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Old 07-25-2006, 05:26 PM
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Default Don’t illegally download movies.

Don’t illegally download movies.
Who knows what might happen?

First Act: Introduction

“What!” Shaun yelled through the phone horn. He moved his free hand through his hair, and looked at his alarm clock. It was two in the morning, and he had just been woken up by a phone call.

“Joel, how do heck did you get those things?” He sounded like a four year old let loose in a toy store. Joel was a friend of Shaun, or better said, an extremely wealthy and snobby friend, who seemed to be a bit like Casanova. Sure, he had the looks - and the money – but he never seemed to find the right girl for himself.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll be there,” Shaun replied. “Pier 3, 10 o’clock tomorrow night. Ship’s name is St. Victoria. Okay, got that,” he said, while he wrote everything down on a note of paper. “Sure, I’ll tell the others.” Shaun was about to put down the horn, but he had a sudden change of heart. “Oh yeah,” he added, putting the phone back onto his ear, “Next time you decide to freaking call me from God knows where, mind the damned time zones!” With that said, he threw the horn onto the receiver, and went to his bed once again.

The next day at 21:45, Shaun and two of his other friends, Mike and Louise, stood before the boarding stairs of the St. Victoria. Mike was the sober one of the group, as well as the strongest and the smartest. He had a knack for taking care of others, which extended to more than mere first aid skills. Louise, the only girl of the four friends, was the most hot-headed, because she always seemed to get angry at everything either Shaun or Joel did wrong. Though, sometimes it appeared that she knew what was going to happen, before it actually happened. Joel and Shaun always teasingly called her ‘Ms. Psychic’, what always ended up with them being punched somewhere rather hard.

Though, there they now stood, all waiting for the arrival of their friend Joel. It was nothing like him to be this late. Suddenly a familiar voice shouted ‘Hey’ from above. Shaun, Mike and Louise looked up to see who was yelling at them.

“What are you slugs waiting for? Maybe you were waiting for a seagull to swoop down and drop a hand written invitation in your hands?” Joel mocked them. “Come on, get on board. I was waiting for ages!”

But once they got up, a sailor was blocking their way, asking for them to show their tickets. Luckily Joel showed up soon enough, and after explaining the situation, they were shown their cabins. Joel already occupied cabin 14, Shaun got 15, Louise 16 and Mike 17. Once they had dropped their stuff in their cabins, they all went up to the deck to catch some salty sea air.

They were leaning against the railing, watching the July sun slowly drop into the quiet blue ocean. A woman came running up to them, frantically waving her hand. She was Joel’s older sister, an internationally renowned Hollywood actress, whose films always filled up countless cinemas.

“Joel, I didn’t know you’d be here,” she said, hugging her little brother.

“Likewise, Ann” he coughed, almost smothered by her hug.

“And you’ve brought your friends along, I see,” she continued. “You must be Shaun,” she said, giving him the same kind of hug. Shaun was glad when she let him loose, and continued on to Mike. “You’re Mike, right?” she asked, but before he could reply, he was already being smothered just like the other two. “And of course, Louise,” Ann said, giving Louise a hug. When they finally let loose, Ann quickly whispered something in her ear, which made Louise look at Joel and laugh really hard.

“That’s not going to happen, Ann,” Louise laughed. “Not soon, anyways.”

“What’s not going to happen?” Joel asked, wondering what the girls were talking about this time.

“That’s between me and Louise,” Ann giggled, and walked away. “Well, I’m off to my room. Hope you guys enjoy the trip. Louise, don’t forget what I said.”

When his sis had left them, Joel quickly turned around and faced Louise. “Okay, spill the beans. What’s not going to happen?” he frowned.

“As Ann said, it’s between her and me,” Louise replied, and further ignored Joel’s attempts to make her talk.

The lights turned on, once the sun had fully set, and everyone went down to the Grand Dining hall to have some late night snack. Shaun, Mike and Louise glanced at the many celebrities passing them by, still not fully accustomed to the lifestyle of the rich and the, somewhat, famous. Joel, on the other hand, appeared to perfectly blend in, proved by the fact he even shook hands with some of them.

They found a vacant table and made themselves comfortable. Suddenly a couple came up to their table. The man was Mark Spencer, who published the works of Shaun his mother, but Shaun didn’t know the woman next to him.

“Well, if it isn’t young Holmes,” he said, as he pulled up a chair for his partner. “You don’t mind if we join you?”

“Good evening, Mr. Spencer,” Shaun said, introducing the others.

Once he had finished, Mark introduced his partner. “Well, kids, this is my lovely daughter Angela. Though, it would be better if she introduced herself,” he said, leaving his daughter to tell them more about herself.

“Well, I’m Angela,” she said. Some strands of brown hair were hanging before her deep blue eyes. “But I prefer to be called Angie,” she continued. “I’m 24 years old, and currently work as a part-timer with my dad. I’m studying English Literature at Oxford.”

So they chatted for a while, and ate some delicious stuff. Suddenly all the lights were turned off, and the spots were turned on. The fair haired Ann walked to the center of the stage, her astonishing dress waving graciously behind her until she stood still, and turned to the audience.

“Dear guests,” she said through the microphone. “I’m happy to welcome you all to the 30th annual World Literature Cruise. We have several world renowned writers amongst us, whose credentials are too good to tell through a mere microphone. This state of the art cruise ship will take us from where we are docked now all the way to sunny Los Angeles. During our pleasant trip, we’ll each night pray tribute to the grand prize winners in several categories, starting tomorrow night with ‘Best Romance novel’ and ‘Best War novel’. I hope you all have a pleasing night.” With that said, the spots turned off, and the normal lights turned on.

Ann walked off the stage and joined her little brother Joel and his companions. They had a vivid conversation, after they praised Ann for her wonderful speech. When the great clocked struck midnight, the room was cleared, and everyone went either outside or to their rooms.

Shaun wanted to start his tenth lap, when someone standing besides the pool called his name. It was Louise, and she was wearing a pink shirt with a pair of knee high shorts.

“Shaun,” she yelled, probably thinking he had water in his ears, “Ann wants to introduce us to her friends.”

“I’m not deaf,” Shaun answered, climbing out of the pool and putting on his Conan T-shirt. Shaun was a big fan of the anime series Case Closed, and he made sure he never missed an episode.

“Ah, good,” Ann sighed, seeing Louise bring Shaun along. When they had taken a seat, she continued whispering something to a red haired woman and a brown haired man. Mike and Joel exchanged curious looks with Shaun and Louise, but they were cut short by Ann. “Like I said, I’d like to introduce you to some of my closest friends. This beautiful red haired lady over here is Daniella, the most famous actress on the British screen. Her works include movies like Parliament and The Moore of Venice.”

“Glad to make your acquaintance,” Daniella said, smiling almost divinely at the four teens. Joel was almost drooling, but a quick hiss from Louise stopped him from looking like a fool.

“Besides her, sits her multitalented husband Zack,” Ann carried on with the introduction. “Few of his talents are writing great action novels, directing numerous blockbusters, and his amazing skills with a paintbrush.”

“Whazzup!” Zack said, looking at them from under his baseball cap.

“This is my little brother Joel,” Ann introduced the other occupants of the table. “And these are his friends. The young lady is Louise, the boy on her left is Mike, and the absentminded one…” Ann coughed once, trying to get Shaun’s attention. “As I was saying, the other one is Shaun.”

They questioned each other for a while, until a sudden figure showed up at their table. He looked a bit like someone of Arabian origin, but they couldn’t see him well, because the sun was shining in their eyes. Fortunately, the guy stepped aside, so they could finally get a good look at him. He was indeed of Arabian origin, making him seem like something that had just stepped out of a 1001 Arabian Nights picture book.

Ann seemed to recognize him, because she stood up, and started to introduce him, just like she did with Daniella and Zack. “This is another good friend of mine, Tamer. He’s one of the wealthiest Arabian actor-prince. His family owns one of the cities in the Middle East, though, I don’t remember which one.”

Tamer started to shake everyone’s hand, stopping at Louise and Daniella to give them a hand kiss. Once he reached Zack, they just stared at each other, their hands close to their bodies. Suddenly Zack stood up. “I’ll be off... I just remembered that I had a meeting planned,” and thus he left.

Tamer just turned around and waved Zack off. “He’s always busy, whenever he sees me. One would think he didn’t like my aftershave.”

Everyone couldn’t resist laughing at the subtle joke, and after that they just sat there, Tamer lowered himself onto the chair recently occupied by Zack, and there they sat until lunch time.

Mike, Louise, Joel and Shaun ran into Angie near the bar on the second deck, so they decided to lunch together. After ordering some burgers and fries, they sat down at a table with seaside view. They ate while exchanging funny life stories, until Joel frowned and asked: “Who’s that sitting with Zack?”

Angie turned her head to get a better view. “Oh, you mean them? The guy next to Zack is Alex, his publisher. He’s kinda weird, if you asked me. They say he’s busy with strange stuff.”

“Hmm… Interesting,” Shaun mumbled, as he observed the tall blond haired fellow, who was talking to Zack with wide gestures. He was also fascinated by Zack’s tic with a pen. Most people normally use their thumb to click, but he didn’t. Instead Zack seemed to click the pen on his underarm, before he started to write.

“Who’s the girl?” Louise asked.

“That’s Sarah. She’s Zack’s manager. There have been rumors going around the place that Zack was cheating on his wife. Tabloids say it was Sarah, but I don’t know.”

“Tabloids hardly write anything based on pure facts,” Mike noted, and so they continued with their well-deserved lunch.

“Hi,” said a familiar voice behind the teens and Angie. It was Daniella, who was carrying a small box.

“Hi, Daniella,” Joel said dazed, earning him a punch to the kidneys by Louise.

“I wanted to show you something,” Daniella said, putting the box on the table. “It’s something I got from the props department after my last job.”

With graceful gestures she opened the box, revealing an ordinary ballpoint placed upon a velvet cushion.

“This,” she said, “Is the original poisonous pen from The Secretary.”

“I loved that movie,” Louise said, her eyes sparkling at the sight of the pen.

“Thank you,” Daniella said. “It even works, but I safely lock it away most of the times. The only time it’s not locked, is when I lend it out to museums.”

“Hey, do you have two of those pens?” Mike asked, after his eyes fell on a pen sticking out of Daniella’s purse.

“Yeah, the props people made me several fake look-a-likes. Zack has one too,” she answered. “Though, I’ve got to be going. These kinds of cruises are the best place to do some business.” And off she went, hurrying off to the exit on her sneakers.

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Old 07-25-2006, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Don’t illegally download movies.

Second Act: Suicide.

It was six days later, and about a dozen awards were handed out. So far Zack had won Best Male Writer, Best Action story, and Best Selling novel. Though, he was waiting for the big one. He was also nominated for Best Writer of the Decennium, the most prestigious of all prices. Still, he wouldn’t know until the evening of the award ceremony, which was planned in two days.

Meanwhile, Shaun and his friends weren’t staying put either. They were too busy with swimming, playing around the deck, and celebrity spotting, which eventually stopped being interesting. But during these six days, several interesting events happened to catch their attention.

Shaun was just passing by several rooms to join his friends, when he heard loud voices coming from a room. Being the nosy one, he couldn’t stop himself from eavesdropping. He quickly discovered that Zack was in the room along with someone else, though Shaun never heard his voice before.

“Seriously, I’m done with you,” Zack said at the top of his voice. “I’m going to someone else, Alex.”

“As if you could, stupid,” Alex shouted back. “Not after what we’ve been through. If you leave me, I’ll rat you out.”

“Oh, is that a threat?” Zack sniggered. “If I’m going down, then I’ll at least take you with me.”

“Zack, don’t you know who’re you talking to? I’m the godfather of literature. Nothing goes published without first running through my golden hands. You must know that by now?”

Shaun heard footsteps closing in on him. He had to move or else his goose would’ve been cooked. He looked left and right, but there was nothing except oak wooden doors on both sides of the narrow hallway. Luckily, he saw a janitor’s closet, and without hesitating he jumped in and closed the door, although leaving a small opening, so he wouldn’t get trapped.

After a while the threat of being caught was gone, so he could leave his hiding place, and finally join his friends again.

Louise had an experience similar to Shaun’s. She was walking ‘round the deck, when she saw Sarah and Alex talking. She was kind of curious after hearing what Shaun encountered. So she took her position, and acted like she was just minding her own business, pretending to stare inattentively at the azure blue ocean.

“Confess, you were the one who put Zack up to this!” Alex commanded.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sarah answered. “I haven’t spoken to Zack ever since yesterday.”

“You think what the tabloids said were hard…” Alex threatened. “You just wait what I can tell them.” He walked away, but suddenly turned around, and said: “I’m not an unfair guy. I’ll give you till we reach LA to reconsider your answer.”

Sarah just watched him strut back below deck, and seemed to stare blankly at some seagulls flying above the ship.

Louise quickly searched for the others, to tell them about what that weird Alex had done this time.

But to top everything, Mike and Joel heard and saw things, they better shouldn’t have. They were heading towards the pool, when certain sounds caught their attention. The sounds seemed to be coming from a door to the left, which was let open a bit. Joel placed his mirror so they could look into the room, without being seen. Through the little mirror, they saw Daniella and Tamer snuggle each other, when suddenly Tamer started to kiss Daniella, like they were playing in a Hollywood movie. But before anything spectacular could happen, Mike heard someone coming their way. Joel and Mike quickly retraced their route, and waited till that someone passed them, but that never happened. Suddenly a loud scream rudely awoke them from their pondering. That someone had apparently caught the adulterous couple red-handed! Mike and Joel quickly went back near the room, and heard the voices of Tamer and Daniella along with another.

“Seems like I caught you two love birds in a cage,” the mysterious voice said.

“Alex, what do you want this time?” Daniella asked with loathing clearly resounding in her voice.

“Nice of you to ask, Daniella,” he said. “First, I want you and Tamer over here to get the hell out of this room. Secondly, I want you, Daniella, to make Zack sign those divorce papers. That way I’ll be off your back, along with him, and you can even marry this piece of filthy lowlife if you want.”

Mike and Joel quickly ran for it, almost unable to wait so they could tell the other two about their own piece of snooping.

This all happened within those six days, and made the four teens wary of something suspicious taking place. However, it wasn’t until they saw Sarah looking for Alex, that everything took a rather serious turn for the worst.

Sarah was knocking on cabin 112, but there was no answer coming from inside.

“What are you doing?” Joel asked, looking at the young woman with a curious expression.

“I’m trying to get Alex to come out of his room. Zack wants to see him,” she replied, knocking on the door again.

“He’s obviously not answering,” Mike noted. “Maybe if we look inside, we’d know where he is.”

Sarah tried to turn the knob, and to their surprise the door wasn’t unlocked. Sarah entered the room first, and just when the others wanted to go in, Sarah screamed her head off.

Shaun, Mike, Louise and Joel entered the room, only to find Alex hanging down the ceiling. He had killed himself.

Meanwhile, people were coming toward the screaming, interested to find out what had happened. Suddenly the captain and his first mate appeared in the room, and looked at the body with horror. The broken neck hanged in an odd angle, while the rest of his body swayed around like a revolting scarecrow. The chair, which Alex seemed to have used to hang himself up, was kicked over, and one of the legs was cracked near the top.

“Who found the body?” the captain asked.

“We did, sir,” Mike answered, turning around so he could face the captain.

“Captain, could you clear out the hall, get a photo camera, some latex gloves, a small flashlight, and tell the cook to reserve a place in the fridge?” Shaun asked, without even looking at the captain.

“Who might you be to command me on my own vessel?” the captain asked perturbed.

Mark Spencer and Ann walked into the room just before the captain asked the question. “Excuse me for stepping out of line,” Mark interrupted “But he’s Shaun Holmes, son of Sherman Holmes.”

“Sher-Sherman Holmes!” the captain cried, while he eagerly thought up some kind of apology.

“Holmes!” Sarah gasped of amazement, her eyes as big as eggs.

“No need for an apology,” Shaun said. “Could you just do the things I asked you?”

The captain and first mate hurried off, commanding everyone to clear the hallway, accidentally pushing back Mark and Ann. After a short period of time, the first mate came back with the ordered equipment. Mike took several shots of the body, before they cut the dead Alex loose; Alex fell on the ground with a sinister kind of thud.

“Well, seems like rigor mortis already set in,” Mike pointed out. “However, he’s only stiff above his chest.”

“So he’s been dead for at least an hour and below two to three hours,” Shaun concluded.

“The marks on his neck show no signs of him being attacked. It looks like a legitimate suicide,” Mike said, as he continued his examination.

“Louise, could you find Tamer, Daniella and Zack, and check their alibi’s for the last four hours?” Shaun asked, and he turned to Joel. “You take care of Sarah,” he said. “And try to figure out where she was too,” he added quietly when Joel passed him.

“Now, Mike,” Shaun said, after Sarah had left the room with Joel, “What did you really find out.”

“Seems like you know me too good,” Mike chuckled. “Anyway, look here,” he said, pointing out a miniscule red dot in Alex’ neck. “My guess is what was injected into his body.”

“If he was just put to sleep and then hung, those three hours would actually mean a lot. But if he was killed with the injection, why take the liberty to hang him?” Shaun wondered.

“Maybe the murderer thought that the captain wouldn’t see the mark until it disappeared by the time the ship arrived in LA,” Mike said.

“If I were a criminal I wouldn’t take the risk of being discovered with an injection kit in my purse. So it had to be something tiny, something that wouldn’t raise suspicion,” Shaun was thinking out loud now.

“You’re not thinking about that weird pen Daniella showed us about a week ago?”

“Yes, I was thinking about that, but we don’t know anything for sure until we have her alibi,” Shaun said, just as Joel walked in. “So, what was Sarah’s alibi?”

“She said she was having a business conversation with Zack for the past five hours, though she went out of his sight twice. Both times for just a short while, at least that’s what she claims,” Joel explained. “So, what did you two find out?”

Mike quickly enlightened Joel, while Shaun kept humming and walking ‘round in circles.

“You don’t wanna know what the others had as alibi?” Louise said, walking into the room. “Zack was having a five hours long business talk with Sarah, who left his sight maybe two or three times. Tamer was in his room for the past four hours, as was Daniella. So, one has a perfect alibi, and the other two don’t.”

“Seems like Sarah was telling the truth,” Joel moan.

“You almost seem disappointed, Joel?” Shaun sarcastically said.

“I’m not, but I thought we had her,” he replied, while Mike let Louise in with what they had found out. “It’s just that I wanted a quick case. I want to get myself a nice tan.”

Shaun ignored the selfish Joel, and started to check the items in Alex’ cabin. He saw a leather case, which was opened with several pieces of paper sticking out, standing near a desk. Shaun picked up the papers, and studied them. He whistled when he got to the last page. “Think we found ourselves a motive,” he said, as he turned around to face his friends. “Remember when Alex threatened Daniella to sign the divorce papers? Seems like our man Zack took a rather expensive life insurance policy with his wife as only beneficiary. Though, here it’s says that if his wife was unable to uphold her end of the marriage contract, his sole beneficiary would become,” Shaun paused for a second to look at everyone’s face. “The sole beneficiary would become our corpse over here.”

“How much is that Zack worth?” Joel asked with interested eyes.

“The beneficiary would get nearly a cool billion,” Shaun said.

“So, should we get that Daniella to confess or what?” Mike asked.

“Not yet,” Louise suddenly said, “I’ve got the feeling that we’re overlooking something.”

“I agree with Louise,” Shaun said. “Louise, I want you to interrogate Tamer along with Joel. I’ve got a hunch that he wasn’t in a room alone.”

“Okay,” they said, and left to find the Arabian playboy.

“Mike, get the captain to show us the way to the freezer. This dirt bag is starting to spread a foul smell.”

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Old 07-25-2006, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Don’t illegally download movies.

Third Act: Locked room.

Alex’ body had been put into the freezer, so it would stay conserved until LAPD could take it over. Though, everyone seemed to know about Alex’ supposed suicide that night’s award ceremony still continued.

Tamer confessed he had been with Daniella, after Joel had spilled the beans about them knowing the relationship already. Even though, it wasn’t sufficient proof of their whereabouts, it was enough to clear Tamer’s name for the moment. Daniella, however, didn’t seem to know where the poisonous pen had been during Alex’ time of dead. Shaun asked her if he could see the pen in question, and it appeared it never let its place.

Zack didn’t seem to be disturbed by the sudden death of his publisher. In fact, he and, of course, all the others Alex had threatened, seemed relieved, and actually enjoyed the show for the first time since they came on board.

The next day Sarah seemed to have fully recovered from the discovery of the previous day. She hung around with the teens for a while, until Daniella asked her to go to Zack, so he could sign the divorce papers. Sarah ran off to give them to Zack, leaving her purse with the teens.

“Maybe Daniella’s innocent since she’s still letting Zack sign the divorce papers, even if he’s dead,” Joel said.

“Maybe, Joel,” Shaun said, but I still don’t trust everything. “Hmm… What’s this?” he wondered, seeing a bunch of papers sticking out of Sarah’s purse. Shaun picked them up, when a pen fell out between the papers; it was one of those fake copies of the poisonous pen. Shaun neglected it, and examined the bundle of paper, letting his eyes run across several pages, before he quickly wrote down a name and title. He put the papers back into her purse. “Anyone of you ever heard of a book called ‘Razor Sharp’?” he asked.

“If I remember correctly, it is Zack’s upcoming novel,” Mike answered. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, that bunch of papers is actually a manuscript, but there’s one problem.” Shaun paused. “The writer of that manuscript isn’t Zack, it’s a guy named Dave McShannen.”

“You do know, you’re accusing Zack of plagiarism,” Louise said, as she lifted her eyebrows.

“Even if I am accusing him, what the heck is this doing in Sarah’s purse, unprotected?” Shaun asked. “I think it’s time to go ask Angie some questions. If Sarah returns, just tell her I left for the bathroom.” With that said and done, Shaun stood up and left to talk with Angie.

Shaun bumped into Angie near the pool, where she just finished sunbathing. Angie had developed a rather nice tan during the days they were on the ship.

“Angie, could I ask you something,” Shaun asked.

“Sure,” she said, “But do you mind if we do that inside. I don’t wanna get a burn.”

They ordered some drinks at the bar near the pool, and sat down in the covered entrance.

“Angie, do you know a guy named Dave McShannen?” Shaun asked, taking a sip from his Pepsi Light.

“Dave, eh?” Angie thought up loud. “Oh, I remember again. Dave was an upcoming writer of action stories, just like Zack. He had written several short stories, which received outstanding ratings,” she explained.

“But do you know where he is now?” Shaun asked, feeling that he was on to something.

“Permanently residing somewhere in Scotland, buried six feet under. Poor guy.”

“How did he die?”

“Police investigation concluded it was just suicide. I say it was murder,” Angie answered.

“What happened?” Shaun inquired; his attention now fully directed on Angie’s every word.

“Well, he wanted to take the big step and start writing serious novels, though every time he sent one of his stories to a publisher, he never seemed to get an answer back,” Angie explained. “But when he went to get some answers, everyone directed him to Alex, that gangster. Dave went to see Alex, but Alex said he didn’t know what happened to his manuscripts.” She paused for a minute to take another sip of her drink. “However, when he read Zack next book, it seems that he got so upset that he went to the media and claimed that Zack had stolen his work. When he brought the case to court, Zack’s expensive lawyers made it look like Dave had been stealing pieces from Zack’s books, and that was the end of Dave’s career. Poor chap hung himself a week after that.”

They quietly drank their drinks for a moment, when suddenly, Angie broke the silence. “I have a picture of him, if you want to see it?” she said.

Of course Shaun wanted to see it, and Angie went to get the picture. After seeing it, Shaun stood up to return to his friends, after thanking Angie for her time.

Meanwhile Sarah returned with to the table, seeming a bit restless. She just said it was because Zack had scorned her for being Daniella’s messenger, and they left her to be. Shaun returned from the ‘bathroom’ mere seconds, before Daniella came running into them. Her face looked pale, and her face showed signs that she had just cried recently.

Daniella looked like she wanted to say something, but her shaky knees failed to support her. Joel caught her on time, and put her down on a chair. Joel talked to Daniella, until she finally calmed down and started to explain. Shaun couldn’t see her fake pen anywhere, so he just looked at her.

“Zack… He… Room… Closed,” Daniella mumbled, being still in shock.

“Calm down, Daniella,” Joel shushed. “Just start from the top.”

“I-I wanted to s-see if Zack had signed the divorce papers, b-but he wouldn’t o-open t-the door,” she stuttered. “S-so I opened t-the door, a-and there h-he...”

“What did you see?” Joel kindly asked.

“Zack’s dead!” Danielle cried out loud, tears running down her cheeks like water of the Niagara Falls.

Shaun quickly jumped up and ran to see Zack, with Mike, Louise and Sarah merely meters behind him. When they got to cabin 79, Zack’s onboard office, they saw Zack’s body resting on the table, with the divorce papers and a pen next to him. Suddenly Sarah jumped into the room to try to wake Zack up, but with no result. When Shaun saw what Sarah was doing, his eyes showed a rather weird expression, though it was Louise who responded first.

“Don’t touch him,” she yelled, dragging Sarah back outside.

“Louise, go get the camera and latex gloves,” Mike said, but before he could continue, he saw Shaun walking up to Zach and checking his pulse.

“He’s still alive, though I barely feel a pulse,” he said.

“Okay, I’ll get the ship’s doctor,” Louise said, and ran to the physician’s office.

“Hmm, what’s this?” Shaun said, looking at Zach’s underarm, where a small puncture mark resembling the one on Alex was visible.

Mike quickly closed the door, leaving Sarah outside to wait. “What is it?” Mike then asked.

“Looks like the mysterious pen struck again,” Shaun said, still staring at the red spot on Zack’s arm. “My best guess is that it’s a muscle relaxant or something tranquilizing.”

“So Alex did die in two phases,” Mike noted.

“Looks like it,” Shaun said, opening the door again. “My money’s on Daniella,” he said rather loud, so that everyone could hear it.

Sarah wanted to say something, but she promptly stopped, when the doctor arrived. He took out his equipment, and examined Zack for a while.

“He’s okay for the moment,” the gray haired man said, standing up. “He’s sedated, and his heart frequency and respiration are barely noticeable. I need to take him upstairs, so I can monitor him.” The physician turned to Mike: “If you would be so kind to help me carry him?”

“Sure,” Mike agreed, hoisted Zack on his back, and left the cabin with the doctor leading the way.

“Should I gather the alibi’s again,” Louise asked Shaun.

“No need for that. Just watch her,” he whispered, looking at Sarah. “I think I’ll do some snooping around myself.”

Shaun exited the room and went to visit the captain to ask for a general key to the cabins. The mustached skipper handed over a credit card shaped key, which was used as a replacement for normal keys. Shaun quickly went to check out Danielle’s room for clues, hoping she wasn’t in there when was searching. He opened the door without any problems, and entered the grand cabin.

There were a bunch of notes scattered on the table, dirty socks and trainers thrown all over the room, and several haute couture dresses lay upon the neatly made bed. Shaun looked around the room to see if there was something out of place. But when he couldn’t find anything different, he walked to the vault and tried to remember what the combination was. 16 left, 13 right, 24 right, 4 left. The vault clicked, and slowly opened, revealing the poisonous pen. Shaun carefully took out the box, put it on the table, slowly lifted up the top, and took out the pen. He looked at it from every position, but he couldn’t tell if it was a different one.

“Let’s see if this thing actually works,” he said, turning the pen upside-down, and clicking it on the table. When he lifted the ballpoint, there was no sign of a needle ever coming out of pen. “Those prop people sure can make excellent forgeries,” he sighed, quickly putting everything back as they were, and locking the door after he went outside.

Shaun sneaked into Sarah’s room, just like he did before with Daniella’s. Sarah’s room was oddly spotless, which gave Shaun the creeps. He wasn’t used to organized rooms, so he carefully examined the closet and the dresser. The closet was filled with expensive clothing, though the dresser had some interesting stuff inside them. The lower one contained several bottles of liquids, while the one above that contained several pictures of a guy Shaun had seen before. As far as Shaun was concerned, this case was closed, so he left the room, after taking several things with him, and locked the door.

He asked Mike to call everyone, including Ann, Angie and Mark to the dining room.

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Old 07-25-2006, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Don’t illegally download movies.

Fourth Act: Finale.

Shaun looked at everyone gathered in the dining room as he stood on the stage behind a large table covered with several objects. Shaun asked the captain to specially close down the dining room for public, so that they wouldn’t be interrupted.

“Good to see you all still alive,” he cynically said, looking at Daniella, Tamer and Sarah. “I’ve gathered you all here to unmask to you the culprit, who killed Alex and failed miserably trying to do the same to Zack.”

Tamer wanted to say something, but he was quickly interrupted.

“I’m talking here,” Shaun said. “These three people here,” he looked at Angie, Mark and Ann, “They’re here to witness me unveil of the culprit, and to help me out proving something.”

Shaun strolled around the table, until he was between the table and the audience.

“First, let’s talk about the victim, Alex. As far as we’re concerned, he’s the embodiment of pure evil, as he manipulated everyone here and our friend in sickbay. He even caused the dead of another man,” Shaun explained. “We, my friends and I, even heard how he threatened you, either with publication of some truth based gossip, or with other means.”

“I heard,” Louise said, “How Alex threatened Sarah that he would tell the tabloids stories that were even worse than one already published, if she didn’t make Zack change his mind.”

“Mike and I”, Joel continued, “Heard how Alex caught Tamer and Daniella making out, and how he threatened her to make Zack sign the divorce papers.”

“And I heard how Alex threatened to rat out their big secret, if Zack took another publisher,” Shaun added. “These threats were part of a bigger plan. A plan intending to make Alex receive over a billion dollars.” Shaun turned around and picked up two pieces of paper, and showed them to the audience.

Mike, who was in the back of the room controlling the projector, projected two slides, identical to the two pieces of paper in Shaun’s hands, on the screen behind Shaun.

“The document in my right hand is an insurance policy,” Shaun explained. “This policy says,” Shaun said, holding the document in front of him so he could read it out loud. “In the unfortunate event of the passing on of the signer, his wife shall receive the full amount of nine hundred million dollars tax free. But in the event of the wife being unable to uphold any part of the marriage contract, the legal representative of the signer, currently his publisher, will become the sole beneficiary of the full amount of nine hundred million dollars tax free. I’ll spare you the legal stuff coming after this.”

“I-I never knew Z-Zack had closed a life insurance policy,” Daniella stuttered.

“Actually, he never did,” Shaun said. “If you’d be so generous to take a look at the second document, which I hold in my left hand, you’ll see that this is a document recently signed by Zack. Please compare this signature with that on the insurance policy.”

“They’re completely different,” Tamer shouted.

“Exactly,” Shaun laughed. “Our good friend Alex forged Zack’s signature a month ago in order to collect the money once Zack had an unfortunate accident.”

“But he never could get the money, if I stayed with Zack,” Danielle said, amazed by the events portrayed in front of her eyes.

“That’s why he spread the rumor that Zack was having an affair with Sarah,” Shaun detailed. “He knew you’d be jealous, and that’s were our good friend Tamer comes on to the stage.”

Everyone looked at Tamer, who just seemed to blink continuously.

“Alex set him up to meet Daniella, knowing he would seduce her into having an affair with him, even if it was just plain old payback,” Shaun continued. “The only thing Alex had to do, was to jump in at the right moment, and convince, actually threaten, Daniella into making Zack sign the divorce papers. Probably once they were signed, he would have made sure Zack got into a kind of accident, though this is pure speculation.”

“Then we should be thanking whoever rid us from that monster,” Daniella responded.

“Maybe, or maybe not,” Shaun said, turning around to put down the documents. “Now, since we had talked about the victim, let’s now talk about how he died. Mike, I leave this part up to you.”

“Alex was found hanging down the ceiling,” Mike said from the back of the room, as he projected slides of the photos he had taken in Alex’ room. “He had broken his neck, though we don’t know the exact cause of death for sure. We also found a small puncture mark on his neck, suggesting that he was killed first and then hung. Considering the open door, we believe that it was possible for somebody else to have killed Alex.”

“We believe the puncture hole was made by the poisonous pen, currently owned by Daniella,” Shaun said, taking over from Mike. “Problem is she was with Tamer the whole time, and door records show that they didn’t leave the room once. However, the same records reveal that Alex had left his room more than once, during the time he was supposed to be death.”

“Now onto crime scene number two,” Shaun continued. “Door records tell us the same thing Daniella said. She said she knocked on Zack’s door, and then opened it to see what kept him. When she saw what had happened to Zack, she immediately ran toward us. I know what you all are wondering? Danielle’s the murderer, right? Wrong, because the door records show us that no one entered the room after Sarah went in to bring the divorce papers, while Danielle and Tamer didn’t leave their own rooms before that happened. So, again, their alibi’s perfect. Same is that of Sarah.”

“But who did that to Zack?” Tamer asked Shaun.

“He did it himself,” Shaun replied, giving Mike the sign to show the next slide. “We found a similar puncture mark on his underarm, and we all know that he was ready to sign the divorce papers. Fate wants it that Zack has the awful habit of clicking his pen on his underarm. So we safely concluded that the murder weapon was Daniella’s poisonous pen, however, when we got there the pen near Zack was a fake, as was the one in Daniella’s room.”

“But who has my pen then?” Daniella wondered.

“The criminal switched the real one with the fake one, without most of us noticing,” Shaun said.

“How do you know that, if no one saw it,” Tamer doubted.

“Because I saw her do it,” Shaun replied. “Isn’t that right, Sarah?”

Everyone turned their heads to look at Sarah, who was now being accused of a murder and an attempted one.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she quickly said, trying to avoid the suspicious eyes glaring down at her.

“I bet we’ll find your fingerprints either on the pen, or on Alex’s room key, or on the box where Daniella keeps the pen in.”

“But that’s hardly evidence,” Sarah shouted. “I’ll sue you for slander.”

“That’d be hard, since I’m about to prove your motive, and shatter your alibi,” Shaun laughed.

“I like to see you try,” Sarah yelled.

“Anyone heard of the young writer Dave McShannen?” Shaun asked. “I didn’t know him until today. He was a young aspiring writer, who hung himself after losing a court case against Zack and Alex. He accused them of plagiarism, after reading his own story, but published under Zack’s name. The funny thing is that I found Zack’s upcoming story as a manuscript in Sarah’s purse today. Only problem was it had Dave’s name on it. Couple of days ago, Alex was threatening Zack that he would rat him out. Connect these two events together, and you get enough scandal to make your average journalist die of joy.”

“You mean that Zack ruined the career of that Dave,” Danielle mentioned.

“You’re not a rather bright light, but you seem to get the picture,” Shaun sarcastically said. “Though this Dave had a girl friend, who must have been completely devastated by his suicide. Though if Sarah was working with Zack, while carrying a manuscript of Dave, you would think she was in on the hoax?” Shaun stopped for a second. “Unfortunately for her I found this in her drawer,” Shaun said, holding up a photo of a young man. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is our good friend Dave McShannen, Sarah’s deceased boyfriend, whom she sought revenge for.”

Shaun looked at Sarah with an expression of utter contempt.

“Seems I found your motive, now for you’re alibi,” Shaun said. “During the murder you entered Alex’s room twice. Once to poison him with the curare I found in your room, and the second time to hang him. You couldn’t fit all this in one, since you had to be back with Zack to keep your alibi believable. So, in order to prevent from anyone finding the poisoned Alex, you picked up his key, and closed the door. Your fingerprints on the card will prove this.”

“That’s no proof,” Sarah yelled completely angered by Shaun’s attitude.

“You went to give Zack the divorce papers,” Shaun continued, ignoring the frantic Sarah. “Knowing that he would click the pen on his underarm. So you left the pen with him, believing you could switch the pen, when you went back with Daniella, who had the other key. However Daniella decided to not take you along, reducing your chances of remaining undiscovered. So you decided to make a bold move; a move which meant your downfall.”

“But why didn’t Zack die?” Tamer wondered.

“It’s because he was too damn lucky,” Mike explained. “He didn’t get enough of the poison in his bloodstream to kill him, but he had more than enough to knock him out and make his muscles like jelly.”

Shaun walked down from the stage, after taking an object off the table. He stood still in front of Sarah, and said: “This is the real poisonous pen. I took the liberty to take it out off your room, while you were busy coming here.”

“What are you going to do with it?” Sarah asked a bit panicky, as she looked into Shaun’s eyes.

“Well, I submerged the needle into a large amount of a slow poison,” he said. Suddenly he clicked the pen on Sarah’s naked underarm, thrusting the needle into her bloodstream, and leaving a red mark on her arm.

“What have you done to me?” she yelled, dropping to the ground.

“The same thing you did to Zack and Alex: I poisoned you,” Shaun laughed, while the others looked at him, as if he was mad. “Don’t worry,” he continued, “I’ve got the antidote right here. According to my calculation, you have one minute before the poison becomes active. Maybe less if you lie, because your heart will just pump the poison quicker through your body. Did you or did you not kill Alex?”

Sarah looked at her arm and then at Shaun. “Yes, yes, I killed that bastard,” she screamed. “He deserved it for making my sweet Dave hang himself. I hope that bastard rots in hell for all eternity. Now give me the damned antidote.”

“There is no antidote,” Shaun laughed, “Neither was there a poison. The needle was clean.” Shaun turned toward the door of the dining room. “Let them in, Mike.”

Mike opened the doors of the room, letting several police officers in along with several federal agents.

“Seems like another case solved, Holmes,” said one of the agents. “Your father would be proud.”

“We’re just doing what we can,” Shaun replied, his mood completely different. “Now, if you would excuse me, we need to see a certain patient,” he said, walking out the door, leaving the cops to arrest Sarah and read her rights.

The End

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Old 07-25-2006, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Don’t illegally download movies.

Fifth Act: Battle!

I closed Windows Media Player, as the screen credits rolled across my screen. Man, what a movie! The others were right; Visual Technologies sure is great. I opened up the nfo file again. Notepad filled the screen with an impressive ASCII art display.

“Please sponsor the original makers (VT), and buy this release.”

Okay, I know I shouldn’t be downloading movies, but when I decided to do it, I didn’t know what to expect. Besides I didn’t feel like wasting five bucks on a crappy movie.

I stood up, and walked away from my computer desk. That sure was a long sit; my legs were really sore. While I stretched them, I began dressing for my evening jogging session.

Grabbing my blue jump suit, I turned around to turn of my pc. I pressed alt+F4, but nothing happened. Hmm… Maybe my desktop wasn’t the active window. I tried clicking it, before pressing alt+F4 again. No log off screen? This was getting weirder by the minute. I moved the pointer toward my start menu and clicked. I clicked on the off icon, but, for the third time in 2 minutes, this blasted thing wouldn’t shut itself off.

Oh well, hard resetting always works. I pressed the on button and held it for awhile. Usually it took five seconds for it to shut down, but even after a half a minute, my computer was still on.

What the bloody hell is going on! I had no choice but to yank the electricity cable out. However, just before I could pull it out, I was blinded by a strangely bright light beaming out of my flat screen. Keeping my eyes open as best as I could, I tried to find out what was causing these alien events.

Slowly the intensity of the light decreased, making it a hell lot easier to keep my eyes open. Through the fainting light, I could see a rough outline of something. It seemed to float toward my window. Expecting an explosion of breaking glass, I stepped back as far as I could. Though, when the expected glass fragments didn’t come, I became curious.

Finally outside, I could see something with the same outline floating in front of me. I had seen this creature once before in a picture book when I was little. It was called a Porygon, if I recall correctly. They were deemed to be either extinct or very rare in the wild. The only Porygon in the world were in captivity, but they were hard to set free again.

Grabbing this golden opportunity, I grabbed a specific Pokeball of my belt, and threw it in front of me. “Go Sizzle!”

A small Charmander appeared out of the Pokeball, scratching his nails into sharp points. Meanwhile, Porygon seemed to think Charmander was interesting, as he hovered around him, trying to view him from every side.

“Sizzle, Metal Claw!” I yelled.

Almost immediately, Sizzle’s paw and nails began to glow and harden, as he brought his arm back into striking position. He reached his opponent within a few steps, and unleashed his attack upon him. Anticipating a counter-attack, Sizzle jumped back.

Porygon was glowing strangely in front of me. It seemed like his entire body was giving off a metallic glow, as if he just galvanized himself in front of my eyes. Nah, that’s impossible, isn’t it?

“Slash him,” I said to Sizzle, who was still waiting for a counter-attack.

Charmander licked his paws, oiling his razor sharp nails to cut through Porygon even better, before charging toward his foe. I could see that Charmander was having trouble cutting through Porygon. Dammit! What had happened? Metal Claw got through as easy as hell.

“Sizzle, be careful,” I yelled, sensing that something bad was going to happen.

Sizzle reacted a mere split second too late. Porygon was charging up an electrical attack, and before Charmander had time to run, he was hit head on by Porygon’s Zap Cannon. Static sparks flew across his body, as he collapsed onto the ground, paralyzed to the extreme.

“Sizzle, come back!” Dammit, this was going to take careful planning. “Tage!”

Ampharos popped out of her Pokeball, sparks jumping off the end of her tail. She was ready to smack someone, even though I planned to use her for a short period.

“Thunder Wave!”

Ampharos charged the ball up – which is located at the tip of her tail – and smacked it against Porygon as she turned around 360 degrees. Just like with Sizzle, the sparks flew across Porygon’s entire body. He was paralyzed, and that was a good thing. I smiled when I noticed he couldn’t attack. Good, because that gave me time to regroup.

“Tage, return! Go, Brie!” I yelled, juggling around with different Pokeballs.

My trusty Miltank appeared in front of me, booing loudly.

“Brie, Rollout!” I ordered, and I watched how Miltank curled herself up. The big cow rolled towards the paralyzed Porygon, and attacked the clipped creature. Porygon had a hard time moving, but, suddenly, after the fourth Rollout, it began to glow again. Bingo!

Miltank missed him that time. She uncurled herself, so she could stand straight up. This was the time to deliver the final blow.

“Brie, use Earthquake on that runt!” I yelled enthusiastically.

Miltank jumped up and down in a certain rhythm, which made the ground tremble along. Within seconds the earth began to crack, resulting in pieces of clay and grass flying into the air. Porygon, who now was a rock type, couldn’t handle the shaking ground. Seconds after the earth had stopped shaking, I could see Porygon fall to the ground; his eyes closed and his mind elsewhere.

“Good job, Brie!” Now it was time to catch him. I grabbed an empty Pokeball and threw it toward the helpless digital creature. The ball absorbed Porygon, and began to wiggle, after it had dropped to the ground….

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Old 07-25-2006, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Don’t illegally download movies.

Story: Loved it. I liked how you incorprated electronics with the whole ordeal. Kept me reading!

Description: You had great description and detail throughout your story, I could picture the things going on easily.

Grammar/Spelling: Couldn't find any.

Reality: It could happen.

Lenght: Long enough for a Porygon.

Battle: I loved the battle. You made Porygon seem strong which I like, having a long battle is always a plus.

Overal: Porygon caught!
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