The Suburbs - Last week

Someone had called into the Remnant line. A young woman, scared: "I heard screams next door, and then I saw a woman running away, covered with blood. I think she was carrying a baby."

One team was sent to the house, and another to find the woman and child. The first team found a gruesome sight. A man and woman, handcuffed to the radiator, each of them killed by a single slice across the throat, with blood everywhere. A preliminary search of the house proved there was a missing infant, with the dead couple the presumed parents. The findings were radioed in, both to HQ and to the other team.

"I've got it," Carol radioed in. She was one of Remnant's Wraiths, trained in stealth. Either the target was an innocent witness of the crime who had managed to escape with the child, or she was a murderer with an infant hostage. Carol was betting on the latter, but either way, they couldn't use a lethal attack. Shooting the target with a tranq dart might cause her to drop the baby. Challenging her and ordering her to surrender might escalate the situation. It was Carol's goal to have the baby in her possession before the target even realized an encounter had happened.

The target had left a blood trail - easily seen in Carol's display as she flew low to the ground, along the alleys. She was catching up fast. Cloaked spotters were being teleported in along residential rooftops to locate the target's current position. Parts of the map on Carol's display went dark as they were ruled out. And then a bright red dot appeared. "Gotcha."

Now she didn't need the trail. Carol shot up into the air, a parabolic flight to arrive in the street ahead of the target, then match speeds with her as she passed, like the next person in a relay race. The woman seemed to be running heedlessly, with no fixed goal. Carrying a baby in both arms slowed her. Being in sandals slowed her more. The baby was crying. Good. It was still alive. Carol flew alongside her, completely stealthed, the target unaware of her. And she waited for the perfect moment.

It came. The woman stumbled, put out a hand for balance, leaving the baby in one arm. Carol snatched it, and was teleported away before she finished saying the word "Recall."

The sudden baby-snatch left the target even farther off balance. She fell to the ground, grasping at nothing. "No! My baby! Where's my baby?" she wailed. When the Remnant soldiers surrounded her, she kept asking them what had happened to her baby. Once they assured her that "her" baby was safe, she surrendered.

The handcuff keys in her pocket, and the bloody knife with her fingerprints on it found at the scene were proof enough that she was the killer.

When they tried to locate the neighbor who had made the call, they were unsuccessful. Everyone was shocked at the murder that had happened so close, and completely cooperative in their fear, but no one had heard any screams. A sound technician compared the recording of the caller to the suspect's voice, but they weren't a match.

At first the suspect continued to claim that the baby was hers, but eventually broke under questioning. She made a full confession, signed herself over to the Penal Company, and the case was closed.

The Temple of the Sacred Order of Cunningham - Today

Pastor Ellen, her face stained with tears, steps up to the pulpit, carrying a baby boy. The same orphan that had been rescued a week earlier. A single coffin at the front of the altar rail held his parents.

"We are gathered here today to pay final respects to Elder Robert Savick and his wife Sister Katherine. Our grief knows no bounds. But we are comforted that it takes place in the shadow of new life, a life that our beloved brother and sister gave their lives to protect - their son Preston..."