The church where the victim’s funeral is being held is a triangle-shaped building with a sloping roof and a bright patchwork mosaic on the front. A few scraggly trees stand outside and in one part of the garden there’s a broken well that’s been covered over. A lowered veranda leads to a dimly-lit entrance way. You can’t see into the building itself, the narrow windows obscure any answers. You can tell that the funeral has recently ended because you can see some cars leaving and a group of ten people assembled out front.
It’s odd, every attendee is wearing sunglasses. Their expressions are strangely slack, yet you feel like you’re being watched.
A woman breaks from the group and crosses the lawn, smiling with too-white teeth. “Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m Astrid Crane. Are you lost?”
You can read the question in her passive aggressive words: why are you here? She’s wearing sunglasses like all the rest. Dawn’s warning about the glowing eyes makes you wonder if they’ve all been replaced, or are just funeral goers hiding tears.
You answer, “My uncle here knew Dawn.”
“Interesting. She never mentioned any out of-town friends,” says Crane.
“My uncle bought a lot of her artwork. He was so sad when he heard. Do you know what happened?”
“Such a tragedy,” says Astrid but changes the subject. “Will you be staying long?”
You notice the other bystanders have crowded closer. “Not long.”
“Good,” she says. “I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse me. I have an important appointment.”
“Wait!” You try to follow but the bystanders block your path. One shoves past you roughly. By the time you get through the melee, Astrid is in the distance heading for the oval.
Lang whispers, “How much would you bet half these people have been replaced and she’s responsible?”
You go to follow her but Lang says, “Wait!” He’s staring at one of the people leaving. It’s a little old lady pushing a walker. She’s a shrivelled, tiny thing with a crazy tuft of grey hair and wearing a voluminous knitted shawl. A gaggle of cats are following her. She elbows past you with surprising strength for an old lady.
“I know her. I’m sure that’s Crimson Hex,” says Lang.
“A wanted criminal in fifteen star-systems. If that’s really her…” His eyes narrow. “Then she’s definitely a part of what’s going on.”
Bonney Theatre: Follow the old lady, a potential alien criminal? If she’s wanted in fifteen star-systems then her being here is no coincidence. You cross Fowles Street and continue back downhill, cross Langdon Terrace safely, and head past the Information centre. You walk cross Pascoe Terrace and reach the Bonney Theatre building opposite the Information centre.
Oval: Or do you follow the evasive Astrid to the Oval? The townspeople are acting strange and Crane is definitely the most clued in and suspicious. Turn right and continue down Langdon Terrace until you reach the oval at the end of the street.