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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 11 – Wide Open Spaces

WOS 009 – The Mandrake Mystery

Starbase 72
Post FA
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“Michell Mandrake, it’s Starfleet Security.  We need to speak with you.”  

Lieutenant Barzo stood outside the quarters of their chief suspect.  Arthur Morris had identified the owner of Mandrake’s Muffins in a photo lineup.  Barzo and her partner V’luth stood together at the door as the Bajoran tapped the door chime for a fifth time.  She then started pounding on the door, drawing a startled look from Morris and a raised eyebrow from V’luth.  It was creeping past seven in the morning, and she was on her second cup of coffee.  She had worked with V’luth for two weeks.  There was an edge to the Vulcan woman that defied the logic of most of her people. It hadn’t bothered Barzo initially.  After all, she had earned the nickname ‘The Barge’ for a reason.  As the third week had abruptly stated this morning, she wondered more about the edge as the day went on.  Vulcans were not a heterogenous block.  There was a reassuring diversity.  Still…she hadn’t known many Vulcans who sharpened their wit like V’luth The Truth did.

“He may not be at home.”  The Vulcan remained impassive, eyes drifting from the door to her partner.

Barzo grumbled, “Then we need to do a welfare check on Mr. Mandrake.”  

V’luth didn’t disagree.  There were troubling elements within this case, and it was becoming clear there was more to it.  They had gone to Mandrake’s Muffins and found the store closed and his workers sitting restlessly, waiting for their boss to arrive.  They hadn’t heard from him since last night.  When the two Security officers had shown up, they’d gone from concerned to worried.  Mandrake was never late.

The door slid open with the override commands, and Barzo stepped inside, phaser drawn, followed by a similarly armed V’luth.  The lights were on, and it became apparent why Mandrake hadn’t answered the door.  He was sprawled out on the floor, eyes staring at the ceiling.

Barzo groaned, “Shit.”  She slipped out his medical tricorder and did a quick scan as she knelt beside the body, “He’s dead.  I’ll call medical.”

As she stepped away, V’luth visually inspected the body.  No phaser burns.  No bodily wounds.  No puncture marks that she could see.  His mouth was open.  Curious, she knelt and looked closer, her eyes finding something curious.  She ran her tricorder over the mouth, throat, and stomach area.  She stood, intrigued.  Barzo returned with a morgue team. V’luth waited until they had secured the body in a secure container before she turned to her partner, “I have a theory on what occurred.”  Her partner gave a nod.  “There is evidence that a lethal amount of raw yeast may have poisoned Mr. Mandrake.”

Barzo asked, “May have?”  It was an unusual choice of words for the Vulcan.

“It is either that or Mr. Mandrake was a habitual drunk who gave himself severe alcohol poisoning early this morning.  We will need the official autopsy results from Medical to confirm.”  She showed the tricorder readings.

Barzo waved her hands, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but logic dictates we eliminate the impossible.  We both know if he were as much of a drunk as that level suggests, he wouldn’t be getting up early every morning to make his terrible muffins.”

V’luth frowned, “I have never partaken.  Given your level of distaste, it may not be worth trying.”

“He has a cult following, I guess, that keeps him in… oh holy hell.”  Barzo shook her head repeatedly, “How in the hell did I miss that?”  She stared at the Vulcan, “It’s organized bread crime.”

The Vulcan raised both of her eyebrows, “You know Bajoran humor is beyond me, Lieutenant.”  She had tolerated the jokes being told and remained impassive through the punchlines.

“No joke, ‘Luth.  This…the way he died makes sense.  Some organized crime is heavy on symbolism and making sure a message is delivered.  Somehow, Mandrake’s action wasn’t approved, or he took a loaf too far…and they took him out of the game.”

V’luth pointed out, “There is much left to be desired in your theory.  There hasn’t been evidence of a…what did you call it… a group of Organized Bread Criminals on this station.  We would know about it.”

Barzo thought about what she had said.  She wasn’t wrong.  The Starbases of the Fourth Fleet were well-run and well-protected.  Then he realized, “It’s not on the station.  It’s out there.” She pointed out the window of Mandrake’s quarters.

Her partner found this theory more logical.  The weapons of choice were organic items you’d find in any kitchen.  There was a case here, V’luth decided.  “Logic dictates we need to pull arrival and departure logs over the last day and investigate them for a connection to Mandrake.”

Barzo smiled wide and put her hand up for a high five. She was annoyed when V’luth didn’t return the gesture, “One of these days, partner…you’re gonna give me a high five.”

“Logic dictates…”

“…that there’s no logic behind a high five.  As you keep saying.  Let’s go chase down some clues.”

“We are not running, Lieutenant.  It is not…”

“…logical, as you’ve said.  It was a metaphor, partner.”

“You have proven that wrong on multiple occasions.”

Another wide smile as she led V’luth out of Mandrake’s apartment as the crime scene team arrived, “Gotta keep you on your toes…and before you say it, yes.  Idioms are illogical.”

“You are grasping the concept.”

“That’ll be the day.”

  • Barzo Igi

    Security Officer / Investigator

  • V'luth

    Security Officer / Investigator