Someone had killed Doctor Pong. And however it was, had not cared about cleaning afterwards. The blood coming from the good doctor’s body had already frozen, formed a pretty disturbing picture for anyone who went into the storage room. He was lying there, eyes open, against the wall opposite to the door. It was windowless room and the killer had known that. It was obvious he had known where to look for the doctor, who was probably hiding, as the storage room was fool of brooms and buckets, not really what he used in his experiments.
The strangest part of it all was the method the killer had used: an arrow. He had pointed it right between the eyebrows and had nailed just that spot. Of course, the distance was quite short so the shot may have not been that difficult to do but it looked scary all the same. The arrow was long and had pierced the skull all the way to the back, touching the wall behind the head with the metal tip. The body still had the expression of fear the doctor had experienced in his last moments and the weather helped it to get preserved for a long time, which made the job of checking the scene, much more ominous than usual.
The crime had occurred in what it’s known as Queen Maud Land. Although Antarctica is in the practice a free land, Norway claims this portion of the continent. The mountains look like razor blades and the snow appears to be whiter than in any other part of this land. And there, in Troll station, Mr. Georg Pong had died from an arrow to the head. The media, of course, had a feast with the whole “murder on Antartica” story. And to be frank, it did seem ridiculous than someone had been so skilled to kill someone and then escape without a lot of means to do it. And they hadn’t been able to catch him or her.
Norway’s government took almost a week to send two detectives: Nora Fröm and Erik Stavanger. They were both specialized in strange crime scenes but this one was by far the strangest one. On the boat from South Africa, both agents discussed how they were going to approach the investigation. They had seen several pictures taken by the scientist that had found Dr. Pong and they all pointed out to a chase inside and outside the complex. They were only a few buildings in the small compound so it wasn’t going to take very long.
At arrival, they had to join a group of scientists that greeted them on to some snowmobiles. The journey to the facility was long and cold, during which the scientists discussed the real utility of being there. The man was already dead and the attackers had to be really far by now, if not dead. The government had wanted to show action but what the two detectives could actually do about the case wasn’t much. They had agreed that their prime concern would be to know everything about how it happened more than trying to actually catch someone. That was very difficult and, anyway, if they tracked the killer’s first steps, maybe they could investigate where he or she came from.
The station was a small group of red containers overlooking the continental ice sheet. It was very small and not many people lived there during the year. The normal number was around nine but Dr. Pong had been alone the day he died. Ellie Warren, a friend and fellow scientist, was waiting there for them. She gave them a tour of the facility and led them to the storage room where the doctor’s body was still laying. She told them that no one had spent a night since the day of the events, in order to avoid contaminating the scene. Only the group that found him had touched some things but they had been kind enough to point everything out in a report.
When entering the storage room, both Nora and Erik trembled. The man’s was looking at them, there on the frame of the door. It was strange how an empty body could seem so alive. They then started taking pictures with a special camera and asked Ellie to tell everyone they were going to comb the scene so they needed the station to be closed to any visitors. She nodded and disappeared, talking to a walkie-talkie. The duo took pictures of every single centimeter of the body. They didn’t dare to move it, afraid that the action would break the stream of frozen blood coming out of his forehead.
It was an eerie sight, to see such brutality but at the same time, realizing how careful the killer actually was. They found no hairs around the body, nor the killer’s weapon. Only the arrow was still inside the doctor’s skull and they decided it was best to remove it only when they had finished doing everything else. The corpse was wearing the jacket normally used for the outside, so that indicated the doctor was outside when he was attacked or that he went out during a persecution. That wasn’t clear but he must have been outside at some point that day.
When they checked the records of the day, doctor Pong had noted several things on his log. He had apparently been working on some ice sheet tubes they had extracted earlier that month from a field not very far from the station. The detectives, of course, had no idea what it all meant, but they realized he had worked on that during the day. The last thing he noted though was far more interesting than everything else: he had written, “The heating system seems to be malfunctioning. It’s freezing inside. I have to go out and check the heater”.
The detectives put on their jackets and asked Ellie about the heather and she joined them to it. It was located in a shed outside, about ten meters from the main entrance. There, they found that the door to the shed was open but nothing else pointed to the murder. Ellie checked the heater and told them everything was ok, which they already knew because the temperature inside the station was very pleasant. When back inside, Ellie told them she had to leave because she was needed in another station but that she would be back in a few hours. She reminded the detectives that it was summer in Antarctica, so eternal daylight was the norm. She showed them a couple of bed they could sleep if they needed to. She said goodbye and left in her snowmobile.
The duo continued the investigations but, as expected, they weren’t going anywhere with all of it. They had found hairs in the lab and other rooms but that was probably Ellie’s or some other scientist that had been there before. She explained the doctor was alone when he was killed because all the other scientists had been called to another base as a great discovery had been made and the transmission from a Russian base could only be received in the other station. He decided to stay behind for a day and just wait for them to return and tell them the news.
After checking every single part of the base, which was the size a of a single person’s apartment, they decided to eat something. The food looked like the ones they gave to astronauts and it taste just as they expected it to taste, so they continued their work rather fast. As Nora checked the doctor’s computer, Erik checked the storage room and the body once more.
Some hours had pass when Nora called Erik, saying she had found something. Many of the other cases they had solved were all about love and envy and how to combine that with the thirst for revenge and so on. She builds up on that and decided to look for secret folders or hidden archives in the doctor’s computer and Norma had found just that. It was an invisible folder and had only five pictures. When the couple saw them, they couldn’t help feeling surprised at them.
Each and every one of those pictures showed a younger Ellie Warren, with longer hair and a certain glow to her, fully naked on five different poses. It was obvious she was aware of the photographer but the pictures were certainly not new as the women in the pictures looked in her twenties, or even younger, and doctor Warren was at least fifty years old. Why would Pong have those pictures in his laptop? Had he known her before she became a scientist? Was he the photographer? Both Nora and Erik were baffled at the pictures but couldn’t make sense of them. Where them even meaningful to they investigation?
Then, an explosion was heard outside the station. Nora and Erik ran out to see the heater shed had burst into flames and some of the pieces were burning on the snow, others already freezing. Why had that happened? And then Nora grabbed Erik’s arm. She knew exactly what had happened. It was Ellie. She had been the only one of them to actually enter the shed. It had been working fine with them but it had failed when Pong had been killed. And now it had exploded.
Their conclusion was that Ellie had done the same thing that day. They decided to check with the nearest station, where the scientists had gone to check on the news. The radio wasn’t working very well but it was confirmed Ellie had not been there with them. According to the person in charge, she had stayed behind with Pong. So there.... It had to be her. She was the killer. But why? And where was she now. The man said she wasn’t there today either.
Nora was looking at the screen and then noticed Erik wasn’t talking. And he actually wasn’t breathing anymore. He fell to the floor, with an arrow on his head. Nora had no time to be scared as she saw Ellie holding a crossbow.
- Couldn’t leave you here with the evidence. Sorry.