In Trails: The Backbone Preludes, there are tons of branching paths to take the four player characters down. In most cases, these involve making the right dialogue choices during each chapter, and are usually pretty simple decisions that you can make, altering the characters' fates ever so slightly.
Sometimes, however, the tasks in front of you are a little more complex. In Renee's first chapter, it's up to you to examine all the details about a grisly fire in the West End and convince your partner, Lukas, that something is up with the reports. Renee is suspicious and the ensuing conversation is quite the puzzle for those who want to convince Lukas.
The Events Of The Fire
Using Renee's terminal, you can examine detailed reports about the case she's working on: a police visit that escalated with the death of a suspect, and then a fire in that same building just after the incident. There are four important documents to read: the crime scene report, the officer reports from the two officers who attended the crime scene, and the fire department's report from the fire.
Below you'll find all of the information that the four reports establish in time order.
- At 11:02, police received a call from a third-floor tenant in the building, citing domestic violence concerns and smoke rising from the apartment of Castor Stone and Iliana Rowe.
- The police arrived on the scene at 11:42. Stone initially refused entry to his home, but the officers barged in after hearing signs of distress.
- Stone was said to be wearing only pants and shoes.
- The apartment smelled of smoke, with some smoke remaining around the ceiling.
- Stone was acting menacingly, while Rowe was hysterical.
- The second officer drew his weapon first in an attempt to calm Stone down. At the same time, the first officer went to the kitchen and noticed the oven open and tools scattered around it, with a strong smell of electrical and wood burn.
- According to the second officer's testimony, Stone made threats toward him and charged at him with a sharp implement. The second officer shot Stone. This was preceded by a yelp.
- The first officer saw the second officer's injuries and shot Stone two more times, killing him.
- According to these reports, Stone was shot once in the abdomen and twice in the chest.
- Rowe was taken into custody.
- Both officers' statements mention that they found no evidence of a fire hazard in the apartment.
- At 12:09, the coroner and detectives arrived on the scene.
- At 12:15, Detective Jack Hewey filed a police report that stated the following:
- The suspect's apartment is small and in poor condition.
- The body was found close to the door, and is a Beaver in his mid-twenties.
- He arrived at the same time as his partner, McKenzie.
- McKenzie inspected the body while Hewey looked around.
- The body had three bullet holes - one in the abdomen, one in the torso, and one in the neck. The initial guess is that the suspect bled out to death.
- The suspect, also a Beaver, was wearing no shirt but did have suspenders on. His body was covered in blood and a layer of what might be soot. He has a burn mark on his top-left shoulder.
- There was a tire iron close to the body, but it didn't have splatter marks on it.
- The kitchen was a mess, covered in soot and ash. There was a lingering smell of something from the oven - possibly gas, though that detail is redacted. The oven was tampered with.
- An addendum states that the officer saw nothing that implies there was a fire hazard.
- At 13:45, the fire department was called about the fire in the building.
- At 14:12, firefighters arrived on the scene.
- The cause of the fire was an ignited gas leak on the second floor - Stone and Rowe's apartment.
- The fire claimed many lives and destroyed the building.
A careful reading of the information above reveals a few inconsistencies:
- The officers' reports and the crime scene report all specifically mention no fire hazards, despite the smell of gas and the tampered oven.
- The officers stated that Stone was shot only in the abdomen and torso, while the crime scene report makes it obvious that he was shot in the neck.
- The officers stated that Stone came at the second officer with a sharp implement. The crime scene report found no sharp implements, only a tire iron.
How To Convince Lukas
To convince Lukas, you'll have to be very sure about the details of the case and where things don't add up. It is important not to make assumptions and only to use the evidence before you. For example, while it may seem obvious that the police reports mention the smell of gas, that fact is redacted and therefore is not on record, so you can't use it in your arguments.
The table below contains the correct responses to each question Lukas poses to you about the case.
Where did the fire start?
Not sure. Somewhere below the third floor.
How do you know that?
The first call came from someone on the third floor and mentioned smoke from a downstairs apartment.
Lukas sees your point.
When did the fire start?
Before the second call, at 1:45 PM.
How do we know that?
The building wasn't on fire when the cops showed up, Lukas.
Lukas sees your point.
Anything else that comes to mind about it?
Was there reason for the cops to be suspicious?
They heard a distressed voice from inside.
Sounds pretty clear-cut, right?
I suppose it does.
And how did they enter?
They breached the door.
What was his reaction once people were inside?
He was hostile.
In what way?
He threatened them.
Did the reports state how?
Sort of. But the reports make no sense.
What do you mean? Didn't he attack them?
So how? One report states he had a blunt instrument, and another that it was a sharp object.
Lukas sees your point.
So, what happened next?
One of the officers left the room.
Do we know precisely what happened in the hall during that time?
It's unclear. The stories don't add up.
What are the discrepancies? What is this about?
It's got to do with Stone attacking the other cop.
Does the report specify how?
Like I said, he insulted and threatened the cop. And then attacked.
Oh, right. And with what?
Again, like I said, the testimonies don't add up.
The reason you shouldn't pursue 'anything else that comes to mind' in the first part of the conversation is that everything you can bring up, such as the weird way every report signs off about the lack of any fire hazards and the fact that no firefighters were called to the scene despite the smell of smoke being reported, can all be explained away by Lukas, who is not convinced. It is better to skip this section altogether to make your case stronger.
With these answers, you should be able to convince Lukas that something is up and he'll start looking into it for you.
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