~ Follow my adventures as a super-hero cat and an eccentric food taster ~

Jul 7, 2010


CHAPTER 14: Tracking Down the Bomber "Katzenjammer" ©

A couple of weeks after the attempted bombing of the cat-show, headquarters called me in for a briefing. There were five of us in the room including three superheroes.

Head Honcho Harry (not his real name) turned the lights off so he could show some information on the projector about the elusive bomber Katzenjammer. His assistant sat poised at his computer nearby, ready to take notes.

"We've found survelliance footage from the cat-show which includes some images of the man we believe to be Katzenjammer," he began.

Clicking the remote, a grainy image of a largish man in black showed up on the screen on the wall. He was a very ordinary looking fellow with a moustache and a receding hairline. He was carrying a cat-cage which he placed amongst other entries in the line-up for the cat-show competition.

"This is the only person we have been unable to locate. There was no official entry form completed and we were unable to obtain any kind of information or videos of the carpark and had thought we'd come to a dead-end."

"We asked the show organisers to keep every piece of rubbish from both inside and outside of the marquee and place them into a bag for us and to pass on any unclaimed items. Some of our agents have been sifting through the left-overs to determine if anything looked like it didn't belong to the event or competitors," Harry said.

"Out of a dozen items, we've narrowed it down to three. Your assignment is to track down their owners."

"I assume you've done the usual fingerprint tests," Marie the hedgehog asked.

I had met Marie for the first time just prior to the meeting, and she seemed a very serious type.

"Yes," Harry said. "We've also checked for residues of any kind."

Picking up a large black coat he said, "This was unclaimed and we've found high traces of ammonia in its fibres."

He then held up a novel entitled, "All You Ever Wanted to Know About Exotic Felines" by Tootsie Felor.

"We found a partial print on this but have been unable to trace link it to any known criminals."

After placing the first two items back onto the table in front of him, he held up an oddly shaped piece of metal about 12x8cm. Silver in colour it looked unremarkable.

"We have not been able to find the owner of this piece nor been able to determine what it's for."

"What is it made from?" Thomas a carpet python asked.

"An amalgum of stainless steel, aluminium and copper, as well as other trace metals," Harry replied.

"Working as a team, I want you three to use all of your super-powers to see if you can find out anything else what may shed some light on these items," Harry said, reaching for the light switch.

The room was once again bathed in light.

The three of us crowded around the table. I was curious to know what super-powers the other two had.

"Oh yes," said Marie, scrunching up her little hedgehog nose, "The ammona smell is quite intense." 

She rubbed her nose a little and sniffed, "I hope I can smell past it."

"Aha! A super-nose," I thought to myself.

While I myself had a very impressive sense of smell, it probably wasn't as sensitive as the hedgehogs.

Leaning in to the book Marie twitched her nose above it and said, "Toilet cleaner, newspaper and some traces of sweet and sour sauce on the front cover."

She nodded towards the assistant standing nearby and asked him if he could turn the pages. Reaching in with his gloved hands, he turned the pages one by one.

Marie sniffed as each page was turned, adding in little comments, "Soot. Ah tea-leaves. Ooh a touch of tobacco there - a very nasty, cheap kind of tobacco. Dust particles and some grit. Car fumes. More dust. Lasagne. Pigeon droppings. Scorched metal for a couple of chapters and something I can't quite put my nose on."

"May I look?" I asked, nodding towards the assistant holding the book. It was the first time that I would use my super-sight for looking at something microscopically for an assignment.

"Yes Marie, I agree with you on the soot. Some very minute traces there. Lots of dust particles and grit and traces of smog, but not a lot. I'm afraid there's not a lot more I can see," I said as the pages were turned.

"Wait! Just go back to that last page," I asked.

Zooming in with my vision I added, "I think there's a trace of some kind of machinery oil."

Marie sniffed and said, "Yes you're right, although I'm not quite sure if that helps us."

"Does is smell like ordinary machinery oil?" I asked her.

"It is quite hard to tell," she replied.

"May I be of assistance?" Thomas the python asked. He was a striking looking carpet python, native to my own country.

After we nodded, he flickered his tongue over the page and touched it with the tip. 

"Mmm, a specialist kind of oil for a specific kind of machinery," he said. "Very refined so as not to clog up the machinery or mechanism. But I can't tell what kind of machinery from the oil."

The black jacket with the strong odour of ammonia did not provide any more information other than the fact that the human wearer sweated a lot.

The remaining piece of metal was a bit of a puzzle. It had obviously been hand-made for a particular purpose but it was impossible to tell what kind of machinery it fitted, simply by its shape.

"So what do we have so far?" I asked.

"Someone who works with machinery and is likely to be able to repair it by himself," Marie suggested.

"Perhaps they're in charge of a workshop," Thomas added.

"Or works on it by themselves," Marie suggested.

"And the traces of smog would suggest that they work in a large city, but further away from the city centre," Thomas said.

"Or further up," I added, a sudden thought popping into my head.

"Perhaps they work up higher in a building where the smog isn't so dense," I suggested.

"Yes," Marie exclaimed, "And they work in their own workshop."

"An odd kind of place to have a workshop," Thomas said.

"Mmm," Marie agreed with a nod of her head, "Maybe the work they do is high up in buildings."

"Air-conditioning?" I suggested.

"No, they wouldn't require hand-made parts," Marie said.

"May I just try one more thing," Thomas asked. "Sometimes it works."

After we nodded, he slithered further onto the table and slowly and gently began to move his scales against the metal.

"Higher up above the ground," he said, "I can sense the bomber was high up but not in a high-rise. Perhaps only two or three levels high. Sometimes I can get a sense of where someone has been but this one is tricky."

He rubbed his scales a little closer against the metal and then added, "It's old. This building is old and made of sandstone."

"An old sandstone building in a city, a couple of levels higher than the street and there's some kind of specialised machinery in it," I said.

Marie suddenly leaped up and squealed, "A clock tower!"

"Of course!" I agreed, "It all makes sense now. Katzenjammer looks after an old clock. With the knowledge he has of timepieces, he would easily be able to put together a bomb."

"Do you know how many old sandstone clock towers there are in large cities in Australia?" Thomas groaned.

"Just a minute," Marie said. "How many people in Australia would be trained in this kind of work. Perhaps he's the only clock repairer in a particular city."

"All we need to do is check the employment records from each business that owns a sandstone clock tower in Australia and see if there's a match," I suggested.

"Perhaps headquarters can send a human in to ask and maybe the bomber's description will ring a bell," Marie added, "No pun intended."

I grinned at the serious Marie and heard Thomas give a little hissing kind of laugh.

Harry our boss rubbed his hands together and said, "Well done you three. That's terrific work. We'll let you know what progress we make in our investigations."

"I'd like to be there for Katzenjammer's capture," I said.

Nodding his head, Harry replied, "We'll see Mal-Larci."

"Thomas, Marie, Mal-Larci - you three make a fine investigative team. We may just put you together for future cases when they arise," Harry said. He looked very pleased.

It certainly seemed that the three of us had special powers that might prove to be of great benefit in the future.

I was quite delighted with the outcome of our teamwork, and that I'd been able to contribute.

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