Maria got some feedback from Julie Tam in the medical examiner’s office just before Tuesday biology class. There was beer in the boys bodies, and also heightened activity in the endocrine system, just as Doctor Zimmer suggested. Unfortunately, Julie had not yet faxed the details. Maria suggested the idea that someone might be trying to create super soldiers. Emily did not buy it, exactly. She sensed that might be true, but not the whole story.
“But the Colonel that was there in the offices,” Maria protested.
“Circumstantial. Could be Zimmer’s brother-in-law for all we know.”
After class, they went to the front together and caught Ms Granger while she put the days assignments in her briefcase. Maria took the front and Emily tried to fade into the background, but it did not work. Ms Granger had no interest in the papers Maria held out and turned on Emily instead.
“I heard you destroyed a fraternity house.”
“Sorry to disappoint. It was already broken when I got there.”
“I also heard you almost killed three boys.”
“You mean the ones they have locked up downtown accused of murder?”
Ms Granger frowned, but by then Professor Hilde had dragged his useless legs and feet up to the table and he seemed more than happy to look at Maria’s papers. “Zimmer mentioned something about this,” he spoke as he read.
Ms Granger tried a different tactic. “Your last paper was a “C” paper because it was spectacularly average.”
“Not likely.” Ms Granger finished packing. “Nursing is a good goal. You would never make it in medical school.” That was the nicest thing Ms Granger ever said to Emily. “Professor?” The woman turned toward the door.
“I’ll be along shortly,” the professor said, as he finished reading. Ms Granger stomped out and Emily let go of the breath she held.
“What are your thoughts?” Maria asked.
“I think I would like to read the information you get on those boys from the fraternity house when you get it. I cannot imagine how this must work. You see, glands are self-stimulating and self-regulating. No known agent can cause the stimulation you describe and I bet you will find in those boys. A week ago I would have laughed and said impossible, but now?” He handed back the papers.
“So you think it is the endocrine system?” Maria asked.
“Can’t be anything else.”
The professor nodded. “A reasonable suggestion from what little I can tell. We do not know what he, she or they might have in mind. Meanwhile, keep me informed, will you? I will be glad to offer any suggestions in return.” He turned and the girls watched him shuffle his way slowly out the door.
“He seems so nice, especially compared to Ms Granger,” Maria said and added, “or Doctor Zimmer.”
“Why couldn’t he be our teacher?” Emily griped.
Wednesday afternoon found the detectives in the same room where they had questioned Emily. Jimmy Chee and his lawyer just left and the detectives needed time to think. They had nothing against these boys. The medical information was clear. The boys had such heightened endorphins, adrenaline and other ingredients they could not possibly have known what they were doing.
“Slim comfort for the families of the two boys that got killed,” Ashish said from his spot by the dirty window.
Lisa shook her head. “At least we can keep them in an institution for a while as a precaution against the condition returning. I am more concerned about that condition breaking out elsewhere. No word on our missing person?”
Ashish shook his head in response. “Look, there were three or more murders early in the semester and now we have an idea of what they were after, but there haven’t been any since.”
“Means nothing. They may be waiting for things to cool off. They may have gotten all they wanted. They may have the formula right or nearly right and just need some test subjects. They may be able to synthesize what they need by now.”
“I get it,” Ashish interrupted. “But why would they want a hundred and seven year old woman?”
Ashish pulled out his handkerchief and honked his nose while Lisa paced. “I sometimes wonder if Julie is telling us everything she knows,” Ashish said.
Lisa stopped still. After a moment, she started to pace again. “No. I think she just wants to be careful and make sure that what she does reveal is factual.”
“Seems to me we are working on hunches right now, not facts. Maybe we need to ask her for her hunches.”
Lisa began to nod when her phone rang. “Home?” She got it from her pocket. “No. Hello. What? We’ll be right there.”
“No, the high school next door to the university.”