“The remains of activist and national figure Elizabeth Steele were found scattered in an alley today after an angry mob armed with torches, pitchforks, and freeze rays-“

The TV clicked off.

“I was watching that.”

“Too much of this establishment stuff’s bad for your head anyways.” She tossed the remote to herself. “You know they’re not gonna tell you the whole story on the mainstream news. They’ll read you the Wikipedia article, parrot the police report, and maybe ask her best friend how they feel about it. They just don’t do hard-hitting reporting like they used to. They almost never publish classified documents in the newspaper any more, and it’s usually an accident when they do.”

“Is it so hard to believe that she finally went too far? People don’t just form angry mobs for no reason.”

“Exactly. Everyone at the Foundry was there to see Liz. The lady WAS mad science. She made the whole lab coat and goggles look so cool, it’s what our grandkids’ll be wearing at nostalgia cafés and on That 2020s Show. People don’t just turn on icons like that.”

“Sometimes it’s cool not to like someone popular, though. Think of all the popular people you don’t like.”

“Hey, that’s different.” She tucked a lock of inky black hair under her baseball cap. “I don’t like Justice Beaver because he’s a corporate shill. Totally different. It’s not like I wanna kill the guy. If you ask me, this was an inside job. Someone had a beef with her and decided they’d do it at her biggest public appearance all year. Someone who had it out for her.”

“Everyone liked Liz, though. You said it yourself.”

“Maybe it’s someone who’s not everyone.”

“That’s it. I’m turning the TV back on.”

The anchor’s voice buzzes back to life on the ancient tube TV. “Police reports say Ms. Steele was a victim of a violent sect within the larger Inspired community. Locals worry-“

“Man, come on. There’s no ‘violent sect’. This was a setup, plain and simple. If they were really out for blood, they wouldn’t have frozen her. The lady kept proton grenades tied to her socks for style’s sake. Anyone who knows her would have shot those. Gone without a trace. It had to have been someone who had it out for her, but didn’t know her too well. Someone who can sway people to their side, but wouldn’t bother to ask their opinions.”

“This is getting a little too ‘conspiracy theory’ for my tastes.”

“Nobody ever said being right was easy. I think it’s time for some real police work.” She plucked her peaked officer’s cap off the back of the couch and replaced her baseball cap with it. You know, so people knew she meant business.