The Homicide Squad Files
Author's Note, August 11 2004:
For my contribution to the Basin’s fourth birthday I’m reprising some of the best forum posts from an early Basin group.
Among the current group games is Mission Homicide, which is the fourth incarnation of the original Homicide Squad team. That long-forgotten hardcore no-twink group – formed years ago by the man who would become my Basin mentor – was my introduction to some of the Basin legends from those early days. Lacking the experience, skill and notoriety of some of the other group members, my contribution was to chronicle the weekly outings of the group. I generally neglected that duty and instead inflicted graced the Basin forums with a frivolous post thinly disguised as a reminder of the weekly Homicide Squad assembly.
Here is one of those early posts:
Homicide Squad Handbook
With the overwhelming demand for cow games on bnet these days, a criminal wave of cow rustling has erupted. To cope with this onslaught it is vital that Homicide Squad officers learn to identify criminal cow rustling elements. Fortunately, these denizens of the Secret Cow Level fall into several readily identifiable profiles.
Here, for your careful study in advance of this week’s patrol, are the prevailing profiles of the Most Wanted cow rustlers.
A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT COW RUSTLER:
A SOCIALIST COW RUSTLER:
A DEMOCRAT RUSTLER:
CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE:
DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE:
BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE:
AN AMERICAN CORPORATION:
A FRENCH CORPORATION:
A JAPANESE CORPORATION:
A GERMAN CORPORATION:
AN ITALIAN CORPORATION:
A RUSSIAN CORPORATION:
A SWISS CORPORATION:
A TALIBAN CORPORATION:
A POLISH CORPORATION:
This and other early posts for the group had no particular pattern or theme. That changed with the creation of the Homicide Squad Rap Sheet, which arose from this thread:
Homicide Squad Alert
The Scandal Must End !!
Fellow Homicide Squad members, our fraternal brethren in other groups are talking behind our backs. The players of sister organizations are whispering about us. And it isn’t pretty.
We had hoped no one would notice when we failed – week after week – to post on these boards. All the other groups post. They do it religiously.
But not us. For last night we posted no plan for the evening’s events. For our previous outing, we posted no after-action report. The week before, nada. Before that, squat. Now the secret is out.
It began as a rumor, but didn’t stop there. The chat rooms have been buzzing. The back-channel messages have been flying. They’ve been talking about us. And do you know what they’re saying?
They’re saying, “How do those guys do it?” They’re saying, “The Homicide Squad must be telepathic. They rock. They kick derrière. They take names. And they do it without posting.”
Well, I’m sure you agree that this cannot go on. If we are to stand as a beacon of inspiration for the citizenry we protect, then we must not demoralize other organizations. We must not cause dissension among kindred groups who share in the fight against crime.
Instead, our course of action is clear: We must post.
Now, we could do the expected. We could engage in conventional posting. We could have a clerk routinely file a form saying “The Homicide Squad will assemble next Tuesday,” or “The HS met last night and killed monsters.” We could do that every week, for years.
Or we could do something totally unexpected. We could engage in posting so radical, so novel as to capture the attention, the hearts and minds of the entire Basin community. In short, we could begin posting the Homicide Squad Rap Sheet.
For those who are not familiar with the Rap Sheet (which includes pretty much everyone, since I thought up the concept just a few minutes ago), it is much more than a sterile announcement or dry chronicle. It is a treatise, a tutorial, a topical testament to our times. Insight it reveals. Wisdom leaps from its pages. Humor, of course, is forbidden.
I know this would be a momentous step. So it is apt that the decision whether to post the Rap Sheet be put to the entire Squad. Given the potential ramifications, an adequate window of time is needed for debate of this proposal. Although I am personally in favor of the Rap Sheet, time for extended deliberation is especially crucial so that anyone opposed to the idea will have ample chance to articulate their position.
So I am asking that anyone against the idea prepare a thoughtful analysis of their reasons, write it up in a solemn essay befitting of this august forum, and then append it to this thread.
To be certain that we afford any dissenters the fullest opportunity to express themselves, I’m suggesting that this be done within, say, the next 20 minutes.
“. . . . 14 minutes, 20 seconds . . . . 14 minutes, 30 seconds . . . “
". . . . 19 minutes, 50 seconds . . . time!”
Well, it is certainly heartening to see the unanimity among all of the views expressed for this proposal. As always, solidarity is the watchword of the Homicide Squad.
Oh, and this just in from the news wires: “In a 5-to-4 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared the Meeting Place forum’s voting results to constitute an overwhelming mandate for publishing the Rap Sheet.” ‘Nuff said.
Now I know what you’re thinking, fellow Squad members. You’re thinking, “How can I get the job of writing the Rap Sheet?”
It is only fitting that the task be assigned by the appropriate legal and procedural precedents. I am speaking, of course, of the centuries-old, hallowed legal doctrine known as “first dibs.”
And friends, the first dibs are mine.
So until someone pries the keyboard from my cold, dead fingers (which – considering this is hardcore – could be any time), I will issue an edition of the Homicide Squad Rap Sheet each week, typically on Monday Morning.
Whether anyone reads it will be another matter.
Semi-regular weekly editions of the Rap Sheet appeared from that point on. Here are some of my favorites:
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 1
Police Union Basics
The recent downturn in the Lut Gholein economy has resulted in a reduction of hours for all law enforcement officers. At the same time, incursions by criminal factions have terrorized the citizenry at several private, high-profile events. The policemen’s governing union body, Local 555, therefore encourages its members to supplement their wages by pursuing contract procurements to furnish security at private functions.
Because these contracts are let for competitive bidding, it is crucial that union law enforcement representatives understand the basic concepts and terms involved in the procurement process. This week’s Rap Sheet presents a guide to the essentials:
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 2
The Latest Scientific Developments
The Homicide Squad Forensic Unit keeps itself apprised of the latest state-of-the-art in the hard sciences: Ballistics, fingerprint analysis, DNA testing, etc. But developments in the theoretical sciences are less closely monitored. So by way of refresher course, here is an overview of how instruction has changed in the field of mathematics over the course of recent decades.
Teaching Math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
Teaching Math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
Teaching Math in 1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set "M." The set "C," the cost of production, contains 20 fewer points than set "M." Represent the set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?
Teaching Math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
Teaching Math in 1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? (There are no wrong answers.)
Teaching Math in 2000: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120. How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit margin is $60?
Teaching Math in 2010: El Loggero se habla with the truckero y se ponen de acuerdo con otro driver de la competencia y etc. . .
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 3
Learning Foreign Languages
With Kiki_Bear returning this week from his tour of duty in Russia (the Squad can’t wait to see his new red pelt), the rest of us are a bit behind on our foreign language skills. Because the Squad’s patrols range through a variety of lands, where all manner of suspects may require “interrogation,” this week’s Rap Sheet provides a refresher course on essential secondary language skills.
The Homicide Squad learns Greek
The Homicide Squad learns Irish
The Squad learns Scottish
While wandering around outside the stadium, the American officer came upon a construction site, which gave him an idea. Grabbing a length of scaffolding, he presented himself at the gate and said, “Johnson, the pole vault,” and was admitted.
The Scottish officer, overhearing this, went at once to search the site. He found a sledge hammer, presented himself at the gate and said, “McTavish, the hammer.” He was also admitted.
The Polish Squad officer combed the site for an hour and was ready to give up when he spotted his ticket in. Seizing a roll of barbed wire, he presented himself at the gate and announced, “Kowalski, fencing.”
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 4
Homicide Squad officers routinely appear in public, under a variety of circumstances. The importance of maintaining appropriate demeanor at all times is essential to the Squad’s long term effectiveness. The following case study is furnished for Squad members to digest, in connection with future courtroom appearances.
After a long and difficult investigation, the Homicide Squad arrested a Goatman for the crime, and charged him with murder. The defendant had been the last one seen with the victim, and had earlier threatened the Druid’s life. When taken into custody the Goatman was wearing a Harlequin Crest Shako customized with the victim’s name. The defendant had a long rap sheet, including several violent felonies. And an informant said he heard the defendant bragging about “doing away with” Druid EasyTouch.
But the Homicide Squad couldn’t find the Druid’s body, so the case went to trial without any corpus delicti. The prosecutor’s case nevertheless went well. She succeeded in establishing a motive, and the evidence showed that the defendant was not above the most villainous of deeds. The only hope for the defense arose from the fact the Homicide Squad had not found a body.
In closing argument the defense attorney addressed the jury. “Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard a great deal of circumstantial evidence of how my client was the last to see Druid EasyTouch, and how my client wanted him dead. But consider this: Desiring the end of someone’s life is not a crime, and being the last to speak is no reason to be executed. The prosecutor has done her best to ignore the fact that no murder has been shown. In fact, after considerable effort we have succeeded where the police failed, and have found Mr. EasyTouch, the alleged victim.”
The attorney pointed to the doorway at the rear of the courtroom and said, “Druid EasyTouch is alive and here today, and in five seconds he will walk through that door!”
All 12 jurors turned to the entrance at the back of the courtroom. But it remained closed.
After a long pause the defense attorney continued. “Unfortunately, he is not here. We could not find him. But for a moment you all thought he was here. Isn’t that because you have a reasonable doubt in your minds whether he was killed at all?”
The jury retired for deliberations. They returned after just 10 minutes. The verdict was “guilty.”
The defense attorney was incredulous. “Didn’t I create a reasonable doubt? Didn’t you all look at the door?”
“Yes,” admitted the jury foreman. “But the defendant didn’t.”
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 5
Learning the 8 Phases of a Criminal Investigation
Among the many duties of Squad veterans is the training of cadets. No subject could be more relevant to modern (as in Medieval) crime fighting than an overview of the phases of a criminal investigation:
1. Enthusiasm and excitement among those assigned to the case.
All Homicide Squad members are asked to report for duty at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 6
Thinking Under Pressure
High stress is a given in the Homicide Squad. Operating at peak performance is rarely easy in stressful situations. This week’s
Two off-duty Homicide Squad officers were in line to deposit their paychecks at the Harrogath National Bank. Suddenly, a trio of heavily armed Moon Lords burst into the bank and shouted, “This is a stick-up. Everyone line up against the wall!”
Once the customers and bank staff had been herded into a line, the Moon Lords began at the far end, looting each one of wallets, jewelry, rare items, etc. As they worked their way toward the off-duty officers, the first one whispered to his buddy, “What should we do?” The second one quietly responded, “Take this,” and pressed something into the first officer’s hand. “What is it?,” the officer asked. “It’s that $100 I owe you.”
All Homicide Squad members are asked to report for duty at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Homicide Squad Rap Sheet: Issue 7
“Listen up, Grasshopper”
As Team Homicide Squad heads toward the tri-fecta of Baal, octogenarian seniority, and Guardian status, Squad members may think back on the wealth of knowledge gathered while coming up through the ranks.
This week’s Rap Sheet reflects upon the value of experience enjoyed by seasoned veterans.
A senior Inspector in the Homicide Squad is leaving Lut Gholein for Kurast Bazaar to investigate a rash of duping. As the Greyhound Wagon he is riding gets underway, the Inspector learns that his seat-mate is an overeager Cadet at police school, who fancies himself as an information jockey. The Inspector is tired. He just wants to catch up on his sleep.
The Cadet says, "Hey, do you want to play a game, kind of like trivia, to pass the time?"
The Inspector explains that no, he doesn't, he just wants to take a nap.
The Cadet says, "But this is really interesting: here's how it works. You ask me a question, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you five gold pieces. Then I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me five gold pieces."
The Inspector, noticing that the fellow is armed with the latest information technology (an almanac), and really just wanting to take that nap, declines.
The Cadet then says, "I'll tell you what. You ask me the question, and if I don't know, I'll pay you FIFTY gold pieces. If I ask you a question you don't know, you just pay me the same five in gold."
The Inspector, thinking that he's never going to get to sleep here, says, "All right. What goes up the hill on three legs, and down the hill on four legs?," and then puts his head over against the side of the wagon and closes his eyes.
The Cadet thinks very hard, can't come up with the answer, and looks frustrated. He grabs his almanac. He pages through it feverishly. He tries the Table of Contents, the Index, and then looks at random pages, all without success. He searches everywhere he can think of for an hour, and can't come up with the answer. He finally, very frustrated now, takes out a pouch with 50 gold pieces, nudges the Inspector awake, and says, "Here. I just don't know."
The Inspector takes the pouch and says, "Thank you," then leans his head back against the side of the wagon, and closes his eyes.
The Cadet says, "Wait a minute: what DOES go up the hill on three legs, and down the hill on four legs?"
The Inspector sits back up, opens the pouch, shakes out five of the gold pieces from inside, hands them to the Cadet, leans back against the side of the wagon, and goes to sleep.
All Homicide Squad members are asked to report for duty at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
After many weeks of play at a pace that can only be described as ‘insane’, the Homicide Squad found itself lined up in the Basin channel, posing as Guardians. The next morning a screenie of that lineup appeared on the boards, together with this final post:
The Homicide Squad Finale
Kudos and Curtains
HEAR YE, HEAR YE, all members of the Amazon Basin community:
COME NOW the eight original members of the no-twink hardcore group Homicide Squad, and present themselves for a just accounting of their deeds, from which may it hereby be adjudged and decreed that:
WHEREAS, Detective_Munch (aka Bill Williams) conceived of and founded the group, shepherded its members through countless travails, and learned to run laps across all patrol maps while shouting warcries to widely divergent Squad members; and
WHEREAS, Colonel_Panic (aka Drew Bernat) established the constitutional borderline between laying-on-of-the-hurt-with-Smite and cruel-and-unusual-punishment, while cutting a dashing figure among the ladies of Lut Gholein, Kurast, and other urbane locales; and
WHEREAS, heidiHiHC (aka sheepdog) demonstrated the superior wisdom and judgment of a grizzled veteran of the streets, as well as consistently daring to refer to a certain other Squad member as “Mom”; and
WHEREAS, Kiki_Bear (aka NoCoolName) traversed continents to study and bring back crime-fighting techniques from the Urals, the Caucuses, and other truly “red” zones, caused fur to fly in numerous arrests, and pelted suspects with unbear-able force before slapping them in claw-strophobic interrogation cells; and
WHEREAS, Trinia demonstrated why one will find in any dictionary a single-word definition for “masterful,” “omniscient,” and “protector-of-all,” namely: “Enigma”; and
WHEREAS, Captain_Cadavre (aka Flick) discharged his duties at all times with a maximum of irreverence, explosive gore, and infectious humor, while creating dance steps that neither D2’s software writers nor Fred Astaire ever dreamed of; and
WHEREAS, Suhayma (aka Sadira) (aka “Mom”) (aka “She who must be obeyed”) single-handedly balanced the mondo-testosterone of the Squad with her level-headedness, good sense, and charm; and
WHEREAS, these seven intrepid Squad members, with GrimDoom in tow, did set out seven months ago on their first patrol from the Rogue Encampment in Normal; and
WHEREAS, these Squad members did weekly assemble and patrol every precinct of every jurisdiction in the land, and did apprehend and render unto toast every criminal to be found therein; and
WHEREAS, the Homicide Squad did complete its tour of duties last night with the apprehension, sentencing, and execution of the criminal mastermind Baal in Hell.
THEREFORE, let it be known far and wide that said eight members of team Homicide Squad are adjudged worthy of the appellation “Guardian,” and shall henceforth bear that honorific unto their final days.
** Wherever they now may be, Grim salutes his fellow Squad members for times long gone but not yet entirely forgotten. **
Grimborn. Reprinted with permission from this thread posted Aug. 2004.