“Prof. Yōgan Shinobu, from the International University Library of Lava.”

“Constantina-Evangelene Prokopiou, attached to the incident investigation team. You can call me Punkin, though; everyone else does.” Instead of responding to Punkin’s outstretched hand, the professor moved to open a large drawer.

“I was quite surprised to hear that a member of the incident team, even a temporary one like yourself, was coming to see us here,” Yōgan said. The drawer contained hundreds of labeled samples of dark igneous rocks, with notes on their age, composition, and method of collection. “Our methods are more geological, than criminological.”

Punkin opened her case and set down the sample within the tube. “We were hoping you could identify this,” she said.

Yōgan produced a pair of spectacles and examined the sample tube as proffered. “Hmm. Pahoehoe type, certainly, but something is off about the composition. Not enough silicates, perhaps?”

“Are you telling me, Professor, that you can’t identify it?”

“I assure you I can, though anyone who is capable of identifying a lava sample by eye is less a scientist than a magician,” said Yōgan. “But as you can see, our collection is quite comprehensive, and I am certain that the proper tests will show this sample to be quite unusual. Where did you acquire it?”

“Apartment 339, the Regency Apartments West, Chicago, Illinois,” Punkin said. “It filled the room and incinerated its contents, and occupants, in seconds one week ago. The incident investigation team needs to know how, and why.”

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