A Sandrine Henderson case...



Einar Petersen
Copyright 2024 - All rights reserved

Main Characters

Red snow

Silence encompassed everything, not a wind moved and a thick white carpet covered everything.

Rosie Hunt was looking out her window, she smiled thoughts where whirling in her mind, this was not what she had pictured happening after the news she'd just had the week before.

Life must go on her mother used to say when the family was facing tragedy, and it did, despite everything happening in the world. Be it crazy dictators oppressing whole nations in the name of religion, political conviction or be it devious politicians sugarcoating fewer rights for the public good, all off course in the holy name of terrorism, or be it brutal natural disasters slaying hundreds of thousands in one fell swoop.

Rosie nodded to herself, yup life did go on.

Maybe if she hadn't been so preoccupied she'd have noticed something, but the magic of the outside view had her mesmerized, and as she pondered her future fate, it came to an abrupt end.

Rosie Hunt died aged 25.


Sandrine Henderson was tired, her beeper had gone off a full three hours before her alarm was supposed to ring, the coffee bought at The Daily Grindhouse, a gritty, no-nonsense coffee shop that served up strong, bold brews perfect for keeping alert during long shifts was nice, but usually it took a little more to get her started this early in the morning. Particularly these days, limiting herself to 1 cup per day was agony. Sandrine rubbed her queasy stomach, trying to ignore the persistent waves of nausea that had been plaguing her for the last few weeks. The mere thought of her breakfast sandwich made her feel sick.

As the Kinetica drove up toward the crime scene a traffic cop waved her over, he looked at Sandrine immediately her nose ring and face piercing, at closer inspection the cop noticed both the ear piercings and the butterfly clad tattoo swirling up her arm.

“Sorry mam, you probably need to find an alternate route. Pinewood Lane is closed for all traffic, unless you live here ?”. The traffic cop paused, the woman behind the wheel did not look like the average citizens of this neighborhood.

Sandrine smiled overbearingly and flashed her EuroCop detective badge. She knew full well why she was being pulled over. Her long black swirling hair, her almond eyes and dark tan. In a world still plagued by centuries of racial prejudice she was not exactly what the traffic cop expected a homicide investigator to look like.

The traffic cop embarrassed by his stereotyping stepped up to the side of the vehicle, relaxed the hand that had been held close to the holster and put it on the rooftop, “Excuse me mam, it's up 200 meters to the right, you'll need to pull up over there. You need to walk the rest of the way.”

Sandrine looked at the traffic cop “Why?” she inquired.

“It's really messy in the back, and the boys haven't quite finished looking for foot and tire marks.

Sandrine smiled, the Solar Roadway as well as solar pavement would not have left much for anything to make any marks on the surface, the built in de-icing system would have taken care of that as well as the rugged nu slip surface. This was the upgraded 21'st century infrastructure - roads and power grid in one, hell even the materials were from locally grown sugarcane plastics and abundant earth minerals, no more dependence on foreign oil or gas, nor dictatorial regimes sitting on rare mineral reserves, welcome to the 21st century. She was a bit puzzled though, she would have expected the automated roads to have tracked quite a few vehicles, why were they looking for tire-tracks?

The traffic cop barely noticed her dreamy gaze as she rubbed her chin and continued.

“I hope you're not too iffy about blood, sure some freak who did this that's for sure.” he stepped back and waved her in the right direction. Sandrine thanked him and smiled. The car pulled away up to the spot pointed out by the traffic cop.

The vehicle pulled up behind the white coroners wan, she sure didn't envy those guys, at least she had the opportunity to escape the murder scene once she'd done her preliminary investigation, then she could follow her leads, those guys did it every day.

Outside a camera was flashing, the half naked body in the snow wearing only a bathrobe once white was a typical suburban housewife of the west side. She looked very peaceful as she lay there.

There were long tracks of red in the snow where pulses of blood from slit arteries had painted a macabre pattern. Sandrine shuddered, nos as much from the cold as from the visuals of the scene.

The photographers finished up, no tracks but the victims left the back door, she must have tried to run across the yard to her neighbors house before expiring on her back lawn.

Inside the house her boyfriend sat devastated, she had called, had something to tell him. Tears flooded from his eyes.

Sandrine carefully noted his very genuine behavior, she was quite sure, her gut told her this was definitely not the assailant.

Her partner was doing the rounds with neighbors.

Everyone agreed Rosie Hunt was a decent person, in fact very well liked, a bit quiet but no enemies it would seem. It was a tragedy.

Sandrine noted the Alarm system had not gone off and nothing seemed missing or disturbed in the house other than some furniture toppled over from what seemed like a minor fight in the living room, meaning this was likely not a simple break in, gone wrong.

She glanced at the black chic bathroom table. Now this was interesting, a pregnancy test. Sandrine looked closer and carefully bagged the stick as well as the wrapping. Positive, so the victim was pregnant.

Lovers quarrel, another father than the poor sod sitting in the kitchen perhaps? Was that what Rosie had planned to tell him ? Or had she told him already ?

Sandrine knew she had to probe him deeper no matter how much it would seem to hurt, early elimination in any investigation was crucial to solving a case.

Sandrine sat anxiously in the doctor's office, her hands twisting nervously in her lap. She was going to get the results of her noninvasive blood based DNA testing where all kinds of things could be found out about the baby from taking her blood, and she was worried about what they might reveal.

The doctor entered the room with a warm smile and a reassuring demeanor. “Hello, Sandrine,” he said. “How are you feeling today?”

Sandrine took a deep breath and replied, “I'm fa bit worried, to be honest”

The doctor nodded sympathetically. “I understand how you feel,” he said. “Genetic testing can be a bit overwhelming at first. But I'm here to help you understand what the results mean, and to answer any questions you may have.”

He pulled up her results on the computer screen and began to explain. “As you can see here, Sandrine, the test has revealed that your child has a genetic disposition for a rare condition. However, it's important to understand that just because there is a genetic disposition, it does not necessarily mean that the condition will develop in your child.”

Sandrine's shoulders slumped while the doctor droned on about the potential issues after a rather lenghty explanation he was finally silent.

“What can we do to prevent the condition from developing?” she asked.

“Well, at this point there isn't a lot we can do to prevent it,” the doctor replied. “But there is ongoing research into treatments and therapies for rare genetic conditions, and we're making significant progress. In fact, there is a national register of rare genetic conditions that is helping to advance our understanding of these conditions and to connect families with resources and support.”

He continued, “There are also some exciting developments in the field of personalized medicine, which could one day allow us to tailor treatments to an individual's unique genetic profile. And CRISPR technology is advancing rapidly, allowing us to correct a whole slew of genetic mutations and to prevent the onset of certain conditions altogether.”

“But what about my child? Should I be worried?” she asked. She needed to be reassured that everything was going to be allright, the world was crummy enough as it was.

The doctor smiled reassuringly. “No, Sandrine, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Your child is healthy and developing normally, and there is a wealth of support and resources available to families who may be dealing with a rare genetic condition. We will monitor your child closely throughout the pregnancy and after, and we will do everything we can to ensure a healthy outcome.”

Sandrine felt a weight lifted from her shoulders and moments later she was headed to her car. She had not more than fastened her seatbelt when her com screen flickered on. There had been another murder and she was called to the scene.

Sandrine was working late at the precinct when the coroner's office called. She answered the phone, expecting to hear the latest on the case they were working on. But what the coroner told her left her reeling.

“We've just completed the autopsy on the latest victim,” the coroner said. “And we've discovered something concerning. She was also pregnant.”

Sandrine's heart sank. This was the second victim in as many weeks, and the 4'th who had been pregnant, all cases with squeaky clean partners. It couldn't be a coincidence.

“Did you run a test to determine the paternity?” she asked.

“We did,” the coroner replied. “And we were able to determine that the father was the victim's husband.”

Sandrine thought for a moment. “Do you happen to know which pregnancy test kit she used?” she asked.

The coroner sounded surprised. “Actually, we do. She used a noninvasive blood sample and pregnancy test kit from a company called Verinata. It's a new technology that only requires a few drops of blood, and it's supposed to be very accurate.”

As soon as the coroner said the name, Sandrine's heart skipped a beat. Verinata was the same company that had manufactured the test kit found at Rosie Hunt's murder scene. And it was the same sh herself had used not so long ago.

“Thank you for letting me know,” Sandrine said, her voice shaking slightly. “We'll need to investigate this further.”

“We'll give you a full screening report tomorrow,” the coroner said. “I'll make sure it's on your desk first thing in the morning.”

Sandrine hung up the phone, her mind racing. Two pregnant victims, both with a Verinata test kit. It was starting to look like more than a coincidence. She knew they needed to move quickly to catch the killer before there was another murder.

Tuesday sucked just as bad Sandrine had just endured another round of torture at the precinct health offices,

I know you hate these annual health checks and particularly the psyche evaluation, but I hope you understand that at this time it is especially important. The station psychologist/psychiatrist was talking and smiled.

Sandrine squirmed on the inside at the smile, she hated these sessions, the fakeness of the police world bothered her. everyone kept as much to themselves as they could, nobody wanted to bare themselves to the system. The make believe courtesy of the psychiatrist used to dealing with unthinkable trauma was in stark contrast to Sandrine's frank and open attitude. She's always been easy to smile and getting along with people. Nothing swept under the rug made her colleagues see her as a down to earth practical co-worker.

Sandrine sat at her desk, going over the details of the case. The murder of the two pregnant women was weighing heavily on her mind, and she knew that time was running out to catch the killer.

Her partner, Jack, walked over and sat down next to her. “What are you thinking, Sandrine?” he asked.

“I'm thinking that we need to look into the other victims,” she replied. “We need to see if they were pregnant, and if they had any genetic markers in common with the two women who were killed.”

Jack nodded in agreement. “That's a good idea. We should call the coroner's office and get them to run some tests.”

Sandrine picked up the phone and dialed the coroner's office. “Hi, it's Sandrine from the precinct. We need to run some tests on the other victims in the case. We need to know if they were pregnant and if they had any genetic markers in common with the two women who were killed.”

The coroner on the other end of the line was skeptical. “That's a lot of work,” she said. “Are you sure it's worth it?”

“I'm sure,” Sandrine replied firmly. “We need to leave no stone unturned in this case.”

The coroner sighed. “Alright, I'll get my team on it. But it's going to take some time.”

Sandrine thanked her and hung up the phone. She turned to Jack. “It's going to take some time,” she said. “But it's worth it. We need to find the common thread between these victims if we're going to catch the killer.”

Several days later, the results of the tests came back. Sandrine and Jack gathered around Sandrine's desk as she opened the file.

“Let's see,” she said, scanning the results. “No pregnancy for victim number one. No pregnancy for victim number two. No pregnancy for victim number three.”

She continued to read through the results, feeling her heart sink with each negative result. But then she got to victim number four.

“Bingo,” she said, her voice filled with excitement. “The record shows that victim number four was pregnant. And get this - all of the victims carry the same genetic marker.”

Jack's eyes widened in surprise. “That's a huge break in the case,” he said. “We can use this information to track down the killer.”

Sandrine nodded. “We need to start looking for anyone who has access to this information. Someone who knows about the genetic marker and how to use it to target their victims.”

Sandrine sat at her desk, staring at the crime scene photos in front of her. Another victim, another murder. But this one was different she wasn't pregnant, probably just a fluke that she had been assigned to herself and Jack. There was still nothing to tie the victims together, except for the genetic marker they all shared. And as the search had widened to include the victims' doctors and hospitals, they were still no closer to finding a pattern.

Sandrine's partner, Jack, walked over and sat down next to her. “What are you thinking, Sandrine?” he asked.

“I'm thinking that we're at a dead end,” she replied. “We've gone through all the victim's records, we've interviewed their doctors and hospital staff, but we still don't have anything to go on.”

Jack nodded in agreement. “It's frustrating, but we can't give up. We need to keep looking for any lead we can find.”

As they continued to brainstorm, Sandrine's phone rang. It was the coroner's office.

“Sandrine, we've completed the autopsy on the latest victim,” the coroner said. “And we've discovered something interesting. The victim also had that rare genetic disorder that was expressed in her genes.”

Sandrine's heart skipped a beat. “Can you tell me more about it?” she asked.

I know we were not asked to test for it, but I just couldn't help it the MO was too similar, I mean could be a breakthrough if there is a connection”

Are you sure you're not a detective Sandrine laughed. “I owe you one”

“Yes Sandrine, yes you do!”, the coroner replied.

She thanked the coroner and hung up the phone. She turned to Jack. “I think we have something,” she said. Jack sat at his desk, going over the case files with a furrowed brow. He couldn't shake the feeling that they were missing something, some crucial detail that would tie everything together.

As he looked up, he saw Sandrine standing in front of his desk, a concerned look on her face.

“What's wrong?” he asked, putting down the papers.

“It's just… this case,” she replied, trailing off.

Jack nodded in understanding. “I know, it's tough. But we'll get to the bottom of it, Sandrine. We always do.”

Sandrine smiled weakly, but her expression quickly turned to one of shock as Jack spoke again.

“Hey, you know, it's funny,” he said, a mischievous glint in his eye. “You share traits with your assailant. You have the same genetic marker.”

Sandrine's eyes widened in surprise, and she felt a pang of unease. She had told Jack once, during a moment of intimacy, about her genetic marker. But she had also emphasized that she had not gotten pregnant, despite their lack of protection.

Jack seemed to sense her discomfort and quickly backtracked. “I mean, of course it doesn't mean anything. Just an interesting coincidence, that's all.”

Sandrine nodded, feeling relieved but also a little embarrassed. She and Jack had agreed to just stay partners, but she couldn't help but wonder if there was something more there.

As she turned to leave, Jack couldn't help but steal a glance at her. He was still infatuated with her, even though they had agreed to just stay colleagues. But he knew that their work was more important than any romantic feelings he may have. So he turned back to the files, determined to find the missing piece of the puzzle that would solve the case once and for all.

Jack and Sandrine sat in front of their computer screens, their eyes fixed on the data being displayed by the AI they had deployed. They had decided to try a new approach to the case, using artificial intelligence to analyze the data from various databases and find correlations that they might have missed.

As they fed the data into the system, they watched as the AI began to highlight cases of other murders that shared similarities with their current case. They searched for random and unconnected people with the same genetic marker, even in other countries, and began to find a pattern emerging.

They both sat back in their chairs, staring at the screen in disbelief. there was one global database where all the cases of the specific marker were being collected for research purposes. But what if the data they had received wasn't properly sanitized? What if the privacy protections had not been followed properly, or if someone had root access and was able to back-engineer through the whole system and discover victims that way?

Their thoughts turned to the top researchers involved in finding a cure for the genetic disorder. Could it be one of them who was behind the murders? It seemed like a stretch, but they couldn't ignore the possibility.

Sandrine stumbled through the door of her apartment, exhausted after a long day at work. She was looking forward to taking a hot shower and just relaxing for the rest of the night.

But as she stepped inside, she was immediately attacked from behind. A hand covered her mouth, and she felt a sharp object press against her back in the ensuing scuffle the glass coffee table in the living room was smashed to pieces. Sandrine was thrown onto the table, but she used some of her aikido training to turn the fight on its head.

Just then, she heard a loud crash as the front door was kicked open. Jack had come by to check up on her, must have heard the scuffle, and came barging in weapon drawn.

Sandrine take by surprise lost her grip and the assailant turned his attention to her partner and aimed his weapon and fired as Sandrine's partner lunged at him and knocked the gun out of his hand before he fell to the floor.

For a moment, Sandrine frozeand, the assailant worried about other cops managed to break free and flee from the apartment.

Sandrine was left standing in the wreckage of her living room, shaken battered and bruised. Her partner, however, lay on the ground, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

She knelt beside him, tears streaming down her face. She had always been conflicted about their relationship, unsure if she should take the next step and commit to him fully. But as she looked at him now, she realized that she loved him more than anything.

She stayed with him, holding his hand and whispering words of comfort until the paramedics arrived.
To the Next Level

Sandrine sat in the Chief's office, her mind still reeling from the events of the night before. Her partner was going to pull through, but he was going to be in the hospital for a while.

The Chief spoke in a calm, even tone. “Sandrine, I'm taking you off the active duty roster. You'll do desk work until you're properly healed.”

Sandrine couldn't believe it. “So, I'm just going to bumble around here doing nothing?”

The Chief sighed. “You can take a leave of absence if you need to.”

“Hell, I will,” Sandrine said, standing up and throwing her hands in the air. “I'm not going to just sit around and do nothing. I need to find the person who did this.”

The Chief raised an eyebrow. “I understand your frustration, Sandrine. But you need to take it easy. We can't afford to have you injured again.”

Sandrine nodded, resigned to her fate. But then the Chief continued. “However, there is something you can do. The policeman's ball is coming up, and an extremely rich person is going to show up. He's a famous researcher who owns a genetic research facility and test production facility.”

Sandrine's interest was piqued. “And what does this have to do with me?”

The Chief smiled. “I think it's an opportunity for you to sniff around and look for connections to your case while playing the good girl to the rest of the department.”

Sandrine nodded. “I see what you're getting at. I'll do it.”

The Chief smiled. “Good. I knew I could count on you. And Sandrine, I want you to know that we'll do everything we can to find the person who did this. But you need to take care of yourself first.”

Sandrine left the Chief's office, a sense of purpose returning to her. She was going to find the killer, no matter what it took. And the policeman's ball was the perfect place to start.

Sandrine stood in front of her mirror, staring at her reflection in frustration. She had been trying to squeeze into a beautiful dress for the past half hour, but no matter how hard she tried, it just wouldn't fit.

She tugged at the fabric, trying to stretch it over her curves. But it was no use. The dress was too small, and Sandrine felt uncomfortable playing dress up.

She sighed and slumped down on her bed, feeling defeated, she felt anything but glamorous.

Her phone rang, and it was Jack. She hesitated for a moment before answering, unsure of what to say.

“Hey,” she said, trying to sound cheerful.

“Hey, how are you holding up?” he asked, his voice strained.

“I'm fine, you sound like shit though,” Sandrine said jokingly, trying to lighten the mood. “Is it hard to talk with a hole in you?”

Jack coughed and let out a small laugh. “Yeah, it is. But I wanted to check on you. How are you doing?”

“I'm okay,” Sandrine said, feeling a sense of comfort in talking to Jack. “Just having some trouble with this dress.”

There was a moment of silence before Jack spoke again, his voice serious. “Sandrine, I want you to know that I'm here for you, no matter what. And I know you'll do a great job tonight.”

Sandrine felt a lump form in her throat. “Thanks, Jack. I really appreciate it.”

They talked for a few more minutes, and then Jack hung up. Sandrine looked at herself in the mirror again, taking a deep breath. Maybe the dress didn't fit, but that didn't mean she couldn't do some kick-ass police work.

Sandrine arrived at the Policeman's Ball in her Kinetica, while a sleek and modern car that turned heads on the street it seemed somewhat out of place among the limosines pulling up outside the venue.

She took in the view. The exterior of the building was grand, with large pillars and intricate architecture that added to the elegance of the event.

As she stopped her car, a valet rushed over to help her. He opened the door for her and extended his hand to help her out, and as she stood up, “don't worry, it's self parking” Sandrine said with a smile to the valet.

“Welcome Mam”, the valet answered politely as the car beeped and then smoothly drove itself into the nearby parking basement.

Sandrine straightened out her dress and made her way towards the entrance. There was a red carpet laid out for the attendees to walk on, and she felt a sense of excitement as she made her way down it.

Before she could enter the building, however, she had to go through the security check. The security guards were thorough but efficient probably ex cops, and she was quickly cleared to enter.

Inside the lobby, she saw the Chief, who greeted her with a warm smile. “Thank God save me”, he grinned. They made small talk for a few minutes, discussing the event and the guests who were arriving.

The lobby was filled with the sound of chatter and laughter as people mingled and caught up with old friends.

Sandrine saw some familiar faces from the force and others who were new to her. She felt a little out of place in her dress.

As she made her way through the lobby, she heard snippets of conversation about the latest case. It seemed like everyone was talking about it, speculating on who the perpetrator might be and what their motive could be.

Sandrine made a mental note to keep her ears open, hoping that she might catch a clue that could help her in her investigation. She smiled and made her way deeper into the event, ready to enjoy the night and do some undercover detective work at the same time.

Then she looked up and saw him standing across the room, staring back at her. She had been searching for the assailant, trying to find any clue that might lead her to him, and now, here he was.

They locked eyes, both knowing exactly who the other was. The assailant made his way over to her, and Sandrine tried to play it cool.

“Nice to see you again,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“What do you mean?” Sandrine asked, trying to sound tough.

“Oh Just making small talk, isn't that what people do at these events” the assailant replied. “Heard you were attacked. Must suck you being a cop and all”

Sandrine didn't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much the attack had affected her, so she shrugged it off.

“I'm fine,” she said, trying to belittle him. “It takes more than some puny criminal like that to keep me down.”

The assailant enjoyed this and continued taunting her.

“I heard all the electronic surveilance went down when it happened. If only the wireless cameras weren't jammed, they could have had a clear picture of the attacker.”

Sandrine gritted her teeth, trying to keep her cool.

“Yeah, too bad,” she said through clenched teeth. “If only people had some respect for law and order these days.”

The assailant nodded in agreement, mentioning how his brother the “Rock Star” Researcher was working hard to breed out such traits. Sandrine felt sick to her stomach, realizing that the assailant's brother was likely the famous genetic researcher they had been looking for, he was the connection.

She needed to get out of there, and fast before she took him down right here and causing a scene, this creep had connections and money beyond imagination, that meant laywers and wiggling she could not handle without rock solid proof, her place had been devoid of any genetic evidence it was almost as if the techs coukd have been paid off to not find anything.

“Excuse me, I have to go to the toilet,” she said, making her way out of the room.

Once outside, she leaned against the wall, feeling physically ill. She punched the wall regreting it instantly. She couldn't believe that the assailant had been right in front of her, and she had been unable to do anything about it.

As she made her way back to the party, she saw the assailant slip away into the crowd. Sandrine was fuming with anger, knowing that he had slipped away once again. She couldn't let him get away with this.

The rest of the event was an agony to go through, hearing about the fantastic research being done and how lives were being transformed. Seeing her fellow blues getting medals pinned to their chest while she knew there was an assailant and probable murderer free in the crowd.

Later that evening Sandrine was sitting at Jack's bed, she had made a stopover at the hospital on her way home from the ball.

“I saw him, Jack,” she said, clenching her fists in frustration. “He was there, right in front of me, and I couldn't do anything.”

Jack leaned forward in his hospital bed, concern etched on his face. “What happened?”

“We talked,” Sandrine said, her voice barely above a whisper. “He knew I recognized him. We made small talk, but it was clear that we both knew what was going on. And then he taunted me, saying that it's too bad the wireless cameras were jammed, otherwise we could have caught a clear picture of him.”

Sandrine paused for a moment, taking a deep breath before continuing. “And then he mentioned his brother, said that his brother was working hard to breed out people like him. Can you believe that?”

Jack looked at her, eyebrows raised. “What do you mean, breed out people like him?”

Sandrine shook her head. “I don't know. It was just a passing comment. But it made me think, what if they really are doing that? What if they're using genetic testing to selectively breed out traits that they deem undesirable in the human race? It's a scary thought, Jack.”

“I know,” Jack said, his voice gentle. “But you can't let it consume you, Sandrine. You have to be careful, take your time. We'll catch him, I promise.”

Sandrine nodded, taking comfort in Jack's words. “I know. It's just frustrating, you know? To be so close and yet so far. But I won't give up, Jack. I'll keep pushing, keep fighting. For the victims, for justice.”

Jack smiled weakly, his eyes closing. “I know you will, Sandrine. I know you will.”

“But I really mean what I said. You need to be careful out there, Sandrine,” he said, his voice hoarse. “I don't want you getting hurt. These are some very powerful people”

“I know, I know,” Sandrine said, trying to keep her voice steady. “But I can't just sit back and do nothing. Not after what happened to you.”

“I don't want you to take unnecessary risks,” her partner said, squeezing her hand. “Promise me you'll be careful.”

Sandrine nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. “I promise,” she said. “I'll be careful.”

They talked for a few more minutes, and then the nurse came in to check on Jack's vitals. Sandrine gave his hand a gentle squeeze and got up to leave.

“I'll see you soon,” she said, giving him a quick kiss on the forehead.

As she walked out of the hospital room, Sandrine couldn't help but feel a sense of determination. She was going to catch the person responsible for all of this, no matter what it took.
Mouse and cat

She began to follow him, keeping a close eye on his movements and trying to gather as much information as possible. The assailant was fully aware of Sandrine's surveillance but enjoyed their game of cat and mouse. He saw himself as the hunter cat, allowing the tiny weeny mouse to think it is following him.

As the investigation progressed and the evidence pointed more and more towards the assailant, Sandrine became even more determined to bring him to justice. She began riding a motorcycle, enabling her to slip in and out of traffic and follow the assailant without being detected. The assailant noticed her and found it humorous, even considering taking up riding himself, but ultimately sticking to his fast luxurious sports car.

Despite the danger and the knowledge that Wells was always one step ahead, Sandrine continued to pursue him, gathering as much evidence as possible and trying to piece together the puzzle of the case.

Sandrine walked into the dimly lit café, feeling a bit out of place. The place was full of people with tattoos, piercings, and neon hair, all sitting in front of their screens, sipping on coffee or one of thes latest super optimized wheaty vitaminy things supposed to bring your nutrient levels into peek, Sandrine figured if they really needed that much vitamin D they should try getting out into the sun for a few minutes every day, but hey times were changing, not a single cola, slice of pizza of chips in sight it looked like it had all been replaced by müesli-bars and snazzy salads.

She spotted a young woman sitting in the back, typing away furiously on her laptop. Sandrine approached her table and cleared her throat to get her attention.

“Hi, I'm Sandrine. I was told you could help me,” she said, trying to sound friendly.

The hacker looked up and gave her a skeptical once-over. “Depends on what you need help with,” she said satisfied with Sandrines attire and appearance giving her a chance to continue pleading for an audience.

Sandrine took a seat across from her and leaned in. “I'm a police officer, and I'm investigating a murder case. I think the killer may have left some electronic traces that I can't access through official channels,” she said, keeping her voice low.

The hacker raised an eyebrow. “Why can't you access the traces?”, Neon had a disdain for any authorities and now they were here to ask her to break laws.

Sandrine sighed. “Long story short, it's complicated. But the thing is, I need your help to track down the killer.”

“And you can't because?”, Neon asked again.

“Money and legal reach, he's untouchable”

The hacker looked at her for a moment before nodding. “Okay, tell me more about the case.”

Sandrine proceeded to fill her in on the details of the case, explaining the potential implications of genetic selection manipulation and the need to find the killer before they strike again.

The hacker listened intently, her eyes widening in anger as Sandrine finished her explanation.

“Fucking elites,” the hacker muttered under her breath. “I'm in. Give me a minute to set up some tools.”

Sandrine watched as the hacker typed furiously on her laptop, her fingers dancing across the keyboard. It was a cyberpunk scene straight out of a movie.

After a few minutes, the hacker sat back and turned to Sandrine. “Okay, I've set up an AI on a virtual machine that will allow us to begin tracking down any electronic traces left by the killer. Let's get started.”

Sandrine felt a wave of relief wash over her. She had been feeling stuck in the investigation, but now she had a new ally on her side.

It took about a week and as they worked, Sandrine and the hacker chatted about the state of technology and the growing power of the wealthy and influential. It was a conversation that would have seemed out of place in most other settings, but in that dimly lit café full of cyberpunks, it sounded perfectly natural.

Hours unend had passed sifting through lines of code, AI systems rewriting and repurposing themselves while the digital breadcrumbs enabled them to connect the dots. Finally, they hit paydirt.

“We've got something,” the hacker said, excitement in her voice.

Sandrine leaned in, her heart racing. “What is it?”

The hacker pointed to a line of code on her screen. “This is an IP address. I don't know if it's the killer's, but it's definitely connected to the case.” Then she pointed to another IP “See how it connects and now check out the ID link and this address.

Sandrine grinned, feeling a renewed sense of purpose. “We've got him now.”

Sandrine had arrived at the abandoned construction site just before midnight. The place was deserted, with only the occasional bark of a dog and the hum of powerlines breaking the silence. She had chosen one of the assailant's own construction sites for the showdown, hoping to catch him off guard.

As she crouched in the shadows, Sandrine could see the headlights of a sportscar approaching in the distance. The assailant had arrived. Sandrine was still officially on desk duty, and Jack was still hospitalized, so she knew there would be no backup if things went wrong. This was a high-stakes game.

Marcus Wells, got out of his car and nervously paced around at the meeting point.

Slowly Sandrine moved forward making sure to remain in the camera recording field.

Accidentally she kicked a bucket, and Wells turned around, sensing something was amiss.

“Who's there?” he demanded. Nervously glancing around.

Sandrine activated her voice altering larynx unit and demanded Wells to open the briefcase with the money.

Wells complied, but demanded answers. “who the fuck are you?”

“Why did you kill them?” Sandrine asked.

“Fuck you! Just toss me the documents and take the money. Then we go our separate ways, cunt,” Wells spat.

Sandrine knew she had to act fast. She flung a brown envelope towards him, and Wells picked it up.

“What's it to you bitch?, they were all a bunch of sick cunts anyway!”

Sandrine then stepped out of the darkness and pointed her gun at him.

“Smile, you're on camera, asshole,” she said, pointing to the silently hovering recorder drone.

Wells tried to back away towards the barrel where he had stashed the gun earlier, but Sandrine had already been staking out the location and removed it earlier.

Wells was clearly agitated. He snatched the briefcase with the money and began to retreat, but Sandrine was not about to let him go.

She chased after, firing her gun as he sprinted towards his car. as if by some miracle not one of her shots hit their target despite her marksmanship.

Wells jumped into the driver's seat and slammed the door shut. Sandrine fired a final shot, but it was too late he was about to get away unless Sandrine did something.

She bolted back for her motorcycle and kicked it into action with a strong twist Sandrine revved up her motorcycle, and engine roaring to life as she took off after Wells and his speeding sports car. The chase was on.

She weaved in and out of the construction site, narrowly avoiding obstacles and using ramps made of gravel and discarded tools to catch up to the car.

Wells tried to ram her several times, but Sandrine was too quick, taking the bike flying multiple times to evade his attempts. She knew she had to keep him distracted and on the run.

As they sped through the site at death defying speed, Sandrine executed some perfect acrobatic gun kata, shooting out the hydraulics of a crane and sending a barrage of concrete pipes rolling down towards Wells.

But he was too quick, swerving to avoid them and continuing his pursuit. She could hear the sound of his sports car engine as it came roaring toward her. her heart pounding in her chest like a jackhammer as Wells managed to slice her ever so slightly. The contact sent her flying through the air, and she landed hard on the ground, the wind knocked out of her. She gasped for breath, struggling to regain her bearings.

Wells circled back around, a look of triumph on his face. Sandrine knew that she was in trouble now, with no cover and no way to fight back. She scrambled to her feet, grabbing a length of steel pipe that was lying nearby.

As Wells charged towards her, Sandrine swung the pipe with all her strength. The steel pipe smashed right through his windshield causing Wells to swerve.

Sandrine leaped back onto her motorcycle and sped off, feeling a rush of triumph. As the two vehicles careened around the site, Sandrine could feel her heart racing in her chest. She knew that this was a life or death situation, and she was determined to come out on top.

Finally, she saw the opportunity she was hoping for. Wells' car was approaching a row of concrete walls that were lined up for lifting the next day. Sandrine used all her skills to maneuver her motorcycle into position, aiming her gun carefully at the hydraulics that held the walls in place.

She fired, sending a barrage of bullets into the machinery. Suddenly, the walls burst out of their restraints, hurtling towards Wells' car like a deadly avalanche.

Wells didn't see them coming and then there was a sickening crunch as the walls tumbled and crushed Wells' car beneath their weight.

Sandrine watched as the car twisted and buckled, with metal and concrete grinding together in a screeching symphony of destruction.

Finally, there was a moment of stillness. Only the plop plop plop of the coasting motorcycle engine broke the silence.

Sandrine stared at the wreckage, her heart still pounding in her chest. She had won, but at what cost? She could only hope that it was worth it.

She turned off the motorcycle and sat down heavily on the ground sitting alone in the abandoned construction site, breathing heavily and feeling the aftermath of the adrenaline coursing through her veins.

Blinking blue lights began to shine in the distance as sirens grew louder, “the cavalry” was on its way, ah better late than never she thought, knowing everyone was safe already.

The End