The Possible Perpetrators is the fourteenth chapter of Lissa's Game High fanfic Pixels and Polygons. It can be read below.
The Possible Perpetrators Edit
“Je vous ai dit, je ne suis pas coupable!”
Voltar’s mechanical ‘breathing’ kept echoing through the Outfielder’s head, and it was driving him batty. He kept pacing around the guidance office, scruffy black hair and greyish baseball cap obscuring his eyes, but the worried frown on his face was very telling of his current emotion.
“I wasn’t accusing you.” The brain in a jar intoned, not needing anyone to translate the boy’s native tongue for him. “Your interrogation is well over. I just needed to see if your recountance of events lined up with Miss Klug’s. There may be a pattern in the perpetrators’ recollection of events…”
“Perpetrator! Donc, vous ne pensez que je suis coupable!” He barked, hands starting to ball into fists, wishing he had that baseball he liked tossing around. “I will not be accused for what I didn’t do!”
A mechanical sigh. “Calm yourself, Outfielder. It isn’t as though I’m accusing you of…” A potent silence hung in the air. The Outfielder suddenly flushed (if it was even possible), putting a hand over his mouth, slumping in one of the guidance office chairs. Voltar exhaled, realizing the potency. “...I should inform you that I did not mean to imply that. That was tactless. I apologize. My mind hasn’t been the most professional lately. Do forgive me.”
“Je ne suis pas un monstre,” He mumbled, sounding shaken.
“I never said you were. We appreciate you being here. You are a valuable asset to the school community. Would you mind if Magnilde and one or two others were brought in?”
He shook his head. Voltar left, one of his little medi-bots staying behind and scanning the boy. A light on the small robot blinked. He adjusted his baseball cap slightly lower. The door began to creak ever so slightly, and the Outfielder looked up, Magnilde giving a small wave as she plopped down in the chair next to him. “You vere called back too?” He nodded. “I see. You don’ zink he’s reconsidering our guilt, do you?” He shook his head. Her mouth fell into a lopsided frown. “Not for talking today?”
“Mon esprit est ailleurs.”
“Elsevhere?” She parroted back. He nodded. “Seems years vith zat stupid spy has taught me vell after all. Vhat is elsevhere?”
The Outfielder shifted. “...Have any sugar?”
She cocked an eyebrow but didn’t get the time to reply. The door opened once more, and Vanessa was ushered in by three medi-bots. She sat across from Magnilde and the Outfielder, crossing her arms. “...Why do they need me back? They checked out the bug already, coupla’ days ago. They said they don’t blame me.”
“Zat is vhat ve are all asking.” Magnilde muttered before looking back to her monochrome friend. “I can ask for some sugar from ze kitchens, if zat vould make you feel better.”
“Ce ne est pas le bon type de sucre,” He replied.
“...Not ze right kind?”
“Oui. Your French is improving. Merci.”
“Danke,” She smiled at him, “And nov to teach your zick skull proper German.”
Vanessa shifted, giving a sort of frown at their conversation, fiddling with the applications on her watch. “Now, if we could get back to the topic at hand and not talk about...Sugar?” She looked up to the Outfielder, and he nodded. “I’m finding your talking a bit saccharine--I’ll get a cavity. Are you the Outfielder?” He gave another nod. “Simon told me about you. What’s this about imitators?”
His face fell. “Je ne sais rien à propos de Simon.”
The spy exhaled through her nose. She clicked on one of her watch’s applications and then made a gesture, asking him to repeat his statement. He did, and a robotic voice gave it’s ever so flat translation: “I know nothing about Simon.” His head gave a flinch, as though a bit startled by the sudden use of translation software. Vanessa hummed, unamused, pulling out her notepad and beginning to write.
“I’m telling the truth,” The Outfielder was still speaking in French, but her watch’s robotic voice kept a running translation of his statements. “I passed him in the hall sometimes, that’s it. We never talked.”
“He said he was at the Halloween party with you.”
“I didn’t attend.”
“Where were you, then?”
“I’m not one for parties. It’s too crowded for me. Too loud. I was waiting for my roommate to return.”
“Alois Fortesque. A skeletal squire. He dressed as Manuel Calavera, Grim Fandango.”
Vanessa’s mouth went into a sneer as she scribbled these details down. “Then who was Simon talking to, then? Some imposter?”
“An imposter!?” The Outfielder jumped up, this accusation suddenly taking his mind off of whatever had gotten him so shaken up in the first place. “They should know better than to try and impersonate me! They can’t take my job, I am supposed to be the one and only, supposed to be blameless, pure! Pure. Pure.” He seemed to get stuck on this word, his sudden burst of anger fading away. Magnilde gently got up, grabbed his arm, and led him back into his chair. She sat him down.
Vanessa’s face became softer, more sympathetic, slowly setting down her notepad and turning off her translator. “...Magnilde, is he alright?”
“He gets a bit hung up on his past an’ future from time to time. Bad home life. Had to life vith ze shopkeeper, zince his fazer bludgeoned his brozer to…” She stopped, noticing the Outfielder’s rigid uncomfortableness. Magnilde quickly switched phrases. “So you can imagine he’s determined not to do ze same zing. Fery troubling for him.”
A small, soft hum. Vanessa shifted, her fox’s tail moving along with her. “Sorry. I’m a kid’s game. I don’t know what that’s like.” And then, “...Might I be able to ask one more thing?”
The Outfielder looked up at her, face in a steely frown.
“Do you know any songs off the top of your head? Simon mentioned a strange nursery rhyme.”
The monochrome boy paused for a bit, looking off, humming a couple notes under his breath of some vaguely jazz-ish tune. Vanessa craned an eyebrow. “‘Pepper Steak’,” Magnilde explained slightly off-handedly, “Battle zeme. Probably ze best tune he knovs--”
“No, no no no, with lyrics.”
His humming stopped abruptly. Another, longer pause. Vanessa began to hum the tune as Simon described it (Alouette, I will live forever…) as though to prompt him, but she faded out as his head shook back and forth. “Aucun viennent à l'esprit.” Then, in a small mutter, “Not one for rhymes.”
This revelation, frankly, baffled Vanessa. She wrote it down nonetheless, but she still shot the monochrome boy more than one confused look. “But that doesn’t make any sense, Simon said you were talking to him about imposters and…”
The door creaked open, and entering the room was Voltar. Vanessa hastily put back her notepad. “Feeling better?” The robotic voice said, three eyes all turning to look at the Outfielder. He nodded slowly, giving Magnilde a nudge and a small smile. “Lovely,” The guidance counselor continued, eyes drifting away to scan over Vanessa and Magnilde, “Now, I have summoned the three of you here because you are all possible perpetrators in the crime of unexplained disappearances; including, but not limited to: Ambros Tökkentäkker, Mr. Guybrush Threepwood, Gregory Templeton, Dr. Lobe, Simon Centifolia, Mr. Weber the Trickster, and any further unexplained absences to come that we have not been informed of.” None of them spoke or made any objections, which seemed to make Voltar pleased. “This is not to say you three are the only possible criminals. We have received word of suspicious activity coming from Mr. Benjamin Birdland, EPP, Sonny, Ms. Pudding, Mr. Frederick Bonaparte, Maria Toadstool, Takashi...” A mechanical sigh was emitted, his eyes drifting away. “Even reports of myself.”
This was met with a small rabble, some exchanged words in German and French and English. “But how’s that possible?” Vanessa ventured to ask, getting her notepad out again and scribbling this particular detail down, underlining it a few times.
“I am unaware,” Voltar admitted. Magnilde, Vanessa, and the Outfielder exchanged glances. It was as though the whole atmosphere shifted: when Voltar the Omniscient was forced to admit he didn’t know something, things got more serious. “I am forced to presume these admittedly wild accusations are either due to rampant paranoia, or...Perhaps the cause is a bit more mysterious than we’re willing to admit. However, the point of this is: you are not the only possible criminals. Just the ones with the most evidence pointing to your blame.”
“No fingerprints,” The spy mumbled, causing both the medic and the monochrome boy to look over her way.
Voltar seemed to shift a bit, three eyes all fixed on the foxlike female. “...Yes. About you, Vanessa. You were discovered bugging the teacher’s lounge--”
She sighed, shutting her notebook, turning the eraser on her pencil until it clicked and a red light blinked on. “I told you. It was Simon’s idea to begin with. I have nothing to do with it.”
“You all must learn not to take everything as an accusation. It isn’t. What I was going to say was: You were discovered bugging the teacher’s lounge. This places you closer to the scene of the crime then either Magnilde or the Outfielder were.”
There was a brief pause. Vanessa flipped back a few pages in her notes, frowning. “But I was still in Simon’s dorm. I left before he went missing. Besides, there wasn’t any murder weapon--”
“Vous ne pouvez pas tuer quelqu'un avec une balle de baseball.” The Outfielder interjected. Then he shifted and added, more as an afterthought than anything else, “Now, the bats, on the other hand…”
“Yes, but you just have a ball. Well, if you lobbed it at someone from just the right distance...”
“Cela ne veut pas le point et vous le savez!”
“He said zat isn’t ze point.”
“Oh, I think it was in the same ballpark.”
The Outfielder groaned, pulling his baseball cap lower over his face. Both Magnilde and Voltar himself shot Vanessa a deadpan stare. “What? I think I was on the ball with that one. Should I knock it OFF?” An even louder groan came from the monochrome boy, and the spy couldn't help but start laughing, covering her mouth with her hand. “I’m sorry!” She said between giggles, making the apology rather insincere, “They were too easy, I’m sorry.”
A pause ensued, a long, awkward pause, a sort of pause that made Vanessa shift and feel bad that she tried to lighten the mood. A white noise was emitted from Voltar to draw attention back to himself, and a burst of static gave the impression of clearing his throat. “Now, before I was so callously interrupted, I was about to get to the point of the matter: Despite there being evidence pointing to each of your guilts--Evidence in each of the crime scenes, may I add--None of you were reportedly near the scenes at the time of the mysterious disappearances. Add to this the aforementioned no fingerprints issue...And I suppose you’ll understand our confusion.”
This time, it was Magnilde who spoke first, looking away. “May I suggest zat ze efidence vas planted?”
“Officer Wagon considered it. The possibility hasn’t been ruled out. Yet we still must wonder.” Three of Voltar’s medi-bots all flew over to the three in the office, giving them scans, displaying images on their screens of models and formulas that only Voltar could comprehend. He gave a mechanical hum. “The scans say you aren’t lying. For the time being, I am inclined to believe that. Your testimonies have proved useful. You three are free to go. But remember: If anything happens, tell me.” Voltar turned around, mumbling to his medi-bots, looking to their formulas and then looking away again.
The boy and two girls all nodded, getting off their chairs, heading in a line towards the door. Vanessa fiddled with her pencil’s eraser, turning off the voice recorder, frowning hard. Another mechanical hum drew their attention back to Voltar, however briefly. The cloaked brain in a jar straightened slightly. “One more thing. There’s been an influx of dark magic in the air lately, according to these calculations, and my knowledge dictates only one possibility. Do any of you know if there is a Darkling on the premises?”
Take the wrench.
Take the wrench and begin proper regulation.
No fingerprints? No evidence? No problem. The guilty party was obvious, anyway. The wrench made contact with bottles of blue liquid, and the elixirs pooled at her feet. She never believed in magic. It was science that held the facts.
The wrench and it’s owner left Weber’s discarded magic room, leaving trails of footprints in blue liquid after the possible perpetrator, but the footprints soon ceased in the middle of the hallway. A staticy sound, a sound of white noise and looping sound bytes and electricity, rang through the hall.
Then the noise stopped, and something reformed in front of a door. A hand went up, gently adjusting spectacles. And then the wrench swung, knocking off the doorknob and the lock in only five easy swings. The door opened.
There was a squeaky noise, and two little eyes peeked out from behind the room divider. The teddy bear’s head was visible, but only barely. The perpetrator didn’t even see her as she advanced towards the teddy bear’s roommate.
TED was suspended from the ceiling in an intricate recharging station, much like any other robotic student in the building. He was completely out cold, unresponsive, no emotional glow in his eyes and no idiotic British babble spilling from his voice box. Perfect. The wrench was raised, then it was lowered with a BANG.
Some of TED’s metal skin began flaking and peeling, showing red-and-black static underneath. Another BANG, and more came off, more static replacing it. BANG BANG BANG, static static static, red and black overtaking silver and blue. The teddy bear behind the room divider gave a scream, running behind the divider, hiding under her blankets. Footsteps marked the criminal’s leaving, and when the bear worked up the courage to look back out into her room, she found that TED was nowhere to be seen.
She’d seen the perpetrator.
She’d seen Darcy, grinning fit to burst, with so much power that a crackle of red electricity had darted around her eyeglasses.
But it wasn’t Darcy, though. The teddy bear knew Darcy. And whatever this was, it certainly didn’t have the cynical feel Darcy did, Darcy wasn’t a maniac, Darcy had begrudgingly sewed her arm back on once. Darcy, for as much as she didn’t like TED...She wouldn’t kill them.
That wasn’t Darcy.
That was a monster that stole Darcy’s face.
Scaredy scampered back into bed and hid, squeezing nervous tears out of her eyes.
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