Director Levitt looked down at the files in shock. Steven Foster, Patrick Williams, and Katherine… Foster now I guess. They’re alive and coming back to the states. How? There had been many suspicious disappearances and deaths in the days following the destruction of Sunlight City, but the death of their class had stood out to him as particularly shady. Shelley Rhinefield, the sister of the most powerfully destructive empowered person in history, just happens to die tragically in a bus accident with all her classmates on foreign soil less than a day after the incident?
He hadn’t ruled out the possibility they’d been kidnapped, but was having a hard time guessing a motive. All of the students had passed screenings showing them as powerless going into the country, so they couldn’t be useful themselves. Mr. Foster had significant assets, but the majority of them weren’t liquid. Shelley’s family was far wealthier, but had died the day before, leaving no clear party that a ransom demand could be made of. None of the other students were financially well off.
Sunlight city had one of the smallest Redarctican populations per capita of any major metropolitan area, so revenge as a motive didn’t make much sense as a governmental motivation. It might have made sense as an individual’s motivation but the Redarctican government had been quite adamant that their investigation showed an explosive bus crash with no survivors and few bodies that were not burned to ash. They sent evidence from remains that did survive that the driver was likely drunk, a story that was moderately believable given the high rates of alcoholism in Redarctica.
So if the students had been killed for some individual’s sense of revenge, the individual had a lot of clout with the government. Director Levitt couldn’t find any clear links between those who died in Sunlight city and any government officials who would have the kind of clout needed to pull off that kind of cover-up. He even had his analysts go a step further and look for connections to anyone wealthy enough to buy off the necessary officials. Nothing, no close family, no clear friends. What little Redarctican population that Sunlight city had was mostly made up of poor, politically disenfranchised immigrants looking to start fresh.
With no clear reasons for someone to kill them and no apparent justification for keeping them alive, Director Levitt had finally been forced to accept the Redarctican’s official statement of the story. But now they’re changing the narrative. What does it mean?
Suddenly there were survivors of the horrible accident. Thrown clear of the crash, rescued by a good Samaritan passing by, treated in a small hospital of a nearby town by doctors too afraid of their own government to call in that they were treating foreign citizens until they were well enough to leave. Director Levitt wasn’t sure if that last detail made the story more or less plausible, but it all seemed rather convenient. Once the students were well enough, they reached out to authorities to try and leave the country and, realizing their mistake, the authorities naturally moved heaven and earth to make sure the students could get back home as promptly as possible.
Like Redarctican governmental employees move heaven and earth to cut through bureaucracy for anyone. What was the rush? Why did they want to get the students out of their country so fast, so badly? He shook his head, trying to put the pieces together. He wouldn’t solve it tonight, of that he was sure, but he would send warning to General Hargrave that the students should be put under surveillance, at least for a while. In these times, it would be better to be cautious than regret it later.