The briefcase story :part 2: what is inside?

This is a continuation of a suspense thriller series:First part of this series can be found here- The Briefcase story: part 1 

pexels-photo-177688.jpegI opened the briefcase with shaky hands and a lot of apprehension of the sudden blast in case if any explosive was inside it. However, unboxing the contents of the briefcase appeared apparently safe although the contents were a sort of boring, bunch of printouts of internet downloaded contents, looked like a journal article. While scanning my eyes through those I found myself in the dilemma, if I should draw the attention of law enforcement officials about this incident or should I contact the briefcase sender’s daughter. Neither felt as comfortable choice to me and I started to turn those pages with a vacant stare. The documents were all about some medicinal drugs. Being unable to decide what all these documents meant and why and when did Rasley send this briefcase full of documents to me, I went for a shower. The answer of ‘when’ did he send this parcel became clear post-shower when I thoroughly examined the sender’s details printed on the parcel cover; he couriered it just minutes before his assassination. The mystery remained around why did he send it to me’? I knew him only for a very brief period, maximum for an hour or so.

Next day, as usual, I started in the morning for the conference, as scheduled. That day’s schedule was divided into two sessions, the morning session involved paper presentations by some guest presenters and the post noon session was dedicated to a city tour, by bus. Therefore, I was carrying a camera on that day to capture the beautiful glimpses of the city.

On arrival at the conference venue, I received a light breakfast and a formal welcome and then hailed straight to the conference hall where I found a comfortable empty seat in the middle row to sit. I was just about to seat when my eyes remained stunned open as I saw one of the names on the guest presenter’s list displayed on the screen, ‘Dr. Rasley’. Is it the same person Rasley, who is deceased or someone else with the same name. Within next few minutes, my doubt erased as the condolence filled announcement was announced for Dr. Rasley. Suspiciously, I couldn’t make out why didn’t he tell me in the train that he was also hailing for the same conference where I was attending, although I told him about it. He was the third guest presenter on that day’s list in the conference. I started to perspire thoroughly with the angst of the entire events I went through since visiting this island nation. Few things were then becoming clear to me about my train-friend Rasley (Dr. Rasley now), he must had been in some sort of trouble and knowing me as a member of alike profession and participant of the same conference, must have sent me the briefcase to my hotel. My sixth sense said that the briefcase full of explosives that we uncovered in the train was possibly placed for Dr. Rasley’s assassination to commit a homicide rather than a terrorist act to blow of the train. I couldn’t keep any more control on my nerves and left the conference hall and went out to the lobby.

In the lobby area, I tried to recapitulate all the incidents again and wanted to know what really Dr. Rasley’s topic of the presentation was on that day, for any possible clue to his murder. I went directly to meet the conference organiser and asked regarding the deceased guest presenter’s submitted abstract. The reply I received was heartbreaking, and further complicated the puzzle of Dr. Rasley’s death. The organisers informed, Dr. Rasley is a renowned professor in his working area, which is related to uncovering unknown adverse reactions related mysteries of medications and since he was a guest presenter his item was allowed to be a last minute surprise, henceforth no-one had any idea about the possible work that Dr. Rasley would have presented on that day. Some of the things were becoming clear to me albeit not all, so I decided to return to the hotel and suspend the remaining days’ activity at the conference.

It was noon when I returned to the hotel, and hunger was troubling me a lot, so first I headed for a lunch and then to my room. I sat with a mug full of steaming robusta and a piece of paper to try to join all segments of the events together, to find any link between Dr. Rasley’s murder and his conference presentation topic.

It was quite clear to me by then that since pharma companies were possibly involved with his presentation topic it’s likely that he was almost about to untangle some mischievous truth about some drugs that could have been potentially harmful to a particular drug company’s business or legality. Unfortunately, this was my hypothesis only and had no way to prove it. Although, I thought many times to discuss those things with the local police, didn’t do so because I felt that it would be wise to keep away from them suspecting the high financial influence on law enforcing authorities such giant drug companies could have had. Nevertheless, till then everything was just an imaginative play of my mind with not much strong evidence to any proper hint which makes a perfect knot with the real scenario.

I didn’t have much time in hand and must leave that nation in next 72 hours when my return flight was pre-scheduled. So thought of self-investigating the case to my best possible extent. Thanks to the internet and computer, the angels of this century, allows us to do a lot of investigative work simply being in a room as if an undercover detective. If it was the time when Sherlock stories were portrayed probably I would have to plunge in giant potholes of real danger to uncover various pieces of information and would have increased my chances of being noticed easily by the wrongdoers.

I didn’t have much knowledge of a detective’s work, except those learnt in forensic lectures I went through during my grad days. But my sole rang, I should give a try and so I did dip myself in investigating Dr. Rasley’s murder case silently behind the closed door of the hotel room.

First thing in my investigation list was to know the academic work details of Dr. Rasley, and that didn’t seem to be a difficult task, the university where he was most recently enlightening his pupils displayed all about his works on its website. There were almost 130 publications where he was the credited as an author and he also contributes to few books pertaining to medicines. I immediately figured out that the deceased with whose death mystery I was dealing with, was a damn gem in his field of work. Solving, such a mammoth profile person’s murder case is probably not an easy job for an amateur investigator like me. However, I didn’t allow such low esteem thought to outgrow in me any further and focused back in my investigation. I knew as long as I am doing all the investigation work over the internet and my computer, probably I wouldn’t be noticed by the perpetrators, albeit one should always be careful from the new computer tech related pests, called ‘hackers’.

Among all the works that Dr. Rasley did only a few, I understood, primarily those about side effects or mechanism of actions of certain medicines used to treat humans. Rest was about complex issues like genetics, lab animal-related experiments, various chemicals etc. beyond my level of knowledge to engulf in one short scanning type read. After spending few hours on the laptop screen trying digging out the essence of his works my eyes were worn out and had to take a nap.
anatomy_of_a_murder_2It was 6 am next day when I woke up, which obviously was not a nap anymore, an overnight sleep rather. My hidden close-door hotel room investigation didn’t make much progress yet. I took my early morning coffee cup and checked my emails first and then returned back to Dr. Rasley’s research papers that I downloaded on the previous day. But after head cramming for about another 2 hours nothing noteworthy I could dig out.

Then I started to think of another way to solve the case. Since my childhood, I have heard stories and seen movies where it’s depicted that when a thief goes to steal something in a house he searches in all hidden places like closets, under the bed etc. for expensive valuables but doesn’t gaze over things that are lying in front his eyes like a gold made wall clock hanging on the wall. Similar is said be true for crime scene investigators too, who bang their heads in search of hidden clues but overlooks those pieces of evidence that are just in front of them, staring and smiling shamelessly to be picked up. As such a vibrant thought bubbled in my head, I decided of going away from the briefcase by few inches and then slowly move closer towards it to find out any easily visible superficial clues. To do so, immediately I did put back all that was inside the briefcase and packed it almost in the same adorn how I received it from the reception and kept it on the table.

Then, using my knowledge till that date about performing a criminal investigation, which I primarily learnt from TV shows how best US agencies investigate a crime scene, I tried to emulate a smarty detective’s prototype. Alike professional detectives, I too started with photographing the briefcase from all possible angles and both from outside and inside. I included both close and long shots of the briefcase.

After transferring those photos to my laptop I tried to view those photos by zooming in and out to hunt for any clue like a scratch mark message or something like that on the briefcase. No, there was no such clue that Dr.  Rasley left for me. However, keeping in mind the level of intelligent quotient the man might have I explored for all possible clues that can be looked for.

Over the next 4 hours of intensive search through those photos taken by me of the briefcase and its content, I could bring in only one positive finding that was a ‘missing screw’, which was missing from one of the hinges of the briefcase. Although I  thought it could be a hint leftover by the deceased for me to solve this case, without underrating the level of intellect he had, but couldn’t make out anything from that missing screw.

Finally, the day came when I should leave the hotel and fly back to my home country.  I had an early morning flight and a cab was already arranged by the hotel manager for my transportation to the airport. After boarding the aircraft, I started to engage myself in revising with the onboard crew’s live demonstration how to fix a seat belt, what should be done in case of an emergency landing in water and how many exits the aircraft had? Everything around me was fine and I was also happy that finally, I was homebound. But a significant amount of remorse was also burning me from inside being unable to aid a deceased get justice, who probably found me as his only hope before getting murdered. At least, I could have handed over the briefcase to police or Dr. Rasley’s daughter. I did nothing except trying to be a hero and returning back empty-handed.

Anyway, I always had been a good law abiding citizen always, who don’t hide air-hostesses and keeps mobile phone on during flight. So I turned off my mobile phone and fastened my seatbelt and was preparing for the takeoff and then an air hostess requested me to come to the rear end of the plane for some visa related queries. I didn’t argue and simply followed what she said. My heart started to pound heavily when I saw two armed police officers were waiting at the back side of the flight for me. It was quite clear that visa issue is bullshit, because I entered the nation legally for the purpose of attending the conference, and this must be something in relation to Dr. Rasley’s death. I was almost about to sob, I hated police in fear of wrongly detaining innocent people behind bars. But there was no choice other than facing those officers.