Chapter 45: Roll Call
Gu Zhichang laughed and called Chen Ting in.
He explained everything, especially the importance of the lwa enforcement qualification exam. “You didn’t pass last time. If you give it up this time you will only have one more chance during your probation period. Then you’ll have to pass or else, and at that time there might be some work distracting you. My advice is not to miss this exam. There’s plenty of chances to work on cases, but this exam is more important for your career. You don’t want to have to return to your previous post in the publicity department snapping photos do you? And the Political Affairs Section might not want you back then either. What do you think?”
Zhang Chi looked at Gu Zhichang, then at Gu Shi. Neither showed their feelings. They just stood there waiting for his decision.
Gu Shi’s silence at a moment like this just about drove him crazy. If she would only reveal as sliver of hope or urgency he would definitely choose whichever she decision she wanted.
“Who else is being sent on this trip?” Zhang Chi asked.
“Director Yu said he wanted Gu Shi as well,” Gu Zhichang said without thinking. Gu Shi was acknowledged this silently, still poker-faced.
“I’ll skip the exam this time,” Zhang Chi said immediately. “I’ll go on the trip.”
Gu Shi was suddenly irritated. “Don’t be so impulsive, okay? You haven’t even analyzed the pros and cons; how can you make a good decision like that without thinking rationally?!”
“Rationally?” Zhang Chi laughed, looking at Gu Shi’s expression. “I think I’m very rational.”
Gu Zhichang said nothing, just continued watching them both happily.
Zhang Chi turned to him. “Teacher, I’ve made my decision. I’ll go on the trip like the organization arranged it. I’m giving up personal benefit, and it won’t put you in an awkward position. It’s a really good decision. Besides, don’t you all believe this ace student not passing last time was a fluke?”
“Ace student?” Gu Shi said.
“You can go ask around. I was ranked second in my field at the police academy. No one will say he was first.”
Gu Shi eyed Chen Ting doubtfully. He hadn’t been paying attention, but when he heard that he nodded in a hurry.
She had nothing to say. She huffed and spun around. “Ah, whatever. If you say so. I’ll go make the report then.”
This time Gu Zhichang found it inexplicably funny. “You two kids. Sometimes I think neither of you will ever grow up.”
Gu Zhichang was in Captain Liu’s office. Whenever they got together to talk they’d shut the door and smoke. “Your two capable go-getters are leaving, but our work still continues,” Captain Liu said. The case isn’t looking too optimistic right now.”
“Our work can still continue without them.”
Captain Liu smiled. “I don’t know. When it comes to utilizing people, you are utterly merciless. Your own daughter, your favorite apprentice. Aren’t you worried you’ll wear them out, put too much pressure on them?”
“You said yourself that young people needed to steel themselves. That’s not without merit. Sometimes the more pressure one is under, the larger their potential. Look at Zhang Chi. Didn’t he help us with his portrait sketches to find two suspects int the shortest amount of time?”
“That’s because he had the reliable clues you obtained. Otherwise he never would have been that fast.”
“The clues I obtained were reliable, but without seeing them, no license plate or cell phone, it’s all empty talk. However, sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Those two were truly innocent. After a long interrogation we learned those two had made a wager.”
“A wager? They were playing Russian Roulette.”
Gu Zhichang laughed. “Of course. From my experience that was just about it. But life is often more dramatic than novels. We encounter everything.”
He imitated their appearance for Captain Liu to see. “See, one of them said, ‘You’re really unlucky. You just got out and do the same thing again and get caught by the cops.’ Not to be misled, the other one said, ‘I’ve turned over a new leaf. Does no one believe me? I rely on my trade to make a living, why would I still break the law? If you want to blame someone then blame the boss for being unlucky!’”
Captain Liu was interested. “And then? So they just went there to get caught?”
“It wasn’t to get caught. The other one said, ‘You just didn’t know what you were doing. That anti-theft window wasn’t sturdy enough, otherwise how could it be pried open? There must have been a big racket and it must have taken a long time!’ Hearing that, the other’s interest was piqued and the two made a bet. They decided to go after supper to look at the wrecked anti-theft window at the scene. In order to avoid suspicion they went in the middle of the night.”
“They brought their tools with them? They weren’t afraid someone might take them for real thieves just making up an excuse and going back for a second run?”
“You could say they were naive. Don’t ask; later I figured it out. Those two really wholeheartedly rely on their trade to get rich. The real reason is for family. The wife had not remarried after so many years and didn’t want to let others down. He was a stranger to the child at first, but now they are very close. He mulled it over and decided it was worth trouble to make a little money.”
“Of course. Well, saves us some trouble anyway. Just a shame the leads end there.”
There was a knock at the door, three gentle knocks. Gu Zhichang knew it was Gu Shi. Anyone else on the team would have just charged in directly.
Captain Liu happily let her in. Gu Shi didn’t usually come looking for the boss. When she came in holding something during a case it usually meant there had been some progress. “Come in, sit down, sit down.”
Gu Shi didn’t modestly decline, but sat and handed them a sheaf of photos. “We used our techniques to narrow down the cell phone numbers. I compared the fingerprints and footprints. These people right now are our lead suspects. They match the characteristics of the previous gang robbers.”
“How sure are you?” Gu Zhichang asked. He knew his daughter was a cautious person, but he still wanted to use a process of analysis to go get further confirmation.
By guiding her through her workflow he could also check for deficiencies, and at the same time let his boss know the amount and difficulty of the work involved, that making a report was not a simple matter.
Gu Shi knew was he was doing, so she explained patiently. “Previously, we handed the application over to be completed as soon as possible. Following your orders we used the ‘triangulation’ method and checked all telecommunications messages within functional range, sifted through them, combed through them, and narrowed down to the timeframe of the crime, and determined thirty-five suspicious cell phones. They were all the same in that they had never been to the crime scene before the crime, but during the time of the crime they were in touch with each other. After a brief cutoff they left the scene at the same time.”
“Gang robbers really do make frequent calls before and after the crime. That’s a good train of thought.” Captain Liu nodded.
Gu Shi continued. “Of those 35 phone numbers we looked at the overlap between the area of their communications and the area of their work and analyzed it. Their leader had never been to this district, but appeared at the same time in the area before the crime took place.”
Gu Zhichang nodded. “That’s a strong possibility.”
“Then, I made a comparison of the fingerprints and footprints I had obtained earlier. At present I can only identify one person. The others are not in our database at the moment, only their identification information.”
“Well, bring him in as soon as possible. When are you two leaving?”
“Early tomorrow morning.”
“You all go on home now and rest up first,” Captain Liu instructed. “You’ve been working overtime the past several days, and then you have to leave on a business trip. That’s a lot to put on you. Be safe while you’re away. IF you need anything give us a call.”
“Remember, no matter how far away you are, this will always be your home,” Gu Zhichang added. “If there’s any trouble you can call in reinforcements at any time.”
The three of them laughed happily.
Gu Shi frowned, looking a bit anxious. Another major case to face. She’d been through this numerous times, but she still always felt anxious and uncertain as if it was her first time. Plus, she had to leave even though this case here had still not been solved. She was one who liked to see things through to the end, so she really felt helpless here.