which came in free-fall squeeze bulbs with nipples for drinking. The gravity was low enough to require it. Bennett left her to mingle but she wasn't alone for long. She struck up a conversation with Jozef Jablonski, a skier for Eastern Europe. A glance at Bennett saw him in deep conversation with a skier from Luna. A promising evening all the way around.
The next day, Bennett and Aasen broadcast the first round of competition in the five-kilometer ski jump. Assisting them was their expert analyst, Angus Cavendish, who had won a bronze medal in the event during the 2192 Games. Prior to the competition beginning, they explained how the event differed from the 90-meter jump in Klagenfurt. Cavendish explained that while in both events the competitors would be traveling about 100 kph when they jumped, they would reached an altitude of two and a half kilometers above the end of the runway and travel over ten kilometers. They would be airborne for ten minutes and would, at the peak, see for thirty-five kilometers.
The three did commentary on the event throughout the day. Towards the end of the first day's trials, it was the turn of Shukri al-Kuwatly for the Arab World, who was the favorite. He reached the velocity of 103.81 kph and an expected distance of 11,580 meters. However, while still a half a kilometer up and two minutes away from landing, a misty globe formed around al-Kuwatly's head. At first it was thought to be a suit failure but with al-Kuwatly remaining motionless, Cavendish realized he was dead and must have been murdered.
Almost immediately after, Bennett cried out that Dmitri Shepilov, a jumper for Moscow who was the next in line and at the top of his trajectory, was also hit. Aasen averted her head and saw on another monitor Louis-Philippe Guizot of United Europe murdered next. He had just cleared the ramp by making his jump when his helmet also became surrounded by mist.
After the three dead men tumbled like a rag dolls to the ground in the landing zone, there was a faint radio transmission. Someone claimed to be with the Second Irgun and also claimed responsibility for the atrocity.
The next day, events were suspended pending the investigation into the murders. Aasen and Bennett did make a broadcast outlining developments. They first interviewed Major Katayama Hitoshi, head of security on Mimas. He indicated that the three had been killed by bursts from a high powered laser. Given that at the peak of their jump, they could see and be seen for thirty-five kilometers, he had an area of 3,800 square kilometers to search for clues and only twenty personnel to use. He did have some hope that the observation satellite in synchronous orbit six hundred kilometers up might provide some useful information with computer enhancement of its images.
After the interview, they replayed the recording of the Second Irgun transmission and then went to IBC correspondent Jorge Martinez in Buenos Aires for further comment by the group's spokesman. Martinez was one of a group of reporters who recorded the denial of involvement by Menachem. Aasen commented that it was not the most convincing of denials. Bennett agreed but added that the Second Irgun had claimed responsibility in the past for other atrocities and so it was unusual for them to make a denial.
They then reported on the discovery of al-Kuwatly's altered suit which allowed air to escape and be used to illegally add acceleration to his jump. To get reaction from the athletes on this and the murders, they cut to Cavendish who was in a lounge with a number of competitors. He first interviewed Itzhak Zalman the sole Jew on the Arab World team and then Nikolai Yezhov of Siberia. With the end of that interview, Cavendish passed the show back to Bennett and Aasen. They summarized once more and then ended their broadcast for the day.
After they finished the transmission, Bennett expressed curiosity in the way Shepilov appeared to raise his arm to point just before he was murdered. Aasen was dismissive, indicating it was something for the professionals, such as Major Hitoshi, to investigate. She then left Bennett in the studio and went to meet with Jablonski.
That evening, Aasen joined Bennett at his table for dinner. He told her of his research which had led him outside to an area on the plain near the landing zone of the ski jump. There he had found Major Hitoshi and a detachment of security guards searching for signs of the killer. He had joined the search and discovered several expended and discarded charge cubes made in Eastern Europe. He also told her that the only skier from Eastern Europe who had jumped early enough to then have a chance of committing the murders was Jablonski.
Aasen reacted with outrage, indicating that Jablonski was too open to have killed from ambush and that the cubes could have been selected to direct suspicion away from the real killer. Bennett asked if she knew what he had done after his jump. Aasen replied that he had told her he had gone to his room and fell asleep. This troubled her, especially since she had only met Jablonski the other day and didn't know him well. Nevertheless, she wasn't convinced that he was the killer.