Teresa Hickman is an attractive lady, about forty-ish, with long dark hair. We met today at her home in Hellas Basin, well below the surface where the cosmic particles rarely strike. She invited me inside and we sat down in a beautifully furnished living room. It was well lighted from the faux windows which currently showed an ocean beach with tall waves crashing over rocks. I could even slightly discern the low rumble of the surf in the distance. The effect was quite realistic and soothing. I didn’t let myself relax, though. I was here to do my job, to bring a killer to justice, and this woman had grown up with him.
“Miss Hickman,” I began.
“Please, call me Teresa.” She smiled.
“Teresa, I’m investigating a series of killings on Mars, working in conjunction with the OIS and the Martian Constabulary. I’ve got a few questions that I’d like to ask you about your brother.”
“You mean, is he batshit crazy? The answer is yes.”
“What makes you say that?”
“The government screwed up his brain. He was a nice kid, a normal boy, a good brother. When he got out of their stupid program he was totally different. Messed up.”
“He was different. How so?”
Teresa paused and looked down at her hands as she wrestled with them. Then she looked up at me and said, “You ever been in a relationship with someone and then one day you realize you didn’t know them at all? It was like that, except I did know him. I knew him since we were little kids. But when he came back it was like night and day. We both had all the same memories. He was in there somewhere, but everything familiar was gone. He was distant, and we no longer had any connection. It made me incredibly sad.”
“Did you notice anything else unusual about him?”
“Other than everything?” She smirked with irony. “Oh he hurt me a couple times. He doesn’t seem to have any empathy anymore. Can’t seem to understand that I feel pain too.”
“What did he do?”
“I was making dinner for us and he got angry. Didn’t like the food and threw the plate at my head. When I cried and bled he just sat there not knowing what my problem was.”
“How long did this go on?”
“About five minutes. I threatened to call the cops on him if he didn’t leave. That was the last time I saw him.”
“Has he attempted to contact you since?”
“No,” she said and waved her hand. But a slight aversion of her eyes told me something else.
“Not at all. Not an email, a voicemail?”
“No.” Again the slight aversion.
“I understand.” I said. I also understood that I would get nothing else out of Teresa, at least nothing truthful. “I think that I’ve used up enough of your time. Thank you for speaking with me.”
We both got up and she saw me to the door.
I want a look at Sister Teresa’s mail, because she’s no saint. Baxter has her mixed up in his plans somehow and I want to know how. But Martian laws won’t allow a look at her communications without good cause, which I did not yet have. There is another way though. I’m going to need to have a little chat with Angel.