Mystery Science Fiction

                                                                         The Plan

                                                                     John Meiners, Jr.

    “Jesse, Jesse, look…”

     Jesse senses urgency and runs in from the bedroom, almost tripping on an ottoman, up to the window where Samantha stands still pointing. Alarmed, he scans the outside area for someone sneaking up, planting a bomb, or attempting to obtain a clear shot with a tranquillizer gun, or some other novel danger, he’s grown accustomed to here in Community. Anxiously Jesse asks, “What? What is it?”

     Samantha turns her face to him with a radiant smile and twinkle in her eye saying, “Look,… the azaleas. I thought after the snow, they might not make it. They’re blooming, see?”

     Relieved, Jesse while still scanning turns and looks into Samantha’s eyes, “Beautiful.” Then he turns toward the azaleas. “The azaleas are beautiful too.”

     Samantha gets it, and with a smile bigger than the azaleas could produce says, “AWWWW, you’re sweet,” and kisses him. “Let’s get some coffee.”

     Jesse nods., “Planning your case, counselor?”

     “More about a plan of how to proceed with our Mr. Dugat or Covell, or whoever he is.” Samantha is the only lawyer, and as such, offers legal advice. Is Neville Dugat guilty or innocent? The jury is out in her mind, maybe more so than Jesse, but Monroe she feels, has his mind made up. “Time is needed to find the truth, and whether guilty or not, we should seek his cooperation and not alienate him. If he is telling the truth, he may offer more information than we know….possibly relatives of Draakar or information on the real Neville Dugat. Mr. Covell, if he is Justin Covell, is far from a dummy, and I believe he is aware of his legal rights. We are holding him with no charges filed. So far, he has no legal representation which is against the law. If he did, his lawyer would have him released, and if he is Neville Dugat, he would just disappear. Even if we officially charge him with murdering two men and holding and drugging a woman for God knows what, when the jury brings a verdict of not guilty, he would receive a standing ovation from the jury and possibly the whole court room. Then the judge would proceed in admonishing all involved for even bringing this case to trial. There is no evidence against him. All that was seen or can be testified to, is the fact that many men, including you, attacked him and almost killed him then put him more or less in a coma.”

     “So… You’re saying weak case?”

     “I’m saying No case. Not now. We need his cooperation instead of constantly fearing he’ll sue us for unlawful imprisonment.  For that HE DOES have a case. 

     At the table, both sip their coffee alone with their thoughts. Neville Dugat was declared dead.  Pamela Lawton’s long-time friend and associate, Doctor Randolph, the hospital administrator at Slidell Community Hospital where Neville also worked, believes Neville is dead. Prior to the events of that night which landed the man thought to be Neville in the seclusion of his hospital/jail, Pamela was going to visit with Doctor Randolph in an attempt to learn more about Neville Dugat. She did talk with Dr. Randolph at Neville’s funeral but most likely was more concerned with doing a good acting job, knowing he was really alive. Pamela’s time with Doctor Randolph was short, and her impression was that he knew little of Neville Dugat’s personal life.

     Jesse asks, “Do you think Doctor Randolph might know something?”

     “Knowing Neville Dugat as he did, I feel he has information which might be helpful.” 

     “I’m talking about Doctor Randolph as a suspect. I realize Pamela trusts him, but Doctor Randolph has knowledge of the Doesonear drug and has worked closely with Pamela. Pamela mentioned that. He works in the same hospital as Neville Dugat. No way he isn’t considered a prospective suspect.” 

     Doctor Randolph and Pamela go back a long way. He came over with her from their world. She’s worked with him for years, and when Pamela talks about Doctor Randolph, Samantha has the feeling that after Pamela’s husband Frederick died, there was a hint of a romantic relationship. It didn’t really get off the ground though. This will not sit well. Samantha says, “Pamela won’t like it.”

  [JM1] [JM2] [JM3] [JM4]   “No, she won’t.”… Jesse is obsessing over possibilities. Normally obsession is not a trait to cultivate. However, when you’re an investigator, that’s what you do, and that is exactly what he did last night. Jesse decides to share with Samantha, “Let me run this by you… Neville alias, Justin Covell, is believable as a poor guy who just wants to connect with the brother, he never knew he had.  Their meeting is less than he’d hoped for, and wanting the connection so badly, he follows his brother. Neville’s behavior appears suspicious so he spies on him, but then Justin himself is captured and ends up in captivity, mistaken for the evil Neville. A sad story indeed, but… what if Justin Covell really exists but never knew of his brother. Neville found out, doesn’t matter how, and he doesn’t really care anyway. A brotherly connection is the last thing on Neville’s mind. Neville knows where he lives, what Justin does for a living, where he went to college, and that is about it. He spoke of his brother to very few people, but one of the few was Doctor Randolph so when Neville was injured in the Belle Rive, it was indeed the one and only Neville Dugat. Per Officer Jones’ investigation which is only beginning, enough is verified to know Justin Covell really exists but is missing, whereabouts unknown. The “Missing” label is understandable because he is in hospital captivity. Neville Dugat is believed dead and missing which is also understandable. He can’t go to work if he’s dead, or if in hospital captivity. If Doctor Randolph is working with Neville or perhaps even the ring leader of the experimentations, what better way for Neville to disappear. Neville takes the place of Justin, who is innocent and only guilty of trying to save a woman. In this scenario, Justin probably was killed. Doctor Randolph had to communicate with Neville after he was injured, and under the present circumstances, it’s next to impossible.  It has to mean there’s another accomplice. And due to Monroe’s ‘no communication’ edict, only Doctor Van Hildenburger and/or the haggard nurse could be his accomplices. His room is probably bugged, and they’re too smart for that. It’s not a stretch for one of the two or both to contact Doctor Randolph outside of the compound then plan and conspire to pass along information to Neville.”

     Samantha is silent, trying to digest all she just heard. “So… maybe the plan came from Doctor Randolph making the most of the situation. What we need is a prospective buyer wearing a wire. Maybe they’ll admit to something incriminating, but who are the prospective buyers, and what are they buying?”

     “If Neville has his story straight about his brother, and their impersonation plan is in play, then they’ve already shared information. It’s too late to catch them at that, and it’s doubtful they would push their luck. Any written communication was probably destroyed a long time ago.”

     Both Samantha and Jesse plan in silence for a moment, then Jesse says,… “We offer to work for Doctor Van Hildenburger and the nurse,… We’ll give both the impression we are leaning toward believing Neville is Justin. Tell them what a good job they’ve done, and that they deserve a rest after all of their hard work and dedication. The next day we call Doctor Van Hildenburger and the nurse, surprised because Neville admitted he is not Justin and accepted a deal. The authorities agreed, and in two days, Neville will be taken into custody. We should have all the information to convict everyone involved.”

     Impressed, Samantha tells Jesse, “I think we should all meet and see if we can get on the same page.”

     “And put the Finding on alert. We need all the help we can get. If we are right about Doctor Randolph, they will be coming in force to take out Neville Dugat.”

     “Doctor Van Hildenburger and the nurse will move Heaven and Earth to get the information to Doctor Randolph. Might be good to watch their movement. See if they panic.”

      Jesse nods, with satisfied expression.

     “We’re a good team, Jesse Gunn.”

     “We are.”

                                                                                      The End

March 26, 2021 00:44

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