The original Tex Murphy Radio Theater continued the story following the notorious cliffhanger at the end of Overseer. But important—and previously untold—events occurred leading up to that fateful night outside the Golden Pagoda.
In the second edition of Tex Murphy Radio Theater, we go back to June, 2043, several weeks after Tex wrapped up the Pandora Directive case…and then got dumped by Chelsee for a Cary Grant hologram. Over the six new episodes, you’ll hear what happened in the days before Tex and Chelsee’s dinner date, including a new case that showed up at Tex’s door, leading him (and Chelsee) on a hunt for a rare Enigma Machine document that may be a map to lost Romanov treasure and a secret that’s been buried for 150 years…
Throw in a few laughs, a little romance, a creepy return trip to Roswell and a trail of clues connecting events from Tex’s past and future for an exciting new chapter in the Tex Murphy saga that sets the stage for what’s to come!
Click on one of the buttons below to jump to that episode’s transcript.
Episode ONE – The Pandora Detective
TEX (VO): I crush out my cigarette and watch the smoke drift up to the wobbly, creaky fan on the ceiling of my office. Even at 3 a.m. the heat and humidity hasn’t let up and the blades are just stirring the thick air around.
It’s been over a month since my last case. A simple missing person job that turned into a hunt for a scientist on the NSA’s Most Wanted List, a bunch of Chinese puzzle boxes and a UFO. It almost got me killed…more than once. All the danger and excitement I could eat, plus I got paid. I’ve got a small job coming up—a stakeout…outside a steakhouse, ironically enough—but nothing else on the docket, other than playing solitaire Parcheesi, alphabetizing my album collection and trying not to drink. A little danger is starting to sound pretty good.
[sounds of feet sliding off desk, chair creaking, stretching, footsteps]
I wander across the room to the large windows that overlook Chandler Avenue. They’re propped open and drawing in a whisper of a breeze. The fresh air feels good and smells even better, with the delightful aromas of Louie LaMintz’s home cooking wafting up the street from the Brew & Stew. I haven’t eaten all day and my stomach growls at me. I check my watch and decide I can tough it out for a couple more hours.
Down on the street, Chelsee’s newsstand is locked up for the night. Not that she’d want to talk to me anyway. She recently decided to date a hologram rather than go out with me. Talk about a virtual kick to the cojones. In the weeks since, our few conversations have consisted of ‘Hi’, ‘Bye’, ‘Any idea when the new True Detective will get here?’ and ‘Now you have to pay for that’.
I lean into the window frame and look out across the rooftops, toward the new city. The night sky is illuminated by a gigantic, glowing orb. But it isn’t the moon. It’s a massive hologram of a golden Faberge Egg, projected above the Moscone Center and slowly rotating. It’s a grail-shaped beacon, attracting visitors to the ‘Treasure of the Czars’, an exhibit of rare items that once belonged to the Imperial House of Russia. The Egg was unveiled with great fanfare a few nights back and will be on display, along with the exhibit, for the next month or so. Like pretty much everyone else, Faberge Eggs have always intrigued me. Unfortunately, admission to the exhibit isn’t free and I can’t be sure when I’ll get paid again, so I have to keep my priorities straight: cigarettes, food and rent…in that order. Speaking of which…
I’m turning away from the window to round up my pack of Llamas when I hear a knock at the door. I turn off the music, then grab a can of Fabreze and take a quick lap around the room, spraying the perimeter. With visions of a sugar plum client dancing in my head, I take a last, quick look around the office to make sure everything is more or less in order, then cross to the door and open it.
When I see who it is, I experience a strange sensation—half thrilled, half disappointed. Like matter and antimatter coming together, instantly annihilating my hopes of a paying job, but creating a tiny wormhole of romantic possibilities. The woman extends her hand.
CHELSEE: You must be Tex Murphy. I’m Chelsee Bando…and I’d like to hire you.
TEX (VO): Chelsee has never been in my office, outside of my imagination. I shake her hand, awkwardly, then invite her in. She takes a seat in one of the two guest chairs across the desk from me.
CHELSEE: So…how much do you charge?
TEX: For you? It’s negotiable.
CHELSEE: This isn’t for me. It’s for a friend.
TEX (VO): I sit back and study her lovely face. Light, sparkling eyes that can be blue, grey or green—depending on her mood—nice bones and a fair, flawless complexion, framed by shoulder-length blonde hair. She’s been toying with my emotions since the day we met and now she’s pretending to be an unacquainted prospective client, not someone I’ve been intimate enough with to let pry open my ribs and punch me in the aorta. Whatever this new game is, I’m pretty sure I’ll lose. But, apparently, it’s my turn to play.
TEX: So, you’re a liaison. Who’s the friend?
CHELSEE: If you don’t mind, I’ll let her introduce herself.
TEX (VO): I shrug. Chelsee pulls a phone out of her purse and sends a quick text. After a few seconds, her phone chirps. She reads her friend’s reply.
CHELSEE: Do you mind if she checks out your office?
TEX (VO): This is all very mysterious…and confusing. Typical of most of my dealings with Chelsee. She reaches back into her purse, pulls out something resembling a small, black insect, then leans forward and sets the thing on the floor. Curious, I stand up and peer over my desk for a better look. I’m not sure if this is my client, but I’ve been hired by cockroaches and parasites in the past, so I can’t rule it out.
The insect starts buzzing, then elevates straight up until it’s at eye level. A drone, I realize. The smallest one I’ve ever seen. It rotates, then flies toward one of the walls and begins a slow circuit of the room. A minute later, the drone returns to the edge of my desk and lands. A figure suddenly materializes in the guest chair next to Chelsee, as if Scotty just beamed her down from the Enterprise.
It’s a woman and she’s a knockout. Not unlike Rita Hayworth in her prime, with wavy auburn hair and a pleasant, open face. High cheekbones, heavy-lidded eyes with long, dark lashes, pale skin, and wearing bright red lipstick. I’ve seen a few holograms before, but never anything like this. It’s being projected from the drone, but the woman looks uncannily real…almost tangible, even this close. The woman fixes her eyes in my general direction and smiles.
ANGELA: It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Murphy. My name is Angela Perry. I appreciate you indulging me. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here in person.
TEX: Nice to meet you, too, Ms. Perry. [beat] So how do you and Chelsee know each other? Or would you rather fast-forward through the small talk and get right down to business?
TEX (VO): Ms. Perry glances over at Chelsee and smiles.
ANGELA: You’re right, I do like him.
TEX (VO): Apparently, I’ve been the subject of girl talk. At least it seems like Chelsee’s given me a fairly positive review. Somewhat surprising, given our recent history. Ms. Perry turns back to me.
ANGELA: I teach at Stanford and Chelsee took one of my courses. It turns out we have some shared interests and that’s how we became friends.
TEX: So what is it I can do for you, Ms. Perry? Or should I say Professor Perry?
ANGELA: How about just Angela? [beat] I need to locate someone. Two someones, actually. Chelsee tells me that’s right up your alley.
TEX (VO): I open my notebook—the kind made of paper that you write on with a pen.
ANGELA: Igor and Irina Morozov.
TEX (VO): Professor Perry is nice enough to provide the spellings without making me ask, then goes on to describe the situation.
ANGELA: In addition to my position at Stanford, I work with the Museum of Cryptology in Santa Cruz. Earlier this year, I was contacted there by the Morozovs, a brother and sister from Chelyabinsk, Russia.
TEX (VO): I nod and pretend to write the name of the city.
ANGELA: They recently inherited some possessions belonging to their grandfather. Among them was a collection of old, typewritten documents containing rows and columns of seemingly random letters.
TEX (VO): Perry turns in her seat and reaches for something. When she turns back, a large photograph has magically appeared in her hands, like she’s pulled it out of thin air. The photo shows what looks like an old-fashioned typewriter in a wooden box.
ANGELA: Are you familiar with this device?
TEX: A typewriter?
ANGELA: It’s an Enigma machine.
TEX: My thoughts exactly. It’s a total mystery to me how anyone can type without looking at the keys.
TEX: But we can discuss my poor typing skills later. Angela, you were saying—?
ANGELA: You two are adorable. [beat] Anyway, the Enigma was an electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine invented by the Germans in the early twentieth century. The Nazis used it to encipher and decipher coded messages during World War II. After doing some research, the Morozovs correctly determined that the documents they’d inherited were coded Enigma machine messages.
ANGELA: Actually, Enigma papers aren’t that interesting in and of themselves. There are thousands still in circulation, some more interesting than others, depending on their deciphered contents, or who sent or received them.
TEX: And the Morozov’s Enigma papers are in the interesting category.
ANGELA: They are. Primarily because of their provenance.
ANGELA: Where they were found originally. [beat] These were taken from Adolf Hitler’s private bunker. The Morozov’s great-great-grandfather was one of the Russian soldiers who first entered the bunker on May 2nd, 1945. He took the papers from Hitler’s personal Enigma Machine as war trophies.
TEX: [long beat] So, is it the Morozovs you want me to track down, or those papers?
ANGELA: Both. The papers are very important to me but, of course, I’m concerned for the safety of Igor and Irina.
TEX: Their safety? You think they might be in danger?
ANGELA: I have no reason to think they are, but…there are certain collectors out there with a taste for the occult.
TEX: Oh, I know.
ANGELA: Nazi memorabilia, in particular. And they can be…zealous…in their pursuit of items like this. I told the Morozovs that they might sell the papers for much more to one of these fanatics but, fortunately, they seemed more comfortable selling them to me. We reached an agreement and they were coming here to deliver them in person. But it’s been two days since they arrived and I haven’t heard from them.
TEX: Do you have any other information to get me started? Where they might be staying? Photos would be helpful.
ANGELA: I’m sorry, I don’t. I can describe what they look like from our video calls, but that’s about it. [beat] I’m not making this easy on you, am I?
TEX: No, but that’s why people hire me.
TEX (VO): Professor Perry takes my cue and asks what my fee is. It’s six hundred dollars a day, plus expenses and she agrees to it as if money isn’t an issue. My clients always have issues and I’m fine with that, as long as paying me isn’t one of them. My new client gives me a description of the siblings, then bids us adieu and immediately vanishes. Chelsee collects the drone and slips it back in her purse.
CHELSEE: So…what do we do now?
CHELSEE: That’s part of the deal. I got you the job, now you get a P.I. partner.
TEX (VO): Chelsee cocks her head and gives me one of those looks that make me want to roll over and beg for a belly rub.
TEX: Well, if you’re prepared for the danger and excitement of online internet searching, you’re welcome to stay.
CHELSEE: Hm. [beat] Well, I’ll leave you to it, then. [sounds of standing up] I’ll be down at the Brew & Stew for a while, if you come up with anything. You do have time to get started on this right away, don’t you?
TEX (VO): I do and don’t bother to pretend I don’t. Chelsee knows as well as anyone that I rarely have more than one case at a time, usually fewer. My bad business sense and fickle income are probably why she doesn’t want to go out with me. It certainly isn’t my devastating charm and rugged good looks.
TEX: I’ll get right on it. Give me your number and I’ll call you when I get a lead.
TEX (VO): A year of relentless pursuit and this is how I finally get Chelsee’s phone number. Now, I just need to impress her with my amazing detective skills and then who knows what might happen. And all I have to do is find two Russian needles in a three-and-a-half-million-person haystack.
Episode TWO – A Morozov Cocktail
[sounds of slow typing and mouse-clicking]
TEX (VO): Angela Perry hasn’t given me much to go on and, if I’m gonna crack the case, I’ll need photos of the Russian siblings and a short list of places they might be staying. I fire up my old desktop PC and go to the SynchroniCity site. I’ve always steered clear of social networks personally, but they can be gold mines for detective work, so I’ve created fake profiles on most of them using my alias, Buck Wad. SynchroniCity is the hottest new platform (or so I hear) and, considering the siblings are most likely in their 20’s, it seems like the best place to look.
I type in ‘Igor Morozov’. Apparently, it’s the Russian version of John Smith. After scrolling through a few pages of Igor Morozovs, I decide to try Irina’s name instead. This turns up about 40 profiles…and only one who lives in Chely… Chelyab… ( Chelyabinsk) [beat] …the town where she’s from. Bingo. Her profile contains a bunch of photos of an attractive young woman doing attractive young woman things. A considerably less attractive, but clearly related young man who must be Igor shows up in a few of them.
As the photos print, I bring up a listing of New San Francisco Hotels, then sort by location and price. There are nearly 400 hotels in Bay area, but within a few minutes, I have a pretty good idea of where the Morozovs might be staying. I grab the photos off the printer and head out for the Brew & Stew.
[sounds of door opening into Brew &Stew, ambient sound, continued through scene]
LOUIE: (from across the room) Hey, Moiph! [sounds of footsteps, sitting on barstool]
CHELSEE: Well, that was fast.
LOUIE: (close) Chelsee says you two are working on a case together! Just like Nick and Nora.
CHELSEE: I love those Thin Man movies! Now we just need a little terrier.
TEX: I can go see what Rook’s up to.
ROOK: (from a distance, behind a door) Very funny!
LOUIE: (close) He’s in the can.
TEX: Hm…it seems like there should be an Asta joke here somewhere. I just can’t—
CHELSEE: —So, what did you find out?
TEX: [sound of unfolding paper] This is who we’re looking for.
CHELSEE: You’re sure this is them?
TEX: Yeah. And we should get moving.
CHELSEE: This is so exciting! See ya, Louie!
LOUIE: See ya, Nora! Good luck!
[sounds of Tex’s and Chelsee’s footsteps, door opening, outdoor walking]
CHELSEE: Where are we off to? Do you know where they are?
TEX: I have an educated guess. How ‘bout you? Where do you think we should look for them?
CHELSEE: Well…they’re probably staying in a hotel, right? But I wouldn’t know where to start.
[sounds of Tex clapping and then the gullwing speeder doors opening]
TEX: Give it a try. Put yourself in their shoes. Coming here for the first time…probably excited to see all the sights…but maybe also a little intimidated and looking for something familiar…
[sounds of them getting into the speeder, doors closing]
CHELSEE: Something familiar? What would be familiar to them? [beat] Unless…Russian Hill?
TEX: I think that’s a good guess. They’d at least be curious about it.
[the speeder starts up]
CHELSEE: And Russian Hill is close to Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, a bunch of touristy stuff.
TEX: Exactly. And I’m assuming they wouldn’t skimp on a hotel, considering they were about to get paid. There are only two Russian Hill hotels that fit the bill: the Fairmont, which is super swanky, and the Argonaut, which is cool and boutique-y. It’s also a quarter of the price of the Fairmont. We’ll start there.
TEX (VO): It’s just after 5 a.m.; less than hour until sunrise and four hours before being out and about gets really toxic. When my Lotus reaches cruising elevation, I accelerate, then bank with a little more panache than usual and head out over the Bay, where traffic is lighter.
TEX: So tell me about Angela. I’m curious why she didn’t want to meet in person.
CHELSEE: So am I. I’ve never actually seen her in person. The class she teaches at the university, even the private regression sessions that she hosts, it’s always her hologram. She apologizes for it, but never explains why.
TEX: Huh. Very curious. And what are these regression sessions?
CHELSEE: Oh. Well, that’s where we find out about our past lives. [Tex smirks] I’m sure you think it’s crazy—
TEX: —I do—
CHELSEE: —but I’m telling you, I have had some very interesting experiences. Turns out, I may have been a secret agent in my last life.
TEX: Lemme guess. Mata Hari.
CHELSEE: No, but here’s the weird thing: during the regression, apparently, I was speaking fluent Russian.
TEX: That is weird.
CHELSEE: I know!
TEX: The regression…is it like getting hypnotized or something?
CHELSEE: Kind of. Angela gets you really relaxed and then it’s like you go down a rabbit hole, deep into your subconscious. I don’t usually remember much after.
TEX: So Angela says you were a Russian secret agent.
CHELSEE: Yes…but no, actually, we think I worked for the OSS. I’m sure you know about it—the U.S. intelligence service during World War II. They trained operatives all over the world. I guess I must have worked with Russians. And the crazy thing is, I’ve always wanted to go to Russia. More than anywhere else. Angela says it’s common for people to want to return to places from their past lives. [beat] Is there anywhere you’ve felt mysteriously drawn to?
TEX: Tahiti. I hear it’s a magical place.
TEX (VO): I steer my speeder over Fisherman’s Wharf, looking for a parking spot near The Argonaut Hotel. Tourist season is in full swing and the place is swarming. It takes a few passes before I find a spot.
CHELSEE: I’m serious. You must have gone to some interesting places.
TEX: Oh, I have. I went to Mars a few years ago. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t live there in a past life. And I went to the Moon Child, but that doesn’t count. Other than a quick trip to Mexico City, I haven’t really been anywhere interesting.
CHELSEE: Louie told me you were out of town a few weeks ago. Where’d you go?
CHELSEE: Well, there you go. That’s where the UFO supposedly crashed, right?
CHELSEE: And that was, what, a hundred years ago? You’ve always said you felt like you were born a century too late. Maybe you were drawn to Roswell because you were involved in whatever happened there.
TEX: I wasn’t drawn there. It was for the case I working on.
CHELSEE: But you never know… Tell you what. Just humor me. Did you bring anything back from Roswell?
TEX: Yeah. An old military ID badge.
CHELSEE: Great! When you go to sleep tonight, keep the badge close to you. Angela says tapping into a past life is easier if you have an object that’s connected to it in some way. It’s called ‘Psychometry’, the idea that objects can have residual energy from the people who used them.
TEX: Just one problem. The badge isn’t from the 1940’s. It was issued in 1996, or thereabouts.
CHELSEE: But you weren’t born before 1996, were you?
TEX: (offended) No.
CHELSEE: I keep forgetting how old you are. Just promise me you’ll try it.
TEX (VO): I finally find a place to land on Jefferson Street, on the north side of the Argonaut Hotel. Unlike the Fairmont, which is a spectacular mini-Versailles perched on top of Nob Hill, the Argonaut isn’t much to look at. It’s a big, boxy, red brick building, taking up most of city block and built into the hill between Hyde Street and Leavenworth. [Lobby sounds, music?] The interior is much nicer, with a cozy lobby featuring a large fireplace, lots of brick and hardwood, ships’ wheels and other nautical-themed touches. It’s a charming place, especially for tourists.
CLERK 1: Hello. Checking in?
TEX: Actually, we’re here to meet some friends. The Morozovs. Igor and…uh…
CHELSEE: (after a long pause as Tex tries to remember the name) Irina.
TEX: [sound of paper crinkling and unfolding] Here’s a picture.
CLERK 1: Oh, yes. I remember them. They were sweet. So excited to be visiting. Let me see which room they’re in.
[sound of keyboard clicking]
TEX (VO): Chelsee leans against me and whispers as the clerk types.
CHELSEE (whispered) Good job, Nick.
CLERK 1: I’m sorry. It looks like they checked out. Hm. And they still had two days left on their reservation.
TEX: When did they leave?
CLERK 1: Let’s see. It was earlier today, a little after 4 p.m.
TEX: And it wasn’t you who checked them out?
CLERK 1: No, that’d be Liz. She works the night shift… [laughs] I mean day shift. I’m still getting used to this Time Reversal thing.
CHELSEE: Aren’t we all.
TEX: Is Liz here?
CLERK 1: She will be, in about an hour.
TEX: OK, we’ll check back. Thanks for your help.
[sound of Tex and Chelsee’s footsteps, exit to busy street]
CHELSEE: Why do you want to talk to the other desk clerk?
TEX: Maybe the Morozovs said something about why they were leaving, or where they might be going.
CHELSEE: Gotcha. Well, there’s a darling little coffee shop a couple blocks from here. We could go wait there.
[MUSICAL INTERLUDE, then the sound of entering a busy coffee shop, continued through scene]
TEX: My goodness, this place is darling.
CHELSEE: Hush. Grab us a table and I’ll order.
TEX (VO): I take a seat and watch my dream girl step up to the counter. Today is turning out way better than I thought it would. Now I just have to figure out how to not blow it with Chelsee, like I’ve done every time in the past. This might be my last chance. I should probably keep things light. Definitely not bring up how she dumped me for a hologram. She finishes ordering and joins me at the table.
TEX: I hope you got me the, uh, caramel ribbon crunch frappaccino.
CHELSEE: Whatever. I know what you like. Plain old coffee. Black. Like your heart.
TEX: Ouch. [beat] So, how are things with Cary?
TEX (VO): Oops.
TEX: Yes, Cary. Devastatingly handsome, impossibly suave, ridiculously dreamy Cary Grant.
CHELSEE: Oh, that? It was fun, I guess. They do a good job of making them seem real, though it’s more like a combination of all the characters they played in the movies, the way they talk and…whatnot.
TEX: Whatnot? What do you mean whatnot?
CHELSEE: You know…body language, mannerisms, outfits. Stuff like that. [beat] And you know how much I love Cary Grant. Hearing him say my name, actually having a conversation―it was kind of a dream come true. But that’s all it was…a dream. It wasn’t real. There’s nothing there to touch, to hold onto. I see the appeal―the fantasy―but it’s like being attracted to a cartoon. I mean, who would actually think they were dating a hologram?
TEX: Not me.
TEX (VO): I wasn’t about to tell her about my dalliance with a virtual Jayne Mansfield. Or my Jessica Rabbit phase.
SERVER: Hey guys, sorry to interrupt. I’ve got your drinks: one nonfat, soy, no-foam latte with whip, a touch of vanilla syrup and three short sprinkles of cinnamon…and one black coffee.
TEX: Thanks. Hey, can I ask you something? [sound of paper crinkling and unfolding] I don’t suppose the people in these photos came in here?
SERVER: Uh…I think they did, actually. Are they Russian?
CHELSEE: Yes! They are!
SERVER: Yeah, they were in here yesterday.
TEX: How’d you know they were Russian?
SERVER: They were with an older guy and they were all speaking Russian, or at least that’s what it sounded like to me.
TEX: Can you describe the old guy? Anything unique or unusual about him?
SERVER: I didn’t really pay that much attention. He was tall, really thin. Glasses. White hair and beard. Look, sorry, but I need to get back. Enjoy your coffee! [sound of retreating footsteps]
CHELSEE: (whispered) We need to find out who that old man is. Maybe he’s the reason they checked out early.
TEX: Yeah. I wonder if he went to their hotel. They have a surveillance camera at the front desk. I’ll see if they’ll let us check the video footage.
TEX (VO): We still have a while before the night clerk starts her shift, so Chelsee and I sip our coffee while she tells me all about Angela and her regression sessions. It’s all malarkey, of course, but I’m more than happy to listen and stare at that gorgeous face while we wait. At six a.m. sharp, we’re back in the hotel lobby.
TEX: Hi, are you Liz?
LIZ: I am. How can I help you?
CHELSEE: I’m Chelsee. This is Tex. We’re looking for our friends, Igor and Irina Morozov.
TEX: [sound of paper crinkling and unfolding] Here’s a picture of them.
CHELSEE: The other desk clerk said you checked them out yesterday. We’re trying to find out where they might have gone. Did they happen to say anything about that?
LIZ: Hm. I don’t know.
TEX: What do you mean?
LIZ: I guess it could be them. A lot of guests come through here. But I don’t remember them saying much of anything.
TEX: There may have been someone with them when they checked out. I see you have a security camera. Is there any way we could take a look at the footage of them checking out?
LIZ: Mm…I don’t know…
TEX: We think they may be in some trouble and need to find them as soon as possible. I have some connections at the NSFPD. I could have them come by, if that makes a difference.
LIZ: No, we’d rather not have cops in here. I’ll see what I can do.
TEX (VO): A few minutes later, Liz has the surveillance video running on her computer. She rewinds to 4 p.m. yesterday, when the Morozovs came to the front desk. It’s just the two of them, no old Russian guy in sight. But as I watch the video, something seems odd. Irina is at the desk, while Igor hangs back…and they both seem aware of the security camera. Igor has his back to it; Irina is turned so it doesn’t get a clear view of her face. It makes me curious.
TEX: Can you find out when they checked in?
LIZ: Sure. [sound of typing] 3:35 a.m., day before yesterday.
TEX: Let’s see the video of that.
TEX (VO): Liz rewinds the video to just before 3:35 a.m., then hits Play. We watch as a man and woman step up to the front desk, completely oblivious to the security camera. As soon as they appear, Chelsee grabs my arm.
CHELSEE: Oh my gosh.
TEX: Yeah. I see it.
TEX (VO): The security camera gets a clear shot of their faces. It’s definitely Irina and Igor. But, unless she put on at least twenty pounds and he grew about six inches in less than 48 hours, it was two different people who checked out.
TEX: This is not good. Someone took them.
Episode THREE – Chasin’ the Argonaut
NARRATOR: Episode 3: Russian Roulette
TEX (VO): The search for the Morozovs has just taken a sudden, sinister turn. Everything about this feels like trouble. Big, well-planned trouble. Not only are the Morozovs gone, whoever took them tried to cover their tracks by having two people posing as them check out. And finding two people that looked similar to them—and were willing to do it—would require both time and resources.
I ask about the Morozovs’ hotel room. It was empty when housekeeping got to it. The imposters must have cleaned it out, and to do that, they’d need the room keycard…which they must have gotten from the siblings. At this point, I’m pretty sure we’re dealing with a kidnapping.
I borrow Chelsee’s phone to call Mac Malden, the closest thing I have to a friend at the NSFPD, and give him the info. He says he’ll look into it. Chelsee is listening and gives me a worried look as I hand the phone back to her.
CHELSEE: What now?
TEX: The cops will check the surveillance video. Maybe they can i.d. the imposters. For now, all we can do is talk to Angela. Maybe she has an idea of who the old Russian man is.
CHELSEE: The one who met the Morozovs at the coffee shop.
TEX: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the siblings disappeared right after talking to him.
[sounds of city street]
TEX (VO): As we leave the hotel lobby, I notice a speeder parked across the street—a gun metal Mercedes with blacked-out windows. Maybe the recent turn of events has me paranoid, but I think I saw the same speeder parked outside the coffee shop. Instead of heading back to my Lotus, I grab Chelsee’s hand and lead her across the street.
TEX: There’s a Mercedes parked up the street, to our right. Dark grey, with tinted windows. See if you can get the license plate number without being obvious about it.
CHELSEE: (confused) OK. 6-JXN-981.
TEX: 6-JXN-981. Let’s go to that gift shop on the corner. I think whoever’s in that speeder might be following us.
CHELSEE: Why would someone be following us?
TEX: They may not. But if they are, it must have something to do with the Morozovs.
TEX (VO): We walk to The Bay Company souvenir store. Inside, I borrow Chelsee’s phone and call Malden again to give him the license plate number and ask him to see who it’s registered to. After a few minutes, we stroll out nonchalantly and return to my speeder. I lift off, make a wide u-turn and then fly slowly up Jefferson, directly over the Mercedes. In my rearview mirror, I see the Mercedes take off. Chelsee, looking in her side mirror, sees it, too.
CHELSEE: He’s following us.
TEX: Yup. Hold on.
TEX (VO): The Mercedes has to turn around to follow us, giving me a decent head start. I reach the corner of Jefferson and Leavenworth, hang a nice, easy right and then gun it.
The only way I’m gonna lose our tail is by staying low and using buildings for cover. Which is dangerous…and illegal. ‘Lose your license and speeder’ illegal. But I have to risk it.
I speed up Leavenworth and bank hard right onto Beach Street, staying below the roofline of the Argonaut. Up ahead, the Hyde Street trolley rolls across the intersection. I glance into my rearview mirror—no Mercedes. I elevate just enough to clear the trolley, then make a hard left.
I’m assuming the Mercedes will go up for a birds-eye view; Hyde Street is lined with trees and offers the best cover, so I stay on it, keeping as low as possible, and shoot up the hill to Bay Street. People are yelling and flipping me off as we speed past.
A moment later, Russian Hill Park comes into view. It’s one of the largest green spaces in the city, with enough trees to be considered an urban forest…and strictly off-limits to speeders. I head straight for the trees and then aim for a small clearing. Branches scrape the sides of my speeder as I descend. At the last moment, I hit the air brakes, then touch down gently. Chelsee glances over at me, her eyes wide.
CHELSEE: That…was…insane. But kinda fun.
TEX: It comes with the P.I. Partner Package. No extra charge.
TEX (VO): We sit tight for a few minutes. There’s no sign of the Mercedes. We wait a bit longer, until a gray-haired couple with matching tie-dye shirts, Birkenstocks and expressions of tree-hugging indignation come marching into view. I fire up the Lotus and lift off, hugging the tree line until we reach the west side of the park. Still no Mercedes. I relax a little and ascend to cruising altitude.
The sunrise is reflecting across the Bay as we fly back to Chandler Avenue. Once we’re in my office, we’ll have another chat with Angela, see if she knows anything about the old Russian guy and why he might want to kidnap the Morozovs. But it’ll have to wait. As Chandler Ave. comes into view, I see a gun metal gray speeder descending to the street. I don’t bother to get a closer look and confirm that it’s a Mercedes. I bank hard and head west, hoping they didn’t spot me. But now I’m starting to think it may not matter.
A few minutes later, we land at the south end of Mission Street, in the parking lot of Tim Time Automotive. This is where I get my Lotus serviced and I know they’re open late. [sound of door opening, bell tinkling]
TIM: Hey, Tex.
TEX: Timmy! Chelsee, this is Tim. Tim, Chelsee.
CHELSEE: Nice to meet you.
TIM: You too. So, how’s your baby? Need me to take a look at something?
TEX: She’s running like a champ. I just need you to see if someone put a tracker on it.
TIM: A tracker?
TEX: I’ve got someone tailing me and can’t seem to shake them.
TIM: Why would someone be tailing you?
CHELSEE: We’re investigating a kidnapping. It’s pretty serious.
TIM: So you really are a P.I.? I thought you were kidding about that.
CHELSEE: I’ll be honest, Tim, I used to think that too.
TIM: I’ll take a look. There’s drinks and snacks in the waiting room. Shouldn’t take me too long. [retreating footsteps]
TEX: Let’s give Angela a call.
TEX (VO): Chelsee sends a text and gets an immediate reply.
CHELSEE: She wants to use the drone.
TEX (VO): I watch as Chelsee takes the device from her purse and sets it on the floor. As before, it scans the waiting room and then Angela magically appears on one of the chairs.
ANGELA: Did you find them?
TEX: Yes and no. We found out where they were staying—at the Argonaut Hotel—but they’re gone now.
ANGELA: Gone? Where?
TEX: We think they’ve been kidnapped.
ANGELA: What? No. Why?
TEX: I’m hoping you can tell me.
CHELSEE: They met an old Russian man yesterday. Tall, thin, white hair and beard, glasses. Any idea who he could be?
ANGELA: I…I don’t think so. You think this man kidnapped them?
TEX: All we know is, two people—a man and woman, who looked a lot like the Morozovs—came back to the hotel later with their room key, cleared out their stuff and checked them out of the hotel.
ANGELA: I can’t believe it. This is terrible. But you must believe me, I had no idea they were in any danger.
TEX: Well, they are. And you made it sound like some people would go to great lengths to get their Enigma Papers. Resorting to kidnapping seems a little extreme, but I’m guessing there’s more to this story than you’ve told me.
ANGELA: [after long beat] You’re right. There is. I didn’t think the details would be necessary. Clearly, they are. [beat] One thing I didn’t tell you is that, at some point, the Morozovs found someone who was able to decipher the Enigma Papers, or at least a portion of them. I can’t say for certain who did the decryption, but there are very few people with the expertise to do it.
CHELSEE: Could any of those people be the old Russian man?
ANGELA: Not as far as I know, but it’s possible. I’ll need to make some inquiries.
TEX: OK, so someone deciphered the papers. Then what?
ANGELA: The Morozovs shared some of the decoded message with me. There may have been more to it than what they shared, but what they told me was…incredibly intriguing.
TEX: Intriguing enough to get them kidnapped?
ANGELA: Maybe. Probably.
CHELSEE: So, what did they tell you was in the message?
ANGELA: It had been sent from the captain of a Nazi U-Boat. Apparently, he had found a ship frozen in the ice in the North Atlantic. It had been there for years. And they found something onboard. The message doesn’t say exactly what. Just three words to describe it —in German, of course: Romanow…verpasst…and kostbarkeit.
CHELSEE: Romanov? As in Anastasia Romanov?
ANGELA: It would seem so.
TEX: My German’s a little rusty. What do the other two words mean?
ANGELA: Verpasst means ‘lost’. And kostbarkeit has several possible meanings, one of which…is ‘treasure’.
Episode FOUR – Business Before Treasure
NARRATOR: Episode 4: Riddles, wrapped in mysteries, inside an Enigma
TEX (VO): Knowing the contents of the Enigma papers puts a whole new spin on things. According to Angela, the decoded message refers to a Nazi U-boat finding an old, abandoned ship and a lost Romanov treasure. And if there’s one thing I know about treasure, it’s that it attracts pirates. And now I have a likely motive for why the Morozovs were kidnapped.
I also have suspects: an unidentified old Russian man and at least two accomplices. There’s also whoever was driving the Mercedes that was tailing me and Chelsee at The Argonaut. It’s possible they’re all working together, so I’m hoping Mac Malden will get back to me soon with info on who the Mercedes is registered to. I also have another person who might be of help, but his contact info is back in my office.
Tim, my mechanic, finishes inspecting my Lotus and tells me there was no tracking device on it, which is a relief. But after seeing the Mercedes on Chandler Ave., it’s clear whoever was driving it knows me and where I live. I decide to get Chelsee safely home before heading back to the Ritz.
[flying speeder sounds]
TEX: I’ll give you a call when I hear back from Malden. Probably be tomorrow. Until then, there’s not much we can do.
CHELSEE: Unless Angela gets a lead on who the old Russian might be.
CHELSEE: [after a long pause] So…I owe you an apology.
TEX: It’s ok. I get it. I’m no Cary Grant.
CHELSEE: No, not about that. For not taking you seriously. I mean, the fedora…the trench coat…your office…it seemed like maybe you were a bored trust fund baby, playing detective just for fun.
TEX: I wish. I always wanted to be a trust fund baby. I blame my parents.
CHELSEE: See? Like that. I never know when you’re being serious. You’ve told me a little about your other cases, but I always assumed you were making it up…or at least exaggerating, trying to impress me.
TEX: Well, to be honest, I was. Trying to impress you, I mean. But not making it up. I haven’t had that many cases, but the ones I get tend to be real doozies.
CHELSEE: Well, now I believe you. And I am impressed. Very impressed.
TEX: Thanks, Chels. That means a lot. [beat] Can we make out now?
CHELSEE: Mm. How about we start with dinner? And, this time, I’ll pick where we go.
TEX: Good idea. I have a little job to take care of tomorrow, but I’m wide open after that.
CHELSEE: OK, I’ll make a reservation. I know a wonderful little Mandarin place.
TEX: Sounds great. I love fruit.
TEX (VO): I drop Chelsee off at the Seven Gables, feeling giddy as a schoolgirl but keeping cool as a cucumber. Chelsee and I have tried to go out twice before and both were total failures. After the last one—the fiasco at the Fuchsia Flamingo—I was afraid it was the end of the road for us. Somehow, we’ve gotten back on the right path and maybe there’s still a chance I can get the ending with Chelsee I’ve always wanted.
Back at Chandler Avenue, I make a pass around the neighborhood, looking for the gun metal Mercedes, but it’s nowhere in sight. I park my Lotus and take the fire escape stairs to my office, then go through my desk, hunting for Agent McCovey’s contact info. I’d crossed paths with McCovey and his partner, Andrews, during the Moon Child case. They worked for Interpol and, after things wrapped up, he’d asked me to keep the details of what had happened secret, as a matter of international security. I had, so now I figure he owes me a favor. [sound of dialing number]
TEX: Hey, it’s Murphy.
TEX: Tex Murphy.
TEX: The guy who blew up the Moon Child and saved the world from a fiery baptism of apocalyptic proportions?
MCCOVEY: Oh, right. How you been?
TEX: Good, thanks. You?
MCCOVEY: Can’t complain. Infiltrated any other doomsday cults lately?
TEX: No, though I did just find an ancient alien spacecraft loaded with anti-hydrogen pods and…ah, never mind. I’m calling to ask a favor. I hear Interpol has some kind of program that monitors world-wide communications.
MCCOVEY: I can neither confirm nor deny.
TEX: Great. Could you put some keywords into the system and let me know if you get any hits?
MCCOVEY: Absolutely not. What kind of keywords?
TEX: Igor Morozov. Irina Morozov. Enigma. Hitler. Romanov. Verpasst and kostbarkeit. Those last two are German. Need me to spell anything?
MCCOVEY: No. Why would I? I told you I can’t help you. But that is an interesting list. What’s this about?
TEX: The Morozovs are siblings who’ve gone missing, probably kidnapped, likely by an old Russian man—tall, white hair and beard, glasses. Could be a collector of Nazi paraphernalia. It’d be a nice bonus if you could find out who he is.
MCCOVEY: OK. Don’t plan on me getting back to you.
TEX: I appreciate it.
TEX (VO): I sensed some mixed signals from McCovey, so only time will tell if he comes up with anything. And now I play the waiting game. Hopefully, between McCovey, Malden and Angela, I’ll have a fresh lead or two tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ll grab some much-needed shuteye. I’m crawling into bed when I remember Chelsee’s request about sleeping with my memento from Roswell. I think the whole past life thing is hooey, but I’m more than willing to jump through hooey hoops if it makes her happy. I stumble back out to my office and dig up the old ID badge I found in the military complex. After tucking it under my pillow like a figurative tooth for the past life regression fairy, I lay down and close my eyes.
[sound of snoring, then suddenly stirring and waking up]
I wake up on the floor, in pitch-black darkness, like I’m deep in a cave. I get up on my feet and reach out, blindly. Taking a step forward, my hands touch a wall. It’s metallic. I lean against it and check my pockets, which are loaded up with scraps of paper, a bunch of what feel like credit cards, my wallet, two packs of smokes, my Zippo, a box about the size of a cigarette pack…and a small flashlight. I pull out the flashlight and turn it on.
I’m in a short hallway that leads to an elevator. Without thinking, I pull the credit cards from my pocket, except they’re not credit cards. One is an ID badge with my photo and the name ‘Colonel T. Murphy, Special Agent, NSA’. The others are different-colored passcards with military insignias on them. I select a green passcard and put the others back in my pocket.
As I walk to the elevator, it feels like I know where I’m going, what I’m doing…but I don’t. My body is on auto-pilot and I’m just along for the ride. When I get to the elevator, I insert the green passcard into a slot next to the elevator doors. A button lights up and I press it. The elevator doors open and I step inside. There’s a control panel inside the elevator with three buttons. Again without thinking, I pull out a blue passcard and insert it into a slot. The three buttons light up and I press the middle one, marked with a ‘2’.
[sound of elevator] After a few seconds, the elevator shudders to a stop and the doors open. A large, black number two is painted on the wall opposite the elevator. I step out into the hallway and turn left.
[sound of echoing footsteps] There are blast holes pockmarking several spots in the floor and walls. And dead bodies. Lots of them. I want to stop and take a closer look, but my legs are moving, stepping over and around the corpses. I catch glimpses of their horrible staring faces, skin chalky and wrinkled, eyeballs shrunken, mouths open, as if they’d been screaming when they died. Some of the bodies are dressed in lab coats; the others are wearing old Air Force uniforms.
I reach an intersection and turn right, into a long, wide corridor. I pass doors marked ‘Security’, ‘Administration’ and ‘Records’ and come across two other corpses, one of which is just outside a door labeled ‘Network Operations Center’. Taking a green passcard from my pocket, I swipe it on a card reader and the door clicks.
I step into the room. It’s completely dark…except for a single, tiny, blinking red light. I shine the flashlight beam in that direction and see a large, black box on the floor—apparently some kind of emergency power supply. There are several workstations surrounding it, all with multiple monitors and bulky desktop PCs. A bank of old-fashioned servers covers one wall. There’s another door, as well. I open it and find an adjoining storage room, filled with a variety of computer equipment and other electronics.
I return to one of the workstations and try to turn on the computer, but nothing happens. I step away and kneel down by the big black box. Other than the blinking red light, which indicates the device is on standby—and three other dormant lights, for power, load and battery level—there’s nothing on the front of the box. I feel around the back and find a power button. I press it and, instantly, the box starts to vibrate.
As I stand up, a loud, piercing beep breaks the silence, like the sound of a smoke detector with a low battery. I check the display lights. A different one is blinking red now, the one with a battery symbol under it. The standby light is off and the other two are green. I’ve got power now, but no idea for how long. I try to turn on the computer again. This time it boots up.
On the monitor, several logos appear for a few seconds—one of which is the flaming sword of Gideon Enterprises. A moment later, it’s replaced by a bunch of text. I enter several commands, none of which mean anything to me. Then I pull a small box from my pocket and open it. Inside is a strange gizmo, like a miniature motherboard with a universal connection on one end and a tiny light bulb on the other. I take it out of the box, holding it like a TV remote, and move it around. There’s a device sitting on top of the PC tower that looks similar to a mouse and is plugged into a serial port on the back. When I hold the gizmo up to it, I see a flash of red from the device—infra-red light, I’m pretty sure—and the gizmo lights up.
The only sound in the room is the gentle hum of the black box. And then I hear something else.
[sound of moaning]
A low moan, like distant wind.
[low battery beep]
I strain to listen, keeping the gizmo pointed at the infra-red device. Another moan. Louder now. I feel a shiver go up my back.
[sound of convulsing]
I glance over at the door. What was that? Is there someone out in the corridor?
[sound of louder moaning and a faint accelerated heartbeat (Tex’s)]
I check the gizmo. It went off-target when I turned away and is now blinking. I adjust the aim until the light goes solid.
[low battery beep]
Somehow, I know this won’t take long. A few minutes at most. But the seconds are creeping by.
I want to take another look at the door, but I need to focus on the gizmo. I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to.
[sound of convulsing, thumping on the wall and moaning; louder, faster heartbeat]
I can’t help it. I look back at the door and a chill goes through me. A light green mist is seeping in around the door frame.
[low battery beep]
I re-aim the gizmo. I feel like shoving it into the other device, like that will speed things up.
[louder convulsing, thumping, moaning and heartbeat]
I take another look behind me. The green mist is thicker now and starting to drift toward me, swirling along the floor.
[low battery beep]
There’s no way to know how much longer this will take. I stare at the unblinking light, willing it to turn green…or turn off…do something.
[louder convulsing, thumping, moaning and heartbeat]
The room is glowing…a sickly shade of green…
[low battery beep]
I start to feel a tingling sensation. I’m out of time. I can’t wait any longer. I have to RUN!
[sound of Tex suddenly waking up with a huge exhale]
Episode FIVE – Bourbon, Coffee, & White Russians
NARRATOR: Episode 5: Bourbon, Coffee & White Russians
TEX (VO): I wake up exhausted and soaked in sweat, my heart pounding. Finding myself back at Roswell was a nightmare… but not the past life experience Chelsee was hoping I’d have. In my dream, the military complex was just the way I remember it from a couple months ago. So were the dead bodies and the green mist that was hibernating inside them. But not the rest of it. I never went into a Network Operation Center…or used a weird gizmo on an old computer…or encountered the alien entity on Level 2. I’m not sure where those inexplicable, random details came from, but it all felt so…real. Not like my usual dreams, which tend to be on the crazy side. Like the one where I’m being chased by a kangaroo in my underpants. How he got in my underpants, I’ll never know. But seriously…
I need a drink. As I stumble into my office in search of bourbon, the vid-phone rings. I check the time. It’s almost 2 p.m. People don’t call at this hour…not unless it’s an emergency. I take a seat at my desk and pick up. The caller’s video is blocked.
TEX: This is Murphy.
ANGELA: Hi Tex, it’s Angela. Sorry to call so late. I hope I didn’t wake you.
TEX: You didn’t.
ANGELA: Oh, good. I hope you don’t mind that I block my video feed. It’s a…privacy thing.
TEX: No need to explain. I have my own privacy issues. So, what’s going on?
ANGELA: I think I know who the old Russian is.
TEX: Great! Who is he?
ANGELA: His name is Oleg Kalinin.
TEX: How’d you track him down?
ANGELA: Through a colleague of mine, Florian Strobl. He lives in Austria and works at the Heeresgeschichtliches.
ANGELA: That’s the Austrian Military History Museum. Florian is an expert on the Enigma Machine and was on my short list of people who could have decrypted the Morozov’s papers. I’ve been trying to reach him and he finally got back to me.
TEX: And he knows this Kalinin guy?
ANGELA: Not exactly. But he knows the Morozovs. They contacted him a few weeks ago, asked if he could decipher their Enigma papers.
TEX: And did he?
ANGELA: Yes, though they only gave him a small sample. He thinks they gave other pieces to different people.
TEX: Smart. They didn’t want one person to have all the contents.
ANGELA: Florian doesn’t know if anyone else had any luck with the decryption. He said it took a lot of work to decipher what they gave him.
TEX: So the reference to the lost Romanov treasure came from him?
ANGELA: Yes. As you might imagine, he said the Morozovs were thrilled.
TEX: I’ll bet. Seems like it would make their papers even more valuable.
ANGELA: But then I think they did something not so smart. I believe they shared the information Florian gave them with other people, not just me.
TEX: Not smart, maybe, but understandable. The papers could be a treasure map. The Morozovs were probably looking to start a bidding war.
ANGELA: Undoubtedly. But I think they started something much more dangerous than a bidding war.
TEX: And this is where Oleg Kalinin comes in?
ANGELA: Yes. He came after Florian, looking for the Morozovs, who’d already left the country. Kalinin forced my friend to tell him everything he knew about the Morozovs and the Enigma Papers.
TEX: Which led him here. Do we know anything else about Kalinin?
ANGELA: A little. He’s 82 years old, lives in Odessa, in the Ukraine. He’s heavily involved with a group known as the ‘White Russians’. He may even be the leader of it.
TEX: And who are the White Russians?
ANGELA: Apparently, their raison d’être is to restore the Imperial House of Russia, which was overthrown by the Russian Revolution in 1917. Specifically, they want to return a Romanov to the throne.
TEX: And that would explain his interest in the lost Romanov treasure.
ANGELA: Interest is putting it lightly. He’s a zealot, I have no doubt.
TEX: Enough of a zealot to kidnap the Morozovs?
ANGELA: Kidnap…or worse. Florian said they threatened to kill him if he didn’t cooperate.
TEX: At least now we know who we’re dealing with. Did you find out anything else?
ANGELA: I’m still looking, but I thought I should let you know about Kalinin right away.
TEX: I appreciate the lead. I’ve got a contact in the NSFPD. Maybe he can put out an APB on Kalinin. I’ll get back to you.
ANGELA: Please do. Good luck.
[sound of hang-up click and then dialing number on vid-phone]
TEX (VO): I end the call and dial Mac Malden’s office number. He won’t be in for a few more hours at least, but it’s the only number I have for him and he’s the only cop that might take me seriously, so I leave a message with the additional info Angela gave me about Kalinin. When I finish, I boot up my PC and do a search. I don’t find anything more than what Angela told me, other than a photo of Kalinin. In it, he looks a lot younger than 82, so it’s probably not a recent picture. He’s not wearing glasses, but his thick, wild hair and longish beard had already gone totally white, so he probably doesn’t look much different now. His face is gaunt, with high, sharp cheekbones and piercing light-blue eyes. It’s an intelligent, handsome face, but there’s cruelty and just a hint of fanaticism in the eyes.
I print out his photo and move on to a search of the group he may be the leader of. Almost all the White Russian entries reference the original White Russians—also known as the White Guard—who fought against the Red Army in 1917. Like Kalinin, they were trying to save the Romanovs, who’d been kidnapped and held captive before being executed in 1918.
The murder of the Romanovs—Nicolas the Second, his wife, Alexandra, and their five children—daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and son Alexei—is the subject of countless online rabbit holes full of conspiracy theories about how they died, what happened to their bodies, who may have survived and where their vast fortune ended up. Apparently, prior to World War I, the Romanovs owned 1/7 of the world’s wealth and a good percentage of that is still unaccounted for.
The modern version of the White Russians shows up in some of these discussions, usually in regards to the possibility that at least one of the Romanovs escaped the assassination and their descendants—should there be any—are the rightful heirs to the Russian throne. With everything going on in Russia, it’s a movement that seems to be getting a lot of traction.
Before I know it, it’s 5:30 and time to decide if I’m going back to bed or if I’m up for the day. Louie opens the Brew & Stew at 6:00, so he’ll be firing up the kitchen and, more importantly, the coffeemaker. I grab a quick shower, get dressed and head out for an infusion of the Armageddon Blend.
[sound of entering Brew & Stew, quieter than before]
LOUIE: (at a distance) Hey, Moiph! (closer) What you doin’ up at this hour?
TEX: (whiny kid voice) I had a bad dream, Louie. It was very scary.
LOUIE: Not the one with the kangaroo?
TEX: No, but this one was almost as bad.
LOUIE: Oh, geez. [beat] Well, let’s get some coffee in ya. I got a fresh pot.
[sound of mug plunking down, filling it]
LOUIE: Wanna tell me about it?
TEX: Sure, I guess. Remember I told you I went to Roswell a couple months back? I haven’t told you what happened there. You were in the military, right?
LOUIE: Looong time ago.
TEX: Ever hear anything about a military complex in Roswell?
LOUIE: Seems to me there was an Air Force base there, back in the day. But it was gone way before I did my tour. Plus, I was in the Army. Just a dog-face cook, is all.
TEX: How about the Roswell UFO?
LOUIE: Sure, I heard of that, but mostly just from movies.
TEX: Well, as it turns out, there really was a UFO. And the military built a secret underground facility where they analyzed it, reverse-engineered it and, eventually, did something really really bad. Back in 1996, they had to seal the place off.
LOUIE: And that’s where you went? Why?!
TEX: It’s a long story for another time. But I found out why they had to shut it down. Something got loose and killed everyone in the complex. And the thing that got loose is still there.
LOUIE: Geez. No wonder yer havin’ nightmares.
TEX: Thing is, this is the first time I’ve dreamed about it. And probably just because Chelsee brought it up yesterday. But something about this dream was different. Scary as hell, but…I don’t know…kind of odd.
LOUIE: What d’ya mean?
TEX: It seemed more like a memory than a dream, except I saw things I didn’t see when I was actually there. I was in this computer room, trying to get access to an old PC. And there were a couple weird gizmos I was using. Something about it’s bugging me.
LOUIE: Sorry, Moiph. I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout computers. Like I said, I was on kitchen duty.
TEX: I don’t know anything about computers either. That’s why it’s so weird that I’d have a dream about it.
[sound of someone entering through the Brew & Stew door]
LOUIE: Ya know who does, though? Rook. Maybe not so much now, but he was a real whiz back in the day. [beat] Hey, Chelsee!
CHELSEE: (cheery) Good morning, Louie.
LOUIE: Hold on a sec while I get yer stuff. Moiph got me all distracted.
CHELSEE: Shame on you, Tex. Why are you up so early? Or are you up late?
TEX: Well, Chelsee, let me tell you why I’m up so early. Someone asked me to do a little sleep experiment.
CHELSEE: Oh, you mean the past life thing? How did it go?
TEX: Depends. If the goal was to have me wake up in a cold sweat and terrified, it was fantastic.
CHELSEE: Mm, poor baby. You had a nightmare? (maliciously) I want to hear all about it.
TEX: You have a bit of a mean streak, don’tcha?
LOUIE: Here you go. One chocolate croissant and a vanilla latte to go.
CHELSEE: Thanks, Louie. It smells so good! C’mon, Tex. Walk me to work.
[sound of Tex and Chelsee’s retreating footsteps]
LOUIE: (calling out) I wanna hear the rest of that story, Moiph! And you two gotta tell me about the case yer workin’ on!
CHELSEE: We will! See ya later, Louie! [sound of door opening, bell tinkling]
TEX (VO): Chelsee and I step out of the diner and into the late afternoon sunlight. It’s only slightly toxic at this hour, but Chandler Avenue is still empty and quiet, though I can hear the sound of morning traffic picking up in the distance. I look around for the Mercedes, but don’t see it. As we walk to the newsstand, I give Chelsee some background on the Roswell complex and why I’d gone there. This is the first she’s heard about any of it and, as I’m talking, I realize how crazy it sounds. Maybe as crazy as her past life hooey sounds to me. But she listens without interrupting…or smirking, which is a good sign. I keep talking as she gets her newsstand ready for business, giving her the details of my dream. When I finish, Chelsee gives me a curious look.
CHELSEE: And this all really happened?
TEX: Yeah. Well, no. Not the part about the old computer and the gizmos—that was just in my dream—but everything else. Scout’s honor. And you know how sacred that oath is to me.
CHELSEE: Yeah. I do. [beat] I don’t even know what to say. I mean, I believe you, but…
TEX: I get it. If it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t believe it either. Which is true for about half my cases.
CHELSEE: You know, I would love to hear more…about all your cases. Maybe at dinner? You said you had another job to take care of, but how about Friday night?
TEX: That sounds great.
CHELSEE: And whatever this other job of yours is, you better be careful.
TEX: Well, if you insist. I’ll try not to get killed or anything.
CHELSEE: Or knocked out. You already used that excuse, remember? I think it’s the P.I. version of ‘my dog ate my homework’.
TEX: Hey, I didn’t make that up. I just get hit in the head a lot.
CHELSEE: That I can believe.
TEX (VO): As we’re talking, I hear footsteps behind me and turn to see an older woman I don’t recognize. I guess this is my cue to let Chelsee get to work. I meant to tell her about Oleg Kalinin, but it can wait. A few minutes later, I’m back in my office and feeling the effects of the Armageddon Blend starting to wear off. I check for messages on my vid-phone—there aren’t any—and then decide to take a quick nap. I’m about to nod off when I remember the Roswell ID badge is still under my pillow. I pull it out, wrap it in tin foil—just to be safe—and stash it in my file cabinet. I stretch out on the bed and close my eyes. zzzzzz The next instant, I hear a voice.
CHELSEE: Tex. Wake up.
TEX: Uh, what? What time is it?
CHELSEE: I don’t know. Late.
CHELSEE: C’mon, sweetie. It’s important.
TEX: Yeah, ok. I’m up. [beat] What are doing here? Not that I’m complaining. It’s just, the place is a mess and my housekeeper…don’t get me started—
CHELSEE: —Your door was unlocked. I hope you don’t mind. Lt. Malden just called me. He had my number from when you called him. He said to tell you he’s got people looking for someone named Oleg Kalinin.
TEX: OK, good.
CHELSEE: And who is Oleg Kalinin?
TEX: He’s the old Russian man. I was gonna tell you about him, but then we got sidetracked and—
CHELSEE: —Yeah, I want to hear what you found out. But, before I forget, Malden said he also checked the registration of the Mercedes that was following us. He said it’s not registered to a person; it’s a company vehicle.
TEX: A company vehicle? Which company?
CHELSEE: You’re not gonna believe it. [beat] Gideon Enterprises. It’s so weird. I can’t figure out why they would be involved in our case.
TEX: Yeah, you’re right. I don’t think anyone from Gideon would have anything to do with the Morozovs. [beat] But I have an idea why they might be tailing me. I think it has to do with something I saw in Roswell…
Episode SIX – The Dream Client
NARRATOR: Episode 6: Blasts from the Past
TEX (VO): Gideon Enterprises and I have a history, but it’s been a while. Six years, to be exact. Back then, they were the biggest security systems company in the world, working with huge corporations, governments, even the U.S. military. They’d invented doming security, advanced drone technology and been heavily involved in creating the global satellite matrix. And those were just the things the public knew about. I happened to know of a couple secret pet projects they were developing, one of which I’d personally pulled the plug on.
Fortunately, the only person at Gideon Enterprises who might still be nursing a grudge against me was too dead to do anything about it. Frank Schimming, a corporate Nazi who’d taken control of the corporation from its founder, J. Saint Gideon, ended up selling the business and then booking a 40-year vacation on the Moon Child, which he got to enjoy for, oh, about a week, before an unexpectedly early retirement.
CHELSEE: My my, Mr. Murphy, you are just full of surprises, aren’t you? How’d you get mixed up with Gideon Enterprises? One of your other cases?
TEX: Yeah, my first one. Back in ’37.
CHELSEE: And? Did you make somebody mad?
TEX: I may have caused a little hiccup with a multibillion-dollar project they’d been working on for years.
TEX: I have this thing about world domination. I’m against it.
CHELSEE: OK…? Details, please.
TEX: You’ll have to wait for our dinner date. I’ll need a couple hours and few cocktails to tell you that story.
CHELSEE: Fine. At least tell me why they’d be following you six years later. Have you had any run-ins with them since then?
TEX: Nope. And, as far as I know, Gideon Enterprises doesn’t even exist anymore. They got bought out a year ago by the M3 Corporation.
CHELSEE: The Maddux group?
TEX: Yeah. You know about them?
CHELSEE: I know Adam Maddux just became the world’s first multi-trillionaire. And I’ve been following what he’s doing with the Omega project. It’s pretty amazing. You must have heard of it.
TEX: Is it like The Omega Man? ‘Cause I’ve seen the movie and it’s not that amazing.
CHELSEE: Very funny. The Omega project is this massive island city out in the middle of the ocean, all built and run by the most advanced AI ever created. Totally self-sustaining, eco-centric… (Tex yawns) OK, never mind. [beat] So Gideon Enterprises is out of business. Someone is driving one of their old vehicles and following you. Why?
TEX: There’s only one reason I can think of. But it’s the most ridiculous reason ever. I saw something connected to Gideon in the Roswell facility.
CHELSEE: That doesn’t seem ridiculous. They did security systems, right? Maybe the Military was using them.
TEX: Not back in 1996. J. Saint Gideon was still running around in knickers and playing tiddledywinks, or whatever English schoolboys do.
CHELSEE: I’m confused, then. What was it you saw in Roswell?
TEX: That’s the thing. It was in my dream. I forgot to tell you that part. When I started accessing the old computer, a Gideon logo came up.
CHELSEE: Then it had to come from the other gizmo. The one you brought.
TEX: Exactly. The one I brought in my dream. Not in real life.
CHELSEE: But you’re saying this is the only connection you’ve had to Gideon in the past six years.
TEX: I know. That’s why it’s ridiculous.
CHELSEE: [after long beat] What if—just bear with me—it wasn’t a dream? You said it yourself: it felt real, not like any other dream you’ve ever had.
TEX: And what? I just forgot that little part of the adventure?
CHELSEE: People forget things all the time. It’s pretty common with trauma—emotional…head—which you’ve had more than your fair share of…or so you say.
TEX: Well, I managed to get through that whole day without getting cold-cocked, if you can believe it. [beat] Though… now that you mention it…
TEX: I may have passed out at one point. Just a little.
CHELSEE: Just a little?
TEX: For a second.
CHELSEE: Like you just took a nap for a second? What happened?
TEX: It was when I first got inside the complex. I figured it was something in the air. Gas, maybe. Then it cleared out and I woke up.
CHELSEE: Yeah. Nothing weird about that. [beat] Look, Tex, if it’s possible that what you thought was a dream actually happened, don’t you want to know?
TEX: I guess. But there is no way to know.
CHELSEE: Maybe there is. Angela is a psychology professor. Memory, dreams, mental issues of all types…she knows more about things like that than anyone. The regressions are just an extension of it. If you let her, she might help you figure out if it was a dream or not. And while we’re at it, we should have her do a regression with you.
TEX: Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and take a pass on that.
CHELSEE: Oh, c’mon, Tex. Please?!
CHELSEE: I’ll bet we could work out a deal. You do a session with Angela…and I’ll…do something nice for you.
TEX: How nice?
CHELSEE: (seductively) Really nice.
TEX: [long beat] I guess we can discuss it.
CHELSEE: Good. I’ll give her a call and set it up.
TEX (VO): I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into, but Chelsee doing something nice for me is an offer I can’t refuse. Plus, she’s right: if what I dreamed really happened, I want to know. Chelsee says she’ll get in touch with Angela and make arrangements. Before she leaves, she makes me take her cell phone so she can reach me when they’re ready. In the meantime, I have work to do on the Morozov case. I want to check in with Malden, and give Oleg Kalinin’s name to Agent McCovey at Interpol. I also have Kalinin’s photo. It’s a long shot, but if he’s stayed in a hotel somewhere in the city, maybe I’ll get lucky.
First though, I want to talk to Rook. I put on a suit jacket, adjust my tie and cover my bedhead with my fedora, then take the fire escape stairs down to the street. As I cross to the pawnshop, the door opens and a woman steps outside. It’s the same older lady I saw earlier at Chelsee’s newsstand. She gives me a polite smile and a nod as we pass each other.
As I enter the pawnshop, Rook is behind the counter, in profile, distracted. His face is twisted, contorted in a way I’ve never seen, making him almost unrecognizable. I think he’s…smiling. I had no idea his face could do that. And it doesn’t last. When he turns to see me, it’s gone faster than you can say:
ROOK: What do you want, Murphy?
TEX: And a good day to you, too, Rook! I just popped in to say hello.
ROOK: And now you’ve said it. Now you can pop right back out.
TEX: You know, after all these years, you think you know someone and then, this morning, Louie tells me that you’re some kind of computer whiz.
TEX: No? [beat] I guess I gotta quit taking Louie’s word on this kind of thing. He told me Clint was a big world traveler. Turns out, he’d only been to Tijuana.
ROOK: I’m saying no to whatever favor you’re about to ask of me.
TEX: So you are a computer whiz.
ROOK: Whiz is a strong word. But, yes, I know my way around a laptop.
TEX: And you’ve been selling computer stuff here for a long time, right?
ROOK: Yes, the key word being ‘sell’. Not loan.
TEX: I don’t need a loan. I just have a question about an old computer. Like from 1996.
ROOK: What’s the problem? Did your floppy drive quit working?
TEX: Good one. No, my unit is working just fine, thanks. I’m trying to find out if old PC’s ever used some kind of infra-red gizmo. It looked like a little like a mouse and plugged into a serial port.
ROOK: Why are you asking me? Go google it.
TEX: C’mon. I know you know all about this kind of stuff. Just tell me. Or I’ll start kissing up so hard it’ll make you puke.
TEX (VO): Rook rolls his eyes and toodles off into the back room. A minute later, he comes out with what looks like an old, dog-eared magazine. When he opens it up, I see it’s an ancient catalog for computer components. He flips through pages until he finds what he’s looking for, and then points.
ROOK: Is this your gizmo?
TEX: Yeah. That’s it.
ROOK: (exaggerated sigh) Long ago, before Bluetooth, external IR transceivers like this were used for wireless data transfer. But they’ve been obsolete for forty years or more. Now why on earth do you want to know about obsolete IR transceivers?
TEX: I just saw one.
ROOK: How exciting! Where?
TEX: In, uh…in a dream.
ROOK: A dream. And I thought my mine were boring.
TEX: Exactly. Why would I dream about a computer gizmo, especially one I’ve never seen before…never even knew existed?
ROOK: Truly one of life’s greatest mysteries. Now, either buy something or go follow your dreams…somewhere else.
TEX (VO): I probably didn’t need to check with Rook, but now—as much as I don’t want to believe it—I’m pretty sure my dream wasn’t a dream at all. The implications of that are disturbing, but I have more practical things to deal with at the moment. I use Chelsee’s phone to call Malden. He says they won’t let him put out on APB on Kalinin or even provide any resources to look for him or the Morozovs. I ask if he can check flight manifestos to see if Kalinin and/or the Morozovs have flown out of town, but he says not without a warrant. He tells me he checked the Argonaut’s surveillance footage, but couldn’t identify the imposters. So…not one bit of good news. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. To be honest, the only thing I’m surprised about is that Malden’s actually trying to help.
I call McCovey and fill him in on what little I know about Oleg Kalinin. As usual, he says he can’t do a thing for me and I’m starting to think he’s being serious. Clearly, I can’t count on anyone else to help me track down the suspects or victims. With nothing but a twenty-year-old picture of Kalinin and the photos of the Morozovs, I do the only thing I can: start pounding the pavement.
For all I know, the Russians are all long gone, but I have to hope Kalinin was staying in a hotel and someone can give me a lead to his whereabouts. I start with New San Francisco’s highest-end hotels and work my way down. For the next five hours, I hit twenty-three different hotels and go through the same spiel. No luck. It’s almost a relief when Chelsee calls to let me know she and Angela are ready for me.
I fly my Lotus back to the Ritz and climb the stairs to my office. Chelsee’s been busy. The place is lit with dozens of candles and the refreshing scent of Maui Kazowee air freshener has been replaced with burnt sage. I hear music coming from my bedroom—relaxing, mystical New Age style, which—on my musical taste spectrum—slots in just above Opera and just below a catfight.
CHELSEE: What do you think?
TEX: I love it. Does this come with a free mani-pedi?
CHELSEE: Very funny. I just want to help you get as relaxed as possible.
TEX: Gotcha. [after a beat, seductively] I’ll tell you what would really relax me…
TEX: It’s been a long time since I got good and relaxed…if you know what I’m saying…
CHELSEE: [whispered] You are a naughty boy.
TEX: Yes, I am. Very naughty. I think I need a good spanking—
[Angela clears her throat loudly in the b.g.]
ANGELA: Hello, Tex.
TEX: Oh, hey. Angela. How you doin’? I didn’t see you there…in my bedroom.
ANGELA: Why don’t you two come in and I’ll let you know what we’re going to do.
TEX (VO): I follow Chelsee into the bedroom. It’s darker in here, with just a single candle on the nightstand. Angela’s hologram is in the corner, sitting in one of my office chairs. In this low light, you’d never know she wasn’t really there. I sit on the edge of the bed, while Chelsee stands near the door.
ANGELA: We thought you’d be most comfortable lying on the bed. And the more comfortable and relaxed you are, the better. Is there anything special you do to relax?
TEX: Well, other than my first idea, I guess maybe a drink. Is that allowed?
ANGELA: Absolutely. In fact, I usually recommend a glass of wine.
TEX: Yeah, uh—
CHELSEE: —I’ll get the bourbon.
ANGELA: To get started, go ahead and take off your shoes and coat, loosen your tie and get comfortable on the bed, while I tell you about the process. [beat] From what Chelsee has told me, it sounds like you may have a lost memory. If I understand correctly, this memory is a gap between events you do remember, so we’ll be using a technique known as Serial Memory Recall. This refers to recalling events in the order of their occurrence, so I’ll have you start at the beginning, when you first arrived at Roswell and we’ll look for cues that might trigger the lost memory.
TEX (VO): As Angela is talking, Chelsee returns with a glass and the bottle of bourbon. I ignore the glass and drink straight from the bottle, then lie down and stretch out. Chelsee sits next to me and, after a moment, starts running her hand through my hair. It feels amazing. I haven’t felt it since my mom used to do it when I was a kid. The bourbon starts kicking in and it’s like I’m floating on an 80-proof cloud. Angela tells me close my eyes and then, in a soft, slow voice, begins to speak:
ANGELA: Let your awareness just go on its own adventure. Let it lead you to a tranquil, happy place.
TEX (VO): My mind drifts, eventually taking me to the home I grew up in. I feel myself sinking, getting deeper. I’m in a well-lit hallway, with doors on both sides.
ANGELA: Each door has its own character, personality and construction. But there’s one particular door that’s calling to you.
TEX (VO): I’m drawn to a white wooden door with a brass handle. As I reach out to push it open, Angela starts to count down:
ANGELA: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
- Malloy audio (Roswell complex)
- Archie audio (Item 186)
- Ghost in the Machine: “I can help you get inside…”
- Tex: “It’s pitch-dark…”
- Malloy audio (Something got loose)
- Ghost in the Machine: “Network Operations Center…” (backwards)
- Alarm low-battery beep
- Tex: “I’m waking up…on the floor…”
- Moaning (Alien Entity)
- Ghost in the Machine: “Use the device…”
- Soldier audio (It’s killing everyone!)
- Bodies Convulsing
- Tex: “There are lights on now…they weren’t on before…”
- Alarm low-battery beep
- Loud Moaning (Alien Entity)
- Fitzpatrick audio (That is the Power Cell)
- Moaning, Convulsing (Alien Entity Attacks)
- Ghost in the Machine: “You will have no memory of this…” (backwards)
- Long Fade Out to Silence
TEX (VO): I’m not quite awake. Everything is quiet. After a moment, I open my eyes, see the ceiling above my bed. Late afternoon sunlight is streaming in through the open bedroom door. I stretch and slowly sit up. Chelsee is sitting in the chair where Angela’s hologram had been.
CHELSEE: How do you feel?
TEX: A little foggy. Where’s Angela?
CHELSEE: She’s been gone a while. You’ve been asleep for a couple hours. How much do you remember?
TEX: Not much.
CHELSEE: It was the same for me, when I did the regressions. Angela said it’s almost the same as what she did with you.
TEX: So, what happened?
CHELSEE: You’ve been through a lot, sweetie. I had no idea.
TEX: What about my dream? Was it real?
CHELSEE: Oh, yeah. Definitely. It happened during that time when you thought you were passed out. Angela has no idea how or why, but you actually you did everything you saw in your dream. Then, apparently, went back to where you were, like nothing had happened.
TEX: And that’s when I woke up. I remember now that something was different…had changed after I passed out. It was totally dark when I lost consciousness…but the emergency lights were on when I came to. I didn’t think anything of it at the time…didn’t even really notice. I guess it was me who turned on the power…and woke up the…whatever it was.
CHELSEE: [after long beat] It’s really scary, Tex.
TEX: Yeah. It was.
CHELSEE: Not just what you went through. I mean your lost memory. How could someone cause that to happen? Make you do something, risk your life, and then erase the memory of it?
TEX: I don’t know. But I need to find out. There’s a connection to Gideon Enterprises, we know that for sure now. And someone needed me to get something into or out of the Roswell complex. If I can figure out what that was, maybe it’ll lead me to the person behind all this. If I’m gonna get some answers, looks like I may need to go back to Roswell…