(Warning: Heavy reading incoming, you may want to take notes. You have been warned)
It's the year 2157, and you're one of the few people who didn't leave earth twenty seven years ago. Why? A deadly disease overtook the planet, and you happen to have immunity. There are now less than ten million people on the planet - the rest have either died, or left on a voyage to find a new planet to colonize.
The last vacation you took seven years ago ended up turning into a sabotage at sea involving multiple deaths and a theft, so you're not too keen on taking another vacation anytime soon. However, your boss is again forcing you to use your vacation days or lose them - so you decide to take a trip to Canada this time, and enjoy some hot bathing at Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia. Perhaps there, you'll be able to have a quieter, more peaceful time.
The Agassiz-Rosedale Highway turns into Hot Springs Road as you drive closer and closer to the springs. Entering the town reveals that the town is quite deserted now, and many of the houses are starting to break down after almost thirty years of being unused. Nevertheless, you're determined to finally have a good time, and end up driving all the way to the Harrison Lakeview Resort, where you've got a room booked.
You pull in and park on the side, before heading into the building. Walking up to the front desk, an android installed behind the desk waves at you. Her smooth android voice resonates throughout the room as she says, "Welcome to the Harrison Lakeview Resort - the only operating resort in this town. Do enjoy your stay, your key is- is- is- " the android stutters, eyes fluttering. Her palms are oily, springs weak, joints are rusty. There's grease leaking onto her body already, the mechanic was thrifty. Some smoke puffs out of the back of her neck, and her lights turn out.
"Well, that was unexpected," comes a voice from under the counter. A few short moments later, a male with a green mohawk stands up from behind the counter, and places a holographic wrist brace on the counter, before hunching over the android. He looks to be lacking sleep, extremely worn out and tired.
"Who are you?" you ask.
"I'm the mechanic and owner of this resort. The name is Bob. I like to build all sorts of things, especially robots, so my friends all call me the builder. You'll find that a majority of the resort is automated with robots that I've built." He tosses you a key, which you catch. "Your room number is on the key." The number etched into the key is number 406, and you head up with your luggage to unpack.
Once you've reached the 4th floor, you look around for your room, but it seems that this floor hasn't been kept very well, and the room numbers are mostly falling off or missing, so you start trying doors. However, as soon as you try your key with the first door, you hear a new android voice emanate from the key. "You are trying to access room 403. Access is forbidden with this key. The room matching this key is 3 doors to your right." With that, you walk towards the indicated door and enter your own room and start unpacking.
By the time you've finished unpacking, the sky has already darkened, and you're feeling hungry, so you head back downstairs to look for Bob. You find him working on a robot you don't recognize - he seems to be fitting the robot with some extra small hands. "Where do I go to get food around here?" you ask.
"Only the Old Settler Pub is still open for business around these parts. Best go there if you're feeling famished," Bob replies. As you head out the door, Bob asks you, "Have you seen my android control brace? It was here earlier today, but now I can't find it." You haven't seen it, as you've been unpacking, and you inform him thus. "Ah, okay, I guess." he replies, as he returns to his work on the robot.
It's a only a three minute walk to the Pub, and as you enter, you see some familiar faces. "Could it be? Jack, Jerome, and Julian?" Three heads turn, and three jaws drop as they recognize you. It's been 7 years since you last saw the biker gang trio from the cruise ship you sailed on during your last vacation.
"Oh, you know these three? Any friend of the J's is a friend of mine," the bartender says. He's well built, and looks very strong. "I'm Andrew Gilbert Mills, but most people just call me Andrew." Making friends with the bartender, you spend some time catching up with the three of them, and get some grub. Your professional detective questioning skills helps you find out that the J's live near here and come every couple of years. You find out that they're staying in the same resort as you, in room 404, and that the resort provides them with access to tools and materials required for them to work on their bikes. You learn that the bartender is married, and that he's usually a nice guy. He's not a nice guy when people make trouble in his pub, and apparently there's been a tourist by the name of Chris making trouble in the pub. Chris isn't in the pub at the time, but your instincts and observational skills tell you that the 3 J's and Andrew, as well as the people who overheard the conversation in the pub all despise Chris. Probing a bit more seems to depict Chris as hating Andrew as well, since Andrew throws him out of the pub for making trouble all the time.
As the night sets in, and you finish your food, you decide to head back to sleep. The three minute walk back to the resort is short but quiet, until you get close to the resort itself, where you happen to overhear bits of a conversation between Bob and a balding, brown haired man who you can only seem to figure is Chris through the context of the conversation.
Bob: "The cost will be [inaudible] very difficult [inaudible]"
Chris: "[inaudible] Compensated [inaudible], need [inaudible], the owner. [inaudible] help?"
Bob: "[inaudible] lost it today [inaudible] try to find [inaudible]"
You approach quietly, sneakily, and catch a glimpse of Chris handing Bob what seems to be a credit card. Bob then fiddles around with something behind the counter, and hands a room key to Chris, before turning around to do other stuff. As Chris turns to leave, you catch a glimpse of an android control brace being placed into his pocket.
The next 2 days pass by peacefully, and you manage to get some good rest. On the second night, you wake up to the loud swearing of Bob downstairs, but the sound disappears quickly and you manage to get back to sleep after that. The third morning, however, you wake up to the sound of sirens passing by. You get up, and as quickly as you can, follow the sirens, which have stopped in front of the pub. You walk into the already roped off crime scene, your detective license getting you past the cops and into the building, and you head upstairs, towards the sound of people talking. As you arrive up top, you see that Andrew is dead in his bed. The room smells of brake fluid, and talking with the paramedics confirms that Andrew has died of brake fluid consumption. The cops are in there collecting evidence, and you see there's no brake fluid bottle anywhere in the room. You're informed that Andrew died at approximately 3AM. You also notice one of the cops picking up some light brown hairs and some green hairs from the ground, and placing them into bags, which you immediately notice as weird since Andrew is bald.
Taking note of the incident, you decide to be the bearer of bad news and tell the 3 J's about their dead friend. You enter the resort again, and walk towards their room, only to find that the door to 404 is slightly ajar and that the 3 J's are nowhere to be found. The bed looks unmade, and their luggage is all still in the room, as are their leather jackets. However, their leather jackets stink of brake fluid and motor oil. Where could they have gone?
It's at this moment that you realize that you haven't seen any androids this morning, which is weird since usually an android greets you every morning as you exit the resort. Fearing the worst, you alert the authorities and they begin a search in the small town for the 4 missing persons.
It's just past 2PM when you find Bob's body floating in a corner of one of the hot springs. He has an android control brace strapped to his arm, two out of three of the straps buckled. Some minor post mortem bruising is on the arm under the brace, and he seems to have died of drowning. There are signs that he was punched at least two or three times before death, and his knuckles are slightly bruised, as if he had fought back. There's some brown hair under his nails, a similar shade to those found at Andrew's pub. After some analysis, you determine that his time of death was around 11 hours ago.
Some more hours pass, and eventually the police give you a call, telling you that the 3 J's have been found. You head to the scene, a dark alleyway, and see the bodies 3 J's slewn across the ground, as well as the android with small hands Bob was working on before. The android has a bloody pole sticking out of its chest, and several deep dents on the head, evident that somebody was striking it with something cylindrical. Upon examination of the bodies, you determine that Julian and Jerome were killed by the android's tiny hands crushing their windpipes. Jack has a small hole in his stomach - it seems that he bled out, but not before he decommissioned the android that attacked them. The three of them died around 3 AM as well.
For the rest of the day, you talk to the the masses to try and find more information while investigating the town. You discern the following:
- Andrew used to be part of a gang
- Andrew's wife doesn't seem sad as she should be to see him die
- Chris is currently in custody due to everyone saying he was Andrew's only notable enemy, but he refuses to say anything until his lawyer arrives
The question remains: What happened? A correct answer will be marked when someone finds the correct killer(s), motive(s), and timing of events in the story.
Bonus: Whoever first lists all 5 of the intentional references to things that I made will be awarded a small bounty later.
- Somebody is being framed.
- The android is not sentient and cannot make decisions - it can only be controlled
- Bob actually did lose his control brace. You saw Chris stealing it from where Bob lost it.
- Other than Andrew and his wife, there were no other romantic relationships - and even that relationship isn't relative to the case itself.