Wednesday, April 23, 2008

003: Professor Liana Koleyna

Investigate the building: 15 votes
Follow the stream: 7 votes
Go into the woods: 2 votes

Charleston knew a good field agent would follow the stream. After all, a giant frog would inevitably live close to the water. Then again, it may have been a wood frog or possibly a giant toad. Charleston wasn't too sure, but believed toads and wood frogs lived in the woods. Therefore, it would be prudent to follow the forest path.

Then he realized he was wearing his nice shoes. Well, then, there was no way he was going to blindly traipse through the woods in his nice shoes. He looked over at Land Captain.

"Hey, Land Captain," said Charleston, pulling out his wallet, "If I give you some money, can you go get me a pair of boots? I think I'll need them."

Land Captain took the money, fired off a salute, and said, "What size?"

"Eleven and a half or twelve. Thanks."

With that, Land Captain sped off. Charleston reevaluated his options. The woods and stream were out. That left the damaged building. He took a pair of silver gloves out of his pocket and put them on, and then walked over to the building. He knocked on the door, just in case, and then opened it.

Inside the building was a laboratory which would have been quite clean if not for the section of roof that had fallen in on it. The three walls that remained standing were covered in aquariums, and each aquarium had a single fish inside. The one closest to Charleston had a goldfish in it, except its coloring was exceptionally metallic. In fact, the sunlight glinted off all the fish in bizarre ways. Charleston took out a tape recorder and mentioned this. He put away the tape recorder and walked over to one of the lab's tables and began paging through a notebook. He went to the latest entry, and then took out the tape recorder again.

"Latest entry is dated yesterday. It's an inventory of experiments lost due to some catastrophe. Possibly the giant frog? Maybe one of the previous entries will shed some light on this..."

Charleston was about to turn the page when someone grabbed his wrist and coughed indignantly. He followed the hand's arm to a chest, and then quickly averted his eyes.

"Sorry, ma'am. I had no idea you were female." He hoped the woman didn't notice he was blushing.

"Who the hell are you and what the hell are you doing in my lab?" said the woman, still holding onto Charleston's wrist.

"Your lab? One second," said Charleston, pulling out his tape recorder with his free hand, "Damaged lab belongs to... what's your name?"

She glared at him for a moment, and then said, "Liana Koleyna."

"Belongs to Liana Koleyna. Miss-"


"Professor Koleyna, my name is Charleston Charge. I have come here on behalf of the TYRIS Group due to reports of an abnormally large amphibian. He quite possibly sits on a log in the swamp playing the banjo while singing about rainbow connections."

She gasped, and said, "A giant frog?"

"A giant frog. Do you have any information?"

"I'm just an ichthyologist, Mister Charge. I'm working on a way to make fish more resilient in order to withstand water pollution."

"I see. I won't bother you about the practical aspects of such an endeavor, but I will ask you this: would you like to buy some insurance? We offer a special rate for mad scientists. Since you're already a scientist, you could perhaps work on making some sort of composite fish to gain the 'mad' label."

She glared at him again, and then asked, "Would it cover the damage to my roof?"

"Well, no, since it's already damaged. If it's damaged again, however, we would be able to offer full coverage if the damage is a result of mad science. If you want additional protection, say, against a giant frog, you'd have to buy additional policies."

"I'm sorry, but I'm not interested. I think you should leave, Mister Charge," she said, dragging him out the door. Once he was outside, she slammed the door.

Charleston shrugged, straightened his tie, and said, "She refused to elaborate on the giant frog. Also, no further clues as to why the roof is damaged. I am going to investigate."

He walked over the building and noticed a distinct lack of windows. There were also no tracks on the ground. No tire tracks, no frog tracks, no tracks of any kind. Furthermore, from this angle, it looked like the roof had simply caved in. Then again, he was no forensics specialist. He could call one in, though. He filed this away in a mental databank.

Another thing he had noticed in the lab was the distinct lack of a refrigerator or any sort of cooking apparatus. Koleyna had to eat, and perhaps he could sneak into the lab while she was gone. Yes, it was a bit unethical, but if it helped him get to the bottom of this, then it would be worth it. Then again, he could just try to make amends with Koleyna and get his information that way. Barring that, he could always just wait for Land Captain and follow the path into the woods or the stream. One thing was certain: he would not yet give up. If he gave up, there was a good chance he would get fired.

Charleston walked over to a large rock and sat down and began to think.

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