The road before him was sand, endless amounts of sand. Heaped up in mountains, slopes and dust in the air all around the car. He couldn't see five feet before him even if he wanted to. He didn't though. The car drove itself and looking out of the window, just gazing, was a mere luxury not many could afford anymore these days. He could now, he supposed, but instead he busied himself with reading the file on the girl for what seemed like the millionth time, as if hoping the letters had suddenly changed, shaping new words that would help with the investigation. Sadly, they hadn't. The notepad flickered and for a moment the tall man cussed. If only he could still access the investigator tablets. This one would have to do, though. Any perks he once had were long gone. Already in the hands of new and eager investigators. God he hoped it wasn't Jay who had gotten his tablet. The navigators console of the car blinked up twice. Fifteen more minutes till destination point. Whoever had ever invented that it would be wise to place a city in the middle of the fucking desert really earned a slap in the face.
Four hours, four hours to even get to here even with his new generation car. A luxury in which he had wisely invested. Even with the car driving twice as fast as any investigator car it was still way over four hours. Four hours that could be spend doing way more interesting things. Or not. Not for him, not anymore. No, his life was reduced to chasing ghosts across deserted plains full of sand. He wanted this himself though, nobody had asked him to, he could have easily taken up painting or writing as a new pastime. Still, his very core demanded him to keep up the work he had intended to do his whole life. The dust grew thicker and for a moment it seemed as if all that surrounded him was a cloud of orange and gold. Did he mention he absolutely hated dust? It was as if the dust already oozed through the airtight cracks of the car, settling on his suit and smudging his hat. On the passengers seat was his own handgun. It was practically ancient, still running on bullets. Five of them. Five shots to defend himself. Primitive bullets. He didn't stand a chance if anyone had it out for him. Not long range at least. Again, the luxury of wearing a standard issue laser rifle was - like all the other things- not for him anymore. But then again, who would want to hurt a guy looking into a case of a woman who was presumed dead for over thirty years now. He hoped no-one. There was something about this case. Something unsettling. There was something about all the old cases though. The ones from the beginning of the CU. Gruesome, intense; and back in the day seemingly without cause. He recalled a specific case he had stumbled upon a while back while perusing the investigator's records. A woman found cut to pieces months after her disappearance, teeth, hair all missing. Cloning was a lot less sophisticated back in the day, it required more... More of the humans. The pictures were unsettling to say the least.
Nowadays though, cloning hardly seemed unsettling anymore. People even sold there DNA for clones and managed to get a decent living out of it. Many people would not even wince anymore at the notion of having a clone, while their grandparents died over it. That was how harsh the world was these days. He briefly wondered what it would be like before all the grand technological discoveries. How simple it must have been. He'd seen the movies, all of them. The quality was poor to say the least but the movies where more interesting than a thousand clones being made within the hour. Their lives was simple, they'd worry about their dinner for that night, or the weather. People didn't even fuss over the weather anymore, it was shit all day every day now. Getting lost in these stories was the most of relaxing he ever permitted himself. An old movie, an old book -digitalized of course-. The console beeped again and he gazed out of the window as buildings loomed in the distance. There it was. It looked like shit that was for sure. The buildings were covered in dust and sand, barely standing upright. This wasn't a city. This was a ghost town. As the car approached the city at a low speed it became painfully evident that nobody had lived here for a very long time. The windows were shattered and the few cars that were parked along the sidewalk had long since seen better days. Wait, was that a Lorner 3x? That thing was ancient. This town was dead for sure. It wouldn't hurt to look around though, things didn't always turn out to be quite what they appeared to be. If this was a ghost town, though, his investigation would be over before it even began. The car stopped and he grabbed his pistol and hat before getting out. The sand whipped him in the face harshly, managing to make him even moodier. Visibility was poor, the orange sand and dust surrounding him everywhere he went. Great, he could even feel it slipping in his shoes. He decided to investigate the building to his left first, but there was nothing to be found. The place had been empty for at least a decade, pillaged and all. The other buildings turned out the same. Nothing out of the ordinary, or better, nothing at all there. Why hadn't this shown up in his extensive research? Nothing in any record -public or not- suggested that the city had been deserted. Not that there was much to find out about it. Most of the intel had probably been destroyed in the CU.
Either way the town was a bust, it was painfully clear that this case wasn't an unsolved case for nothing, and he sure as hell wasn't going to crack it here. Crankier than ever before he made his way back to the car, but when he looked up he saw a figure looming in the distance, moving towards him slowly.
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