Getting to the bottom of it
Shore Leave - An Internal Affair
Location: Holodeck 2
With her shift finally coming to an end, Alexi was eager to get some R&R... and idly wondered if her new friend might want to join in. "Computer," She asked as she left the Quartermaster's office, "Locate Ensign Nirrti Samedi, please?"
"Ensign Nirrti Samedi is on holodeck two." the computer helpfully informed Alexi.
She smiled, but wasn't quite certain that she was welcome, so she opted for the less intrusive option, "Alexi to Nirrti... What are you up to, my friend?" She asked, sweetly.
"Solving a murder. You're welcome to come join me! I think I almost cracked the case." Beat. "Dress appropriately. Victorian high society." Nirrti replied.
"Uh... okay," Alexi replied with a laugh. "Give me like fifteen minutes, okay?" She said, closing the line before Nirrti could respond.
A short time later, after a quick trip to the fabricator (and with a little help from the young Ensign on duty), Alexi sauntered into the holodeck in an electric blue Victorian ball gown, with black accents and a delicate lace bodice, black lace gloves on her hand and a pretty little hat atop her short hair. She peered around the scene, taking it all in and looking for Nirrti.
The scene before her was of a victorian manor house, complete with elaborate garden in front of it, forest behind it and a clear blue sky above it. Birds sang, it was like a picture out of a historical romance novel, except this wasn't a romance story. Not at all.
Nirrti was easily spotted, approaching Alexi hurriedly, wearing a simple black and white maid's uniform, making a small curtsey in front of Alexi. "Ah, Madam Joan DeLancie, you have arrived in truly terrible times. There has been a death and everyone is quite upset. Please, come, come."
"A death, my dear?" Alexi said, suppressing a smirk as she fell into character, "Oh, my. How positively terrible. Who, dear, who have we lost?" She asked, falling into step with Nirrti as they headed back toward the manor.
"The gardener, Mister Eccleston, miss DeLancie. He was found with garden shears in his chest, truly horrifying." Nirrti explained, ushering Alexi inside.
"Not dear Christopher," Alexi replied, pressing a hand to her chest. "He was such a dear man, always so in love with his pocket watches," she said, pulling random facts out of the air for the sake of storytelling. Truth be told, she was having far too much fun at the moment.
"Mmhm, quite a shock for all of us." Nirrti agreed, leading Alexi into the posh, opulent manor house. "Now, I know it's not my place to impose upon a lady of standing such as yourself, Miss DeLancie, but - could I trouble you to ask the other house guests to gather in the study?" Nirrti cast her eyes down all shy like. "I have some suspicions about who might have done this heinous act, but need to gather some things first."
"No imposition at all, my dear," Alexi replied, resting a hand gentle on Nirrti's shoulder as she turned away, "We'll meet you in the drawing room," She replied, setting off to gather everyone and bring them back.
Nirrti was the last to arrive in the study. Everyone had agreed to follow Alexi there, though some seemed nervous and some seemed agitated. Some though seemed amused as well, interested in what was going to happen. As she entered she sat a big, brown paper bag down near the exit, closed the door behind her and locked it, before looking around the room at all the gathered.
"Thank you all for coming. Now, it's been a few hours since the body of poor unfortunate Mister Eccleston was found, and the horrific crime has weighed on all our minds. But perhaps less so on the mind of one person here in this room. I believe that the killer is among us."
People gasped, shuffling uncomfortable, glancing at each other.
Nirrti smiled. "And I figure I know who did it."
"Do tell, love," Alexi replied, closing the only other exit to the room and locking it, then taking a station in front of it.
"Yes, do." Miss Weaver, the cook, folded her arms over each other, observing closely, eyes narrowed.
"Now, first thing to notice was that Mister Eccleston's door was locked, and the lock undamaged, with the key still on the inside." Nirrti started, pacing around the room. "So the killer must have found another way inside. It took me some time investigating, but I noticed the window was ajar and unlocked."
Mister Tennant, the butler, looked puzzled. "Did the killer enter through the window?"
Nirrti gave a nod. "I do believe so, Mister Tennant." she mused. "Now, below said window is a rose bush. This was damaged, lending further creedence to this theory. Furthermore, there were footprints in the dirt. Footprints .... "
She went back to her bag and pulled out a set of shoes, with dirt on the bottom. ".... matching these shoes."
"But - those are mine?" Mister Tennant observed. "I'd been looking for those. But - ... I didn't do it!"
"But these are your shoes, are they not?" Nirrti asked, setting them down on the ground next to Mister Tennant's feet. They were the right size.
"Yes, but - I didn't do it!" he protested, almost panicking.
"Ah but doesn't every murderer say that." Nirrti smiled, holding up her hand to silence Mister Tennant before continuing. "But there was something else interesting. You see, Mister Tennant is a fairly big man. About two hundred and fifty pounds I would wager. And the footprints in the dirt where nowhere near deep enough for someone of that stature."
Gasps from the assembled.
"In fact, the impressions were about half as deep as I would expect from someone with that build. It seemed almost like someone else had been wearing Mister Tennant's shoes to make it look like he was the murderer." Nirrti smiled, looking around the room again.
"Someone with a build more like that of, say, Miss Lawrence, the maid. Or Miss Weaver, the cook. Or, Mister Smith, the driver, with his light build." Nirrtu mused, wandering back over to her bag.
Alexi was grinning as Nirrti went on her Sherlock Holmes-like discussion. She was rapt with anticipation, but eager to play her part, "A devious creature to say the least," Alexi chimed in.
"Indeed. Quite smart, too." Nirrti said as she fished a sock out of her bag, a sock with some dirt on it, though the foot part was clean. "I found this in the garbage disposal. The dirt matches the dirt underneath Mister Eccleston's window. Though I wonder who's sock this is. It lacks initials, unfortunately." She looked pointedly at Weaver, Smith and Lawrence.
"But, there's a way to find out. Miss Weaver, Miss Lawrence, Mister Smith, if I could be so bold as to ask you to remove a shoe and sock, and see if this one fits ... "
Weaver and Smith were a bit confused, but agreed without complaining. Miss Lawrence however sputtered. "Th-this is preposterous! You're going to accuse people of murder based on a sock?! I refuse to partake in this ridiculous game you're playing!"
"Now now Miss Lawrence." Nirrti coo'ed. "Refusal to partake in what could prove your innocence is almost as good as an admission of guilt."
She sputtered and muttered more, before undoing her shoe and sticking her foot out.
Nirrti tried the sock on Miss Weaver's foot first. It fit, but far too loosely to be considered a 'good' fit. Then Mister Smith's foot - the sock didn't even fit when stretched. Then Miss Lawrence's foot. The sock fit perfectly ...
"Miss Jennifer Lawrence, cook at the Roseyard estate." Nirrti said, standing up and taking a step back. "It seems to be you murdered poor Mister Christopher Eccleston."
Jennifer seethed with anger, cheeks turning red. The others seemed intimidated, backing away, even as Miss Lawrence lept up and charged at Nirrti, screaming "I would've gotten away with it too if not for you!"
Alexi, to her credit in her Victorian ensemble, took two large steps across the room and snatched Miss Lawrence by the large bow on the back of her dress, "That'll be enough of that, Miss!"
Miss Lawrence thus halted, the other characters charged forward as well to help subdue her, and once that was done they all froze, and credits scrolled up from the floor, along with epic and mysterious music.
Nirrti giggled. "Thanks, hon. I knew I was safe with you around. And thank you for helping me get the good end in this murder mystery." she smiled. "It was a fun mystery. Took some work finding all the clues."
"What is this?" Alexi asked, clearly amused. "It's wonderful."
"It's just a type of holonovel I like. An interactive murder mystery. You play the role of a character - in this case I'm a maid in learning - and then a murder happens, and it's up to you to put together all the clues and find the murderer. I got the good ending so I found all the clues and identified the murderer." Nirrti smiled.
"Oh! I got this for you." as she reached into a pocket and produced a small package, handing it to Alexi.
"Is there a bad end--" Alexi cut off as she pulled the wrapping paper away and her grandmother's ballerina fell gently into her hands, the cracks and broken pieces bonded with gently glistening gold. Her lip quivered as she looked down at the little figure, whole again, her eyes welling with tears, "I... Nirrti..." Her voice cracked as she held the little ballerina to her chest and looked up at the woman in front of her, "Thank you," she said, her voice earnest.
"Yes, there are bad endings. If you let the killer get away." Nirrti smiled. At Alexi's response to the statuette though she gently wrapped her arms around the other woman and sighed, closing her eyes and just enjoying the moment. "You're welcome."
Alexi hugged her back, tight, "I can't tell you what this means to me..."
Nirrti smiled. "Let's go home and grab something to eat. I'm starving."
Alexi sniffled and nodded, "Yeah, and let's lose the bodices, huh?" She said, chuckling through a teary smile.
"Yeh. Slip into something comfortable. I don't have anywhere to go tonight so I think it's nightgown time." Nirrti mused, reaching for Alexi's hand. "Computer, end program."
Alexi took Nirrti's offered hand, and held it tight, clutching the ballerina in the other hand as the manor house dissolved around them. "Night gowns sound good... and Rum ice cream?" She asked, with a playful grin.
"Of course." Nirrti smiled.