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15: Sisterhood of The Traveling Guns

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"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars." 

~ Carl Sagan


The doctor bent over the microscope, adjusting the eyepiece with the tips of her gloved fingers. The pounding in her head had worsened and the magnified light did not help one bit. The cuts on her hands cracked with each movement of the tweezers and she groaned, irritation spiking.

The previous forensic scientist who worked on the case had cataloged the striations crudely. Part of her doubted that the person who had 'Frankenstein-ed' the ammunition pieces together even had a scientific degree.

Mentally berating the lack of forensic professionalism, she cracked the bones in her neck, rolling her head side to side.

Nothing was making sense.

The report stated that the bullet matched a 357 Magnum but she was seeing no evidence of that. She had had to piece the bullet fragments together like a miniature steel puzzle that refused to be solved.

Eventually, the battered segments had some semblance to the bullet and she dabbed the moisture on her forehead.

Craning forward, V.C. examined the crumbling of the metal.

Firing pins on every gun make a unique pattern on every bullet fired. Never were there two guns that made the same pattern. The rifling on the barrel of each gun also left spiraling grooves on each fired bullet.

And looking at the bullets from Silvia's house and the one recovered from Mateo's body, she could have sworn they were identical. Besides the fact one had ripped through a body and the other two torn into some drywall, she wouldn't be able to tell them apart.

And that was a problem.

A big problem.

Furthermore, her Mass Spectrometer had told her, the bullets were made of a lead alloy and a gliding alloy composed of copper and zinc. The inner core carried a 1.8% tungsten center to be heat resistant.

V.C. furrowed her brow for what seemed the hundredth time that day. She wracked her brain on her knowledge of weapon manufacturing.

The first thing professors teach in forensics is that when evidence looks identical, it's never a coincidence.

Each box of bullets was manufactured differently. No matter if the creation process was exactly the same, there was always differing amounts of metal components in each bullet.

It meant that not only had the first bullet been incorrectly reconstructed, but also incorrectly identified to match a 357 Magnum.

Dr. Coldwater would stake all of her Ph.D.'s and her Maserati that what she found was right.

V.C. was just about to finish cataloging her findings when a tap on her shoulder caused her to jump. Yanking her earbuds out roughly, the last stanzas of 'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen flowed out into the open room.

She rotated to find a nervous Thomas hovering at her shoulder. While he was taller than her sitting, he seemed to sink into the floor at her questioning gaze.

"TheThermalCyclerBuzzedAndYouDidn'tHearItAndMr.PagerToldMeNotTo BotherYouButIKnowIt'sTimeSensitiveSo. . ." He talked so fast V.C. didn't even know if he knew what he said.

He. Is. Adorable.

She smiled and nodded her thanks to the boy.

Rising swiftly from her chair, she walked over to the cycler resting on a nearby table. V.C. flipped open the lid and retrieved the small test tube. Inside was a DNA sample from the blood Jack had taken from the Emblem House.

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