The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Tag: Psychon

Stories involving the character, Detective Psychon.

Script Thief

Detective Psychon arrives on The Glimmingdrift where he works with a client to solve who has been leaking their play scripts to the press.

NOTE: This story takes place after Who Killed The Toymaker Aboard Starbringer II? and at the same time as A Rescue Request to Santa. However, I wrote this sci-fi story to stand on its own. Enjoy!


Every piece of media and publicity Detective Psychon found about The Glimmingdrift recommended seeing a live show in the Dionysus Circle district. Spawning from a shady gambling past, the current captain revitalized the spaceship city to be a theatre lover’s paradise. Performing arts venues replaced the twelve casinos, keeping the flashy neon aesthetics and repurposing them for the arts. A neon blue holographic billboard promoting, “‘A Disastrous Carol’ Written and Directed by Scourge” briefly caught the detective’s attention as he walked deeper into the district.

Pairing with the performing arts, visitors also knew Dionysus Circle for its eclectic culinary collection of food vendors. Each booth was a work of art, often embodying the dish they best served. While the detective had no use for food, in a past life, he would’ve had a hard time picking something to eat based on all the tantalizing aromas as he strolled past them.

All the detective planned to do during his visit aboard The Glimmingdrift was to see a client.

Vertically, the district was only two to three levels tall, allowing people with wings to fly around, but no need for upper-level pedestrian walkways. The detective stopped in front mini-tower consisting of an elevator base to a circular observation deck. At the top was a penthouse suite that doubled as a living and rehearsal space for the prestigious writer and director, Canopus.

“I’m here to see Canopus,” the detective said to the private guard.

The muscular brown sasquatch with a black hoodie and jeans sized up the short-by-comparison human vampire. “What’s your business?”

“I’m the new hat designer,” the detective lied as requested by the client.

The guard looked at Psychon’s ragged black pointy hat with various hand-sewn patches adorned on it. The guard shrugged and stepped aside from the door. “Canopus is waiting for you.”

The door automatically slid open, and the detective stepped inside the freight elevator, which was large enough for a few dozen people. The elevator walls and ceiling were covered with living flowers and ivy, smelling like a spring meadow. A few of the flowers had a metallic sparkle to them. As the door closed and lifted him to the only destination, Psychon recalled his initial conversation with Canopus. They spoke on a holographic video call via their networkers.

Canopus patted her forehead with a towel using one tentacle while the second used her flower sewn hat as a fan. Her third tentacle held the networker as the last one raised a glass of ice water to her mouth. She took a sip through the rainbow swirly straw.

“Look, I need you to find out how my stories are getting leaked to the press,” Canopus said as she sat the glass down. “I don’t want to accuse my troupe falsely, and I don’t want to come across as unhinged.”

“Is it one media outlet that gets the inside details?” Psychon asked.

“No, it changes every time, but whoever gets it, it’s an exclusive.”

“That rules out any media outlet. Do you have any suspects on your team?”

“My troupe is loyal,” she said with a hateful glare with her large eyes.

The detective opted not to question her statement further and went with a different approach. “I’ll need to infiltrate your team to be sure. They may be unknowingly or unwittingly helping.”

Canopus tossed the towel aside and put her hat back on, which gave her an idea. “You could be my new hat designer.”

Psychon adjusted his pointy black hat he made himself. “I can pull that off, and I now know how to solve your problem.”

The elevator dinged open with a gentle musical melody. Like the elevator, plants covered every inch of the ceiling. Most of the walls were transparent or were windows to the outside, making the circular penthouse feel larger than it already was. Before walking on the plush green carpet, Psychon took off his boots and placed them on the shoe rack with the others.

The detective only took a couple of steps when Canopus ran up and greeted him with a tight, warm hug that lifted him from the floor. If Psychon needed to breathe, he would’ve been struggling at the moment. Instead, he grumbled, and Canopus carefully returned him to the ground.

“I’m so excited to see you,” Canopus apologized.

“I’m excited to be working with you too,” Psychon said as he straightened out his black trench coat.

Canopus turned back to her troupe of eight people working together for their latest show. Each person sat in a plush pod hung from the ceiling that formed a circle, so everyone was equal in discussion and rehearsal. All nine pods were large enough to fit Canopus, who was the largest person there. The detective noted the diversity of the troupe. From the reviews the detective gleamed about the company, the mix of ideas and cultural backgrounds was a favored trait.

Canopus returned to her pod. “Everyone, before I give out the scripts for tonight’s show, I have a special associate who I commissioned to design you each a special hat for this production.”

Psychon took off his hat, then one by one, he walked around the room, pulling out a hat from inside his hat, which was bigger on the inside. Each black and red striped hat was similar in appearance as not to cause any jealousy. However, they were different enough in size and strip width to tell each one apart. After the detective passed out all the hats, he returned to Canopus.

“I hope everyone enjoys their hats,” Psychon said as he gave the last one to Canopus.

“These are exquisite,” Canopus genuinely praised as she put on the hat. She took a rolled-up poster from her pod and unraveled it to show only Psychon. “This is for you as a thank you. You’re the first one to see the poster for tonight’s show.”

“Thank you,” Psychon said as he rolled up the poster and put it in his hat. “It’s been a pleasure working for you.”

The detective tipped his hat and returned to the elevator. Everything was going according to plan.

The detective made himself comfortable in the corner of an underwater themed bar. He sipped on his glass of blood while his networker projected live feeds from the hidden cameras placed in each of the hats. With the show starting in a few hours, no one attempted to leak any details about the production. With tentative diligence, he watched for any sleight of hand tricks as well as any outsiders who might be spying on them.

When a news alert with breaking details about Canopus’ latest show popped up on his feed, he almost didn’t want to believe it. Earlier, he scheduled his networker to push any news about the show to him. He tapped on the news box from The Daily Cork. 

The article revealed exclusive details about the plot. The story even mentioned the wardrobe and hats for the show. It included several suggestions on what to eat that paired with the show. Then down at the bottom was a witness sketch of the show poster, which Psychon plotted with Canopus to make sure only he saw it.

Psychon closed the networker video. “Time to pay The Daily Cork a visit for answers.”

The Daily Cork was a one-person operation specializing in culinary news and reviews, with the occasional story about performances, usually with food recommendations. Luckily for the detective, they had an office aboard The Glimmingdrift, but it was a private residence, which meant he couldn’t barge in.

The detective learned the residential hallways were designed without any decorations so people would get to and from home quickly without any distractions. The bright purple walls did give Psychon a sense of luxury despite the minimal architect. He knocked three times on the white door to Room 289. 

The door slid open, revealing a young 28-year-old human woman, although the snakes in her hazel hair exposed she was half-gorgon. She wore a thick, white sweater and a pair of tight red leggings. 

“Hello, Alaia,” Psychon said, forcing a warm smile. “I saw your article about Canopus’ latest show, and I wanted to see if you be interested in interviewing me about the hats I designed for it.”

Alaia beamed with excitement. “Yes, please come in.”

With the invite, Psychon stepped inside. “Thank you.”

The detective studied the white minimalist zen studio apartment room. If Alaia was hiding anything or anyone, there wasn’t much space to do it. He didn’t spy any surveillance equipment, and Alaia didn’t seem to recognize him either.

Alaia took a cross-legged seat on a mattress on the floor, which was the only piece of furniture. She sat up with an immaculate posture.

“So, tell me, what’s the story behind this show’s hats?” she asked. 

“Well, Canopus hired me to find out who was leaking details about her shows to the press, and so I made special hats with surveillance equipment to track her staff.” The snakes in Alaia’s hair rattled with nervous restlessness. Psychon held up a warning finger. “Don’t even try to turn me into stone. Vampires are immune. Now, tell me, how did you learn about the show when I saw no one contacting you?”

Alaia’s posture slouched. “I got an anonymous message. They said if I brought them some stuff, they would give an exclusive. I’ve seen other publications get exclusives, and so I took it. I thought it was a publicity stunt at first…”

“What did they want in return?” the detective questioned.

“I can’t pronounce it, but here’s the message. They want wanted me to deliver it to a dumpster out back Canopus’ place.”

The journalist brought up the demands on her networker.

The detective swiped away the screen. “That explains everything.”

Canopus and her troupe stumbled up the penthouse entrance with celebratory bottles of wine and high spirits from a successful performance. The detective stood outside with the personal security guard.

“Psychon, it’s so good to see you,” Canopus said. “Do you have good news for me?”

“Yes, I’ve learned that your troupe is loyal, and you don’t have to worry about your shows being leaked to the press again.”

“Really?” Canopus said, about to drunk cry with happiness.

“Wait, I thought you were a hat designer?” one of Canopus associates asked.

“Detective is my proper title,” Psychon said.

“How’d you fix it?” Canopus asked.

“I set it on fire.”

“Set what on fire?”

“All of your plants, specifically the aglowies. Fun Fact: aglowies are native to the Yellow Planet and illegal on all the others. They are notorious for fusing with technology. They’ve been getting fertilizer in exchange for exclusive information about your shows.”

Canopus paused to take everything explained to her. “I got that plant as a souvenir when I visited the Yellow Planet for inspiration. That’s about the time when small little details started to leak to the press.”

Psychon nodded. “And as the plant grew bigger, it was able to expand its reach.”

A realization hit Canopus. “But the aglowies covered my entire place!”

“Yes, your whole penthouse suite is currently in flames. I had to get special permission from the ship’s captain, but once I explained the danger, she gave me access.”

The detective’s client took a big swig of wine. “I guess it was time for a remodel anyway.”


Script Thief - Dionysus Circle Scene artwork by Chen Kang at Design Pickle - black and white

For January’s short story, I wanted to reveal the case Detective Psychon was heading to that he referred in Who Killed The Toymaker Aboard Starbringer II? I thought it would be fun to explore more of The Glimmingdrift featured in A Rescue Request to Santa, having both stories take place at the same time. In the Santa story, I did mention Starbringer II landing there, so I’ve planned this idea in advance. I was also inspired by a bit of dialogue from a writing prompt, which I incorporated. The prompt was, ““How’d you fix it?” “I set it on fire.””

I got to work again with Chen Kang at Design Pickle to bring Dionysus Circle to life. I incorporated the tower in the background Chen drew as Canopus’ penthouse. Huge thanks to Chen for the fantastic art!

I have to say, I love writing a detective story in a speculative fiction world with Psychon as I can give him such weird and unusual cases. If you liked this story, be sure to click on the Detective Psychon tag for more with him.

Be sure to join me on Patreon to read my works first.

Who Killed the Toymaker Aboard Starbringer II?

Detective Psychon isn’t a fan of working while on the way to a job, but when the ship’s captain threatens to toss him out of the airlock if he doesn’t help solve the murder, he figures he should help.


Detective Psychon wasn’t a fan of working while on the way to a job, but when the ship’s captain threatened to toss him out of the airlock if he didn’t help solve the murder, he figured he was at a good place to put down his book on The Glimmingdrift.

“I suppose I can consult on this matter,” Psychon calmly conceded as he sat his book on the table.

“Thank you,” sighed Captain Kára Róta. “My clients are starting to get on my last nerve over this whole situation, and we don’t need more dead bodies from me killing them.”

Psychon didn’t doubt the capability of her frustration. She was a six-foot-tall humanoid lizard with sapphire-red skin and the build of a sprinter. Her wardrobe of black jeans, a black t-shirt with a blue tree on it, and a black leather jacket with a neon blue backlight collar presented her as a rebellious leader. She had a subtle scar over her right eyebrow, which is possible to correct, but Psychon assumed it was some badge of honor from a fight or a tragic reminder or possibility for looks.

Kára led the detective through the hallway and around a corner. The hallway’s soft blue metal walls and strips of light exhibited a style of luxury. The ship was a Class 15, so he knew it wouldn’t be far whenever he was going.

“What do you know about this murder?” Psychon inquired.

“One: the murder weapon was a spoon,” Kára stated. “Two: the victim died of asphyxiation. Three: the cat is missing. Four: the victim’s last words were, ‘Seven is a crowd.’ Five: The Train was early.”

They turned a corner where standing guard in front of an open door was a seven-foot-tall minotaur with red bull fur and muscles that could stop any intruder. Numerous pockets adorned his outfit, from his brown camo cargo pants to his matching brown shirt. The minotaur’s firm posture relaxed at the sight of his boss.

“What do you mean the train was early?” Psychon asked, confused as they were flying in space.

“The Train is the name of the deceased’s business partner.”

“Ah.”

The minotaur stepped aside to let Kára and Psychon inside.

“Thank you, Sinas,” Kára greeted. “Did anything happen while I retrieved the detective?”

“Everyone stayed put in their rooms,” Sinas happily reported. 

“That’s a relief,” Kára chirped. “Anyway, Detective Psychon, meet the deceased and The Train.”

Psychon stepped inside. The room was exactly like his on the ship with deep purple padded walls with a trim of white lights along the ceiling border. Sitting perfectly still on the large purple bed was The Train, a small furry green cube-shaped species known as quadratums. The Train began to speak, but Psychon held up his finger for them to be silent as he continued to scan the room.

On the floor was the victim, another quadratum. The deceased had a large spoon sticking out in their mouth. While The Train wore a formal three-piece black suit, their client had on a paint-stained hooded robe. Surrounding the body were seven different stuffed animals of original creatures.

Psychon let his figure down and gave The Train a look of acquisition. “Tell me about this person and what you’re doing here.”

“His name is Lignite, and he’s a toy designer,” The Train blurted out as he fiddled with his fingers. “We have a meeting on Viophus to discuss a manufacturing deal. We booked separate rooms, but we planned to get together to review our presentation. I was early for our meeting, and when I approached the door, I heard Lignite shout, ‘Seven is a crowd,’ and then I heard a loud thump. I banged on the door, and then I pulled out the backup key Lignite gave me if he locked himself out, which he tends to do. I let myself in and found him dead. I promptly called the captain, and here we are.”

“Found the cat,” a male voice called out from the hallway.

Psychon turned to the young adult human holding a black cat in his arms.

“Need to add a number six, one of these may be a lie,” Psychon commented to Kára.

“Excellent work, Rafael,” Kára thanked, ignoring Psychon. “Hold onto the cat.”

“Actually,” Psychon interjected. “Would you sit the cat down in the room?”

Rafael looked at Kára for confirmation. Kára nodded, and Rafael gently placed the cat on the plush, black carpeted floor. The cat bolted out of the room and down the hallway. Rafael ran after it.

“There’s something in this room that’s bothering the cat,” Psychon pointed out. “Tell me, Kára, can you shut off the fire suppression in the room?”

“Yeah, but why?” she replied.

“Humor me.”

Kára held a finger on her black bracelet. “Yo, Norbit, turn off the fire suppression system in guest room three, please.”

A robotic series of beeps replied over the bracelet. 

“It’s done,” Kára said. “Thank you, Norbit.”

Psychon took off his pointy black hat decorated with an eclectic assortment of patches sew throughout. He blindly reached around inside until he pulled out a red stick with a trigger on it. He gently pulled on the trigger, igniting a small flame from the point. 

“We should honor Lignite’s last request,” the detective proclaimed. “Seven is a crowd, so let’s burn these toys to honor him.”

“No!” plead the stuffed toy that was a cross between a unicorn and a beaver as it sprung to life.

Everyone except Psychon jumped back, surprised.

“A fabrication,” The Train muttered. “I-I just assumed you were some new toy I hadn’t seen yet.”

“That was the point,” the fabrication confessed. “Lignite’s been ripping off my designs, and when I learned he had a big deal coming his way, I wanted to make I got my fair share. When he wouldn’t cut me in, I shoved that spoon down his throat.”

With a crack of a smile on his face, Psychon strolled out with his hands in his jacket pockets. “Mystery solved. I expect my next ride to be free.”


This week’s short story was inspired by these two writing prompts. The First, “Write a detective murder mystery that takes place on a space ship.” The second: “We need you to solve the crime, Detective. What we know about the case is this. One: the murder weapon was a spoon. Two: the victim died of asphyxiation. Three: the cat is missing. Four: the victim’s last words were “Seven is a crowd.” Five: the train was early. Six: one of these may be a lie.”

I got motivated to write another detective story and I wanted to loop in the characters from Starbringer II in this mystery. If you liked this story, be sure to read my other stories with these characters by clicking on the character tags below.

The Case of Statue Trail

A freelance private investigator is hired to figure out why a client’s wife was transformed into a statue.


Much to the detective’s displeasure, the sun was out in full song and dance without a cloud in the sky. It’s not like he couldn’t work in the sun, but he had to take precautions to ensure his safety, which slowed him down. The client insisted on a rush job and offered to pay extra to start investigating now. He protected his skin with a refined black and gray suit with a subtle gothic flare of gargoyles on the jacket.

With one hand holding his enormous umbrella, Psychon glided his fingers over the face of a statue of a surprised young woman. The detective looked down the urban wilderness trail, making a note of the other sculptures decorated along the path. There were various species and genders depicted with nothing in common other than they had a scared look on their faces.

Psychon turned to his client. Her outfit was the opposite of his in every way – bright, floral patterned shorts, a matching sports bra, and running shoes. Psychon understood her blue skin wouldn’t catch fire like his under the sun.

“Are you positive this is your wife?” the detective inquired.

“Absolutely,” the client responded with firm calmness. “She’s punctual to the second, and when she didn’t return home from her morning jog, I retraced her usual route and found her here.”

Psychon pulled off his pointy black hat with an eclectic assortment of patches sew on it. He dug around inside and pulled out a black tube the size of his hand. He returned his hat to his head, pressed the device against the statue’s neck, and tapped the red button on the other end. The device emitted three, quick high-pitched beeps.

“Looks like your suspicions were correct. Your wife was turned into stone. Does she have any enemies, Karviná?”

The client scoffed. “How much time do you got? Being a corporate leader gets you a few.”

“I change by the hour, but how about you share me the short version of who can transform her into stone.”

Karviná crossed her arms and thought for a moment. “I can’t think of any.”

Psychon glanced around the trail, looking at the other statues. “Do you, by any chance, recognize any of these other statues?”

“Can’t say I do.”

The detective went up to the nearest statue and tested it with his analyzer. It emitted the same three beeps. “This person suffered the same fate.” He checked another—the same result.

“What are you thinking?” Karviná asked. 

“This may not have been a personal attack, or it could’ve been personal, and these people were bystanders. Not enough clues.” He kneed down for a close inspection of the ground, being mindful of the umbrella’s location as not to damage the statue or get himself roasted. “Interesting.”

“What’s interesting?”

The detective searched the ground for the same clue on the surrounding statues. “They were all turned to stone where they stood. There’s nothing to indicate someone moved them. Do you know when these statues first start to appear?”

“Come to think of it, she sent me a photo of one of the sculptures commenting on how it was new. My wife takes this route every day.”

“We should get the protectors out here to get everyone to a hospital to be healed. Once they’re restored, they should be able to tell us what happened.”

“But that process takes time, and whoever did this is still out there.”

“Very well. I have a theory, but I’ll need your help.”

Karviná jogged along the paved trail as it came out along a river. She hadn’t seen anyone for several minutes. She was doing her best to follow the detective’s instructions to be natural. It was challenging to resist constantly look over her shoulders, and with the upcoming stretch having no statues, she was on high alert. 

She turned her focus to the flow of the river, hoping the sight would relax her like the waterfall white-nose she listened to at night. She took a deep breath to center her mind when a woman jumped out in front of her.

“Hello, there!” the stranger greeted with an extensively cheerful smile. Paint splatter covered her long-sleeve shirt and well-worn white jeans. Only her rainbow pattern beanie cap was free of paint. “Would you like to make some art with me?”

“I’m just out here enjoying a jog,” Karviná stumbled to explain.

The artist pulled out a large knife from her belt holster. “But my project needs more volunteers.” 

The artist’s beanie flicked off her head as several gorgon snakes hissed to life. Karviná screamed, prompting Psychon to jump down from the treetops. While floating underneath his umbrella, he landed directly on the artist, knocking her down. He immediately handcuffed her, which neutralized the snakes.

“I can’t believe that worked,” Karviná said, coming down for an adrenaline rush.

“I already called the protectors to treat those transformed and to make an arrest.”

“Why?” the artist cried. “All those people with increasing terror on the faces as they got closer to the big corporate complexes. It was going to be beautiful.”

A pair of uniformed protectors spotted them and rushed their way.

Psychon gently forced the artist up. “Maybe next time, don’t build statues out of people.”


This story was somewhat inspired by the following writing prompt: “A man discovers that a statue in a public square has something strange. She seems way too real. He discovers that there is a corpse inside it. A detective is called to see this, and he figures out that every single statue in this square hides a corpse.”

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