I suddenly found myself freefalling from an airplane with a few of my friends. At first, I didn’t know whether I jumped out willingly, or if I was pushed out. I soon realized that I was wearing a parachute, so it must have been my choice to jump. As the initial rush of adrenaline began to subside, I noticed some of the guys pulling their cords and being jerked up sharply as their parachutes filled out. I finally pulled my cord and started gliding toward our landing zone: a dusty, barren area in the high desert. We were to land near a deep river that sliced its way through the dry, sandy wilderness.
The sun had been scorching the desert all day, and the moment my feet hit the hard-packed earth I began to feel the heat emanating from beneath me. As I freed myself from my chute, I gazed into the cloudless sky to see who would be the next to land. My friends still seemed far away, so I began to walk toward the river. From up above, I hadn’t been able to tell that the side of the river I was standing on was so much higher than the opposite bank. As I neared the edge of the water, I realized that I was a good twenty feet above the opposite bank and the water below. Beads of sweat began to run down my face as I contemplated jumping into the cool, refreshing water. If I were to jump, however, I knew that there would be no way for me to scale the sheer rock face I was standing above.
I turned back to see a few of the guys had landed already, and were eagerly discussing their atmospheric exploits. As I started toward them, they all started walking toward me, no doubt wanting to jump in the river just as I did. As they neared I explained to them the situation, and then I noticed that Ted wasn’t with them. We all looked up in time to see him just coming within shouting distance. He hit the dirt and quickly doffed his equipment. Boyishly laughing and screaming, he began to run toward the river. I yelled for him to stop, but it was too late. Before we knew it, he had jumped in the river and was calling for us to join him. We all ran to the cliff’s edge just as he realized why I had told him to stop. The river was swiftly carrying him downstream, so we walked along the bank as we tried to figure out what to do.
After about half of a mile, the ground began to slope downward and eventually, Ted was able to crawl out of the water and onto the bank. At this point we all jumped in and began swimming around in the cool water. As I was swimming toward the shore, a glint in the water caught my eye. I dove down and pulled out what I thought to be a human tooth. I dove again and grabbed another white object that turned out to be some tube caps used in molecular biology. I therefore concluded that a scientist had been murdered and his body dumped in this river. My friends all concurred and we initiated an investigation into the murder.