Run Jenny 6




Captain Jack Sparten of the Paragon Police Force sighed as he flipped open cheap manila case folder sitting on his cluttered desk. This was going to be a tough one to cover up, he decided. Five female bodies, just girls really, were found together in a nasty, stinking alleyway off of Cleveland and Park. Of course, Sparten thought, not even that moron of a street cop O’ Harick believed that these girls had been killed there.

Sparten shook his head and wondered where he’d find a hole deep enough to shovel this mess into. Five dead was a lot for even Paragon City. Worse, all the girls looked exactly the same – identical quintuplets - give or take a tentacle, 3rd leg and a poisonous spine or two. Sparten had managed to head off the press for now, claiming the homicides were gang related. Now he had some time to doctor up the coroner’s report.

He’d already assigned detective Larry Hughes to the case. A good bought-and-paid-for cop, was Larry; the captain could count on him to ignore any evidence Sparten wanted, investigate in a proper white-wash manner then write up an almost incoherent case report. The one saving grace of this whole mess was that all the dead girls were “Jennies” – a “Jenny” was cop-speak for an unidentified and unclaimed female corpse.

Still, he wasn’t sure if he could keep this one quiet. Someone had illegally cloned these young girls – an automatic sentence of life in prison – then performed horrible genetic experiments on them. The tired captain shuffled through the crime scene photos and pulled one out – a shot of Jenny 1 and 2. At the scene, Hughes’ rookie partner had taken one look at them before puking down the side of the dumpster. Sparten couldn’t blame him, really. Both of these girls had wet, sucker-covered tentacles growing from their stomachs… and breasts… and mouths.

Sparten flipped to the next photo. Jenny 3 wasn’t so bad… just a 3rd leg, hairy, and ending in a giant clawed foot. The next photo was Jenny 4 -- an awful tangle of poisonous spines and mangled limbs.

He put down the stack of photos and poured a little courage into his coffee mug. Sparten knew he’d need it for the last two photos, though for different reasons.

He picked up the second-to-last photo and took a good hard look. Jenny 5 was the most normal looking; no physical mutations, just a sad, dead girl. But her face…her face had shaken Police Captain Jack Sparten down to the tips of his black leather shoes. After looking at Jenny 5 at the scene, he had taken the time to go back to each body and stare into its face. They were all the same and he knew this face.

Time had not diminished his memories of the cute raven-haired lass that lived a couple of blocks away when he was a kid. It was her; it had to be. His family was strictly middle-class while hers came from money. They had played together nearly every day until their teenage years, when she went away to Europe and into private schools.

Years later, she moved back to town and married well. He never expected to hear from her again, but one night she called and asked him over for drinks. Clarissa van Dorn, the head of Crey Industries, said she wanted to reminisce. Of course what she really had wanted was a contact in the police force. For his help with the occasional difficulty, she helped his career along, and every month he quietly received a thick envelope.

Well, Sparten decided, it looked like it was time to earn that cash. If Clarissa was cloning herself, not only would she want this covered up, she would want to know about the last photo he was holding.

He looked down at the last shot from the crime scene. It wasn’t of horribly mutilated girl. No, it was of something Sparten was sure would bring him more trouble. The photo clearly depicted a set of bloody footprints limping away from the center of the scene. Someone had escaped alive. Police captain Jack Sparten picked up the phone and dialed the emergence number that Clarissa van Dorn had given him. While it was ringing he wondered

Where in the world was Jenny 6?