by Bill Brennan

(a "Long ARM of Brad Majors" story)
based on a story by the ever-talented
Larry Niven.

There is a large castle on an even larger plot of land just outside of Denton, U.S.A. The place cost a fortune to rent, but that was okay, because the current occupant was rich. But he hadnt paid his rent in the last two weeks, and the landlord was wondering why the occupant had not, or would nor, or COULD not, answer his door or phone. So he went to the local police...

First came the request for a Brach of Privacy permit. The permit went to a clerk, who gave it to an officer, who gave it to a laywer, who finally gave it to Judge Oliver Wright, Denton leading social scientist and Criminologist. Judge Wright was reluctant to sign it. Privacy is a very precious thing in a world of almost eighteen billion people. But in the end he could find no reason not to, so the opernit was granted. the land lord was allowed to use his pass key, with an officer present, and they entered the castle. They found the occupant sitting on a throne-like chair, weaing a corset and heels and pearls, dead as a door-nail, on April 7th, 2111. (that 4-7-11, kids. Get it?) And when they found out who he was, the local police called me.

I was at my desk, doddling and surfing the net, wishing it were lunchtime. I was frustrated. At thjis stage of the case, the Von Scott gang were still a mystery. They moved into the Denton area about a year ago, and since then over a dozen people had vanished, and the list of people waiting on line for transplants at the hospital had demonished. That ment only one thing-there was an organ-legging gang in the area. A criminal scientist named Von Scott had been rumored to have moved in, but the name was only that-a rumor. We didnt even know what the man or any of his accomplices looked like. And it was my job as a member of the ARM-the Amalgamated Regional militia, to stop him. The ARM got all the cases that were beyond the average police, or involved scientific or esoteric factors, and organleggers were the most dangerous: the kidnapped innocent people, and broke them up for spare parts. Your average citizen, no matter of honest, will pay big bucks for an illegal organ or body part NOW, insted of waiting his fair turn at the hospitol. Especially if he may die while waiting. Modern medical care could cure almost anything these days, but the wait on line for some parts was long. Lungs, eyes, and a healthy heart were always in short supply. After all, an organ bank is like any other bank-you cant take more out then you put in. And there just werent enough crimoinals being pout to death, or healthy citizens dying off and leaving healthy parts (if there was such an animal) to go around. Thus, organ legging was born.

And then the phone rang, and I didnt have to think about Von Scott for a while.

"Brad Majors," I said as I pushed the glasses back up my nose.I could have gotten a new set of eyes, for a price, but wearing the glasses was easier. And cheaper.

"My name is Officer Vance Parker," said the ruddy-cheeked man in the cops uniform that was looking back me over the phone.

"What can I do for you, Officer?" I asked.

"We have a body, and I think the ARM would be interested. Its Furter, Dr. Frank N Furter."

I sat right up.

"He's dead?" I asked.

"Yes." Parker said.

"Dont move anything that you havent moved already. I'll be down there right away."

I clicked the phone off and Parker vanished. Frank N Furter, dead. Now that would be disturbing. Frank N Furter was one of the world greatest minds! He had created amazing inventions: The Medusa, which could safely turn humans or animals or anything other organic item into something not-quite like stone. It kept people and food in stasis indefinatly, and was a great boon to helping the exploring and colonization of the stars...then there was the Triple contcat electro magnet, whioch when refined and harnessed had given almost free energy, ending what used to be called "poverty" on Earth. Rumor had it that Furter was working on something new, something amazing. Some said he had discovered the secret of life itself.

And if Furter was dead, there would be no more amazing inventions. I went to the roof and used my clicker to hail a cab. One decended, and I hopped in, and typed in the adress. The cab went up and zipped through the air. I would be at the castle in a quarter of an hour...