TSA Chapter 44

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Chapter 44: Craftsman

Gu Shi saw that his expression wasn’t flattering or feigned. She resumed her work, putting her material in order. “Your composite sketching is entirely different from my trace analysis, but you can still use a computer to save labor. Don’t you still have that software developed by composite sketch experts? Whether you draw it or the computer draws it, the final result is basically indistinguishable to a layman. You still need a composite sketch artist’s experience, just the methodology is different. It’s not cutting corners.”

Zhang Chi finally understood what she was getting at. He shook his head. “It’s totally different. Computers are still not advanced enough yet to compare to manual drawing, otherwise why do works of art labeled “handmade” fetch a higher price? There’s a reason for that.”

Gu Shi restarted her software program and got to work. “I agree with you there. Advanced technology is just a supplementary tool, useful for reference and learning. If you want it to be done well, sometimes you need the mindset of a craftsman. No shortcuts. Just hard work.”

Zhang Chi suddenly had the feeling that great minds think a like. He didn’t want to disturb her so he turned and left so he could focus on questioning the security team captain and start sketching. After three or four hours engrossed with his sketch board, he had two portrait sketches, so detailed you could see the distinctive features of the eyebrows.

Looking out the window at the houses lit up with lights against the night, an image of Gu Shi’s earnest face when she had spoken with him earlier appeared before him, then her crouched on the floor collecting prints, and her absorbed gaze as she studied the computer screen.

When she was focused she was even more breathtakingly charming. It was a miracle he was able to control himself and not think of her and go all out in his work.

Gu Zhichang took Zhang Chi’s sketches and hurried into the conference room. Everyone was thrilled to see him. “We found them. Little Wu and Zhang Chi have brought them back. I’ll let you all know how it went after the interrogation. Here are their i.d. cards. Chen Ting, run a background check.”

Chen Ting took the cards excitedly, went to the office, put in the security code, and began a search. Gu Shi turned to watch him as he dashed in. “What’s all this? Are the people in the sketches suspicious?”

Chen Ting was surprised. “How did you know it’s them? Way I see it, they’re getting more and more suspect, whether motive or possibility of them committing the crime.”

Gu Shi passed by the break room before she headed home. The door was half-closed. The security team captain saw her, but Zhang Chi continued sketching as if no one was there. The person on his sketch board was not vivid as a photograph, but it wasn’t far off. Seeing him coolheadedly absorbed in his work, and the security team captain’s look of admiration and respect, she knew this time it was likely the composite sketch would be a success.

“Do either of them have previous convictions?”

“You tell me,” Chen Ting said, exasperatingly slow. “From our investigation’s point of view, one coincidental appearance is a coincidence. “A second appearance is no longer coincidental. A third appearance? That’s premeditated. That’s how he look at it, right?”

Gu Shi thought. “Makes sense. You could say that.”

“Look at them. First, their movements this month and their basic needs were all within the vicinity of the office building. That’s normal. Second, they have prior convictions. Their crime was larceny. They’d been out of jail for over half a year. Third, two weeks ago they were hired to guard the company against theft. In other words, they ought to know the company well, and be familiar with the interior layout. However, there’s no BYD registered to either of them.”

“The BYD isn’t the key. But those three coincidences coinciding at once, if it has not been confirmed that they were not at the scene, and their financial situation was unusual, then it is definitely very possible they could be the culprits.” Gu Shi saw Chen ting still sitting there, pondering. “Whatever, just report the situation according to the facts and deliver it to the interrogators.”

She shook her head as she watched Chen Ting loaf out of the room. She answered the office phone. “Oh, Director Yu, hello. Captain Gu, he’s not in right now. Zhang Chi? He’s not in this office, but he’s also not here at the moment. They’re both in the basement interrogation room questioning someone, so their cell phones are not in use… Okay, Director Yu, I’ll deliver the message right away and get back to you as soon as possible.”

She called her father, but as expected, he didn’t pick up. She hurried out of the office, nearly colliding with a staff member.

The staff member was angry and about to go off when she looked up and saw it was Gu Shi. “Section Chief Gu, can I please transfer back to the justice department? Don’t say I’ll just complain there too; it’s just that the criminal investigations department is the worst. It’s really too hard to work here. I have to inform people of things, but I can never get ahold of anyone. No one answers the phone, and these things have deadlines. If I don’t tell people in time and miss the deadline, won’t it be me who’s to blame?”

Gu Shi stopped and tried to console her. “No one has it easy. Who do you need to inform? There’s a lot of people in the basement. I’m going there now, I can give them the message.”

“Look, this year’s last law enforcement qualification exam. And the training board is so annoying, every time we have signups they get terribly anxious and don’t give us enough time to make reservations. We’re an office, not a political body. It’s not easy to make arrangements for the work we do here.”

Gu Shi went over and looked at the notification times and took a picture with her phone, made an “ok” hand gesture, then patted the staff member on the shoulder to comfort her before running off toward the elevator.

In the basement interrogation room a suspect was looking around nervously, while the other had his head down. Neither spoke. They could feel the tense atmosphere through the one-way glass.

Gu Shi knocked on the door and stuck her head in. She called Gu Zhichang out. The two suspects were all smiles when they saw the cold, beautiful lady officer. They even whistled.

Gu Shi had not even shut the door before she heard Zhang Chi banging the table. She jumped from the shock and heard Zhang Chi yelling from inside. “Show a little more respect. Do you know why you’re here?”

Chen Ting, in the outer room, also jumped. He shrugged and asked a nearby officer, “What’s with him? Why so angry?”

Gu Zhichang shut the door and asked his daughter, “What is it that’s so urgent?”

“Two things. Director Yu called. He said there’s serial murder case in another province that involves one of our city’s unsolved murder cases. He said the State Council opened this case and set up a special investigation team. Time is of the essence. He wants Zhang Chi and I to go at once.”

Gu Zhichang was delighted. “That’s good. Go. This shows your special talents are being recognized by the leadership.”

“The problem is, aren’t we in the middle of a case?” Gu Shi said.

“Don’t worry about that. Just hand your work over to someone else. I’ll have Chen Ting follow up on it. As for Zhang Chi, he knows the details of the case and has been to the scene. If we need him any further we can link up later. Public Security is a family. We handle cases wherever it’s needed. Don’t get hung up on which case it is, or whose jurisdiction it’s in.”

“That’s not what I meant. Still, there’s another thing. Zhang Chi might not be able to go. There’s a conflict with this year’s final law enforcement qualification exam. I looked at the time and distance, and if he leaves now he won’t be able to make it back in time.”

Gu Zhichang frowned, thinking. “I’ll have to talk with someone about that. After all, this will affect his future development. If he wants to take the test then I will talk with Director Yu.”

“Dad, you really want to go up against leadership for him again?” Gu Shi said in a low voice, a bit unhappy. “Your reputation is valuable, and you never fought for me for anything, but you always go to bat for him.”

“Ah, silly kid. You’re still jealous. Do I not love you enough already? Have I not taught you enough? Suffering is a blessing. You need to rely on yourself, completely, if you want to succeed. Then no one else can say anything. You don’t want to always live under your father’s shadow, do you?”

Gu Shi pouted and laughed despite herself, and complained lightly. “Old man, I can’t win against you. You always make sense, and in the end are always looking out for me.”

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