The Vanishing Mediator

Having fun on the internet.

physical evidence

An Easily-Distracted Tale by Chris/0

“Suspect is traveling down Oak Street, about to approach the corner of Oak and Main,” came the voice of the officer on the scene from my police scanner.

“2772, what is suspect’s speed?” Dispatch asked.

“No!” I shouted. “Don’t! Then you’ll have no idea where is is!”

But they couldn’t hear me, of course. It was only a receiver. Fortunately, it wasn’t my case.

My name is Calvin Monroe. I have a Ph.D. in particle physics, but to pay the bills I solve crime.

They call me… Detective Doctor.

I arrived at the murder scene at 2:23PM. My car lengthened slightly as I slowed and pulled into the victim’s driveway. The rate of time itself increased relative to my perspective as I went up the front stairs and opened the door into the house’s lobby. Fortunately for me, the current occupants of the house were at similar altitides, so we would be able to communicate.

“Heya, Chief,” I greeted as I entered.

Chief Inspector Iler looked back at me with what I’m sure was admiration. “Oh, good,” he said, “it’s the Detective Doctor.”

“That’s Dr. Detective Doctor to you, Chief.”

A crime scene investigator had been taking pictures, but now stood aside to let me examine the body.

Male, physically appeared to be 32 years old, assuming he hadn’t been subject to any strong gravitational fields over the course of his life. He had a medieval jousting lance stuck through his chest. Since there was no reason to believe that the local value of ℏ was not the normal value, it is unlikely that the lance and the body were in a superposition.

“This man is probably dead!” I proclaimed.

Chief Iler turned from his business with a blue-uniformed officer, his attention having been drawn by my shout. He ran over and pulled me away from the body.

“Get away from there!” he shouted. “And you!” He pointed at the CSI. “You keep him out of this! He’s not that kind of doctor; the ME hasn’t gotten here yet.”

The CSI flushed and returned to his photography.

The chief let go of me and wiped his brow with a handkerchief.

“What’re we looking at here, Chief?”

“It’s a dead body; what do you want from me? We’re looking at a freshly-killed corpse.” He tucked the handkerchief back into a pocket. “Any further details are police business.”

“Oh,” I said. “I get it. You have to hold back details so that you know for sure when you have the murderer.”

“Uh, yeah…” the chief said. “That’s it. That’s the ticket.”

“But there’s a theory you haven’t thought of.”

“And what might that be?”

I cleared my throat. I do so love lecturing.

“There is a scientific hypothesis called the Omphalos hypothesis which states that it is possible that the universe as we see it was only recently created, but with all the evidence of age built-in. For example, if the planet Earth were created only a few years ago, but with all the tree rings, Roman ruins, and the like in a state that made them appear to be aged, then it would seem that the world was older without being true. It’s sometimes called ‘Last Thursdayism’ by those who consider it absurd. As in ‘the world might as well have been created last Thursday.’

“The particularities of the hypothesis make it unprovable and undisprovable. Which means that we cannot count it out in investigating this apparent murder. It’s possible that the world was simply created this way, and any evidence we find to pin someone to the act was merely manufactured by the universe itself. The ultimate frame-job, if you will.”

The chief only stared at me for several moments. In awe of the elegance of the hypothesis, of course.

“I…” he started, then stopped. “I think… I think we’ll stick with more likely theories.”

“You mean hypotheses,” I corrected.

“Whatever.”

“We’ll save it for later, then,” I said. “Lemme run another one by you. You say that the corpse is ‘freshly-killed’ based on a thermodynamic analysis, right?”

“Thermo…? Uh, yeah, it’s not very cold.”

“So. What if the killer actually committed the act long, long ago, but had constructed a box around the corpse, only allowing in higher energy particles? Then the body would stay at a constant temperature without any evidence of having been warmed with a hair dryer or an oven or a flamethrower!”

“You’re a genius!” the chief cried. “That must be exactly what happened! If he had to carry around a box, he would still be nearby. Quickly! Go after him; I’ll send officers as backup.”

“You got it, Chief!”

I ran out of the house, pausing on the doorstep to tighten my shoelaces. It might come to a chase. After all, once I knew where the suspect was, I’d have no idea how fast he was going.

And it’s that kind of uncertainty that makes the job so rewarding.