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August 22, 2005
A Story, Bit-by-Bit
Superego: Part 14 - Everything on It
All Dip could turn up about Senator Gredler was rumors of all the sleazy things you'd expect a politician to be involved in (the wise man is distrustful of anyone who seeks power). The guy was a real power player - planets moved at his beckoning - but that still made him a relative small fry compared to intergalactic criminal syndicates (our power isn't limited by who we have treaties with; we go wherever our weaponry allows us). Still the Galactic Alliance was the largest political movement I've seen, and it could be a threat to organized crime were it to grow - something I would think would be encouraged by us publicly killing one of their highest ranking politicians.
A piece was missing. It was Diane's job to fill it in. In my hotel room, I rearmed (smaller, even more concealable pieces) and dressed casual for our "date." It was not going to be my goal to woo the Detective - for all I know, she could be a dyke (call me sexist for suspecting a woman who has a 78% percent chance of being attractive who isn't married at her age, but I just say I'm being observational; my guess is she's too tied up with her job for much of a personal life, though). I just wanted to get her to trust me as a fellow cop so I can get more information out of her. That was a new challenge for this psychopath, but I'm all for broadening my horizon.
Our meeting place was at a pizzeria. She was seated at a table wearing the same clothes she had on while on duty; apparently she was making this just a meeting between two fellow officers of the law - except, I knew she was suspicious of me. Plus, if she assumed I had any intelligence, she knew I knew she was suspicious of me. This worked well for me because it meant I wasn't the only one who was going to be trying to act normal.
She smiled when she spotted me - somewhat perfunctorily - and asked, "How's the leg?"
I took a seat across from her. "Little stiff, but it seems to be in working order. Still haven't found anyone to fix the hole in my pants, though."
We laughed at my joke. I scanned her face to better see her true feelings, and noticed she was doing the same to me. This could be awkward.
"You seem to be in good spirits after all that's happened today," she stated, trying to sound complementary.
"I wish I can say that was the worse I've been through."
Her response was stopped by the waiter - some gray alien type I'd never seen before. He seemed to be familiar with the Detective and curious about her company. She told him I'm a police officer from another planet and left it there. "So what do you want on the pizza?" she asked me.
"Whatever you recommend." I couldn't care less. I usually eat the blandest things that give me the needed nutrients; eating is a functional thing for me. On occasion, I spoil myself just to keep my stomach used to rich foods and preservatives for situations such as this.
She ordered a "supreme" and a Coke to drink while I asked for bottled water for myself. I was somewhat wary of a restaurant meant to make human cuisine but run by aliens; what's poison for some is yummy for others. Still, I decide I could trust the Detective on her choice in pizza joints.
"Sorry that a pizza is about all you’re getting for your heroism," she told me with a slight smile, "It really is best to keep things quiet about you; we are certain more terrorists are lurking around the city."
"And are you out to find them right now?"
"Now I'm eating dinner. Then I'll be heading to the outskirts where our best leads say the terrorists are hiding. It looks like some more of these smaller attacks are to come and then something big planned for the main day of the conference."
"And then you have an assassin after that Senator on top of all that. Seems like your plate is full."
"I'm not on that case," she told me, and I could detect the disappointment. Interesting.
"Why do you think an assassin is after that man?"
"I can't really go into those details, Rico."
I decided to look a little offended. If there was any information I needed, it was that. If this hit by the syndicate had been ratted to the police, that meant big trouble. "Well, any idea why someone would want that politician dead." I cracked a smile. "Is he too honest?"
The Detective laughed heartily at that one. "Definitely a 'No' to that one."
"So he's extra-crooked?"
"I don't know." But she suspects something. I could tell it. "So, things sound pretty rough on Rikar. Are they going to get along without you?"
"There are a lot of people I trust on the police force, and I just needed a break from all the violence." I then chuckled, because that was ironic. "Was hoping to find some more civilized means of police work to bring back there. We don't need detectives as much most of the time because sentients will not even try to hide their crimes. Whether we apprehend the perp is a matter of whether we feel we have enough people and arms to do it."
"Any chance of your planet joining the Galactic Alliance?"
"We'd need to organize ourselves more, first. How does that work out for you?"
She shrugged. "It needs work. It at least allows us to pursue criminals to other Alliance planets."
I laughed. "How often are fugitives dumb enough to flee to an Alliance planet?"
She didn't laugh. "Not often enough. At least with this current case I'm looking for people I'm pretty sure to be on planet."
I decided to look more serious. "Such a stupid thing. These terrorist murdering people because they think some giant robot is a god. Religion can lead people to the dumbest behavior."
Oops. Looks like I offended her, though she tried to hide it. "Are you religious, Rico?"
"No, not really, Detective."
"What keeps you going then?"
Great. Now we're down conversation paths I hadn't planned for. "What?"
"Sounds like it can be rough on Rikar. What motivates you to keep at it?"
It was a somewhat philosophical question, so I let my self pause to think which I thought would not appear odd. "I guess... because people need me. Never really thought about that too much." Seemed like a good answer.
The Detective considered my response for a moment. She then chuckled nervously. "Sorry; I guess I'm asking a lot of questions; hard habit to break."
I smiled; I'm good with convincing smiles - I can even get the eyes right. "I'm asking questions, too. I'm really curious in all this. You have terrorists plus an assassination plot, and I'd love to see how an organized police department handles that. Is there any chance I could tag along with you as you try to find these terrorists?"
"I don't know..."
"I might be of some help. I got a good look at the terrorists and their demeanor."
"Yeah, there was a way to them... a way to all sorts of killers. The terrorists all had a certain look to them... in their eyes. It'll be visible in terrorists planning to attack later... even if they try to hide it."
The Detective laughed. "Really?" She didn't think I was serious, and I really was.
"Hey, I don't know the area, but I know criminals. I think I can help. If I get in the way, tell me; I won't be offended." I smiled. "Anyway, I should be able to avenge my ruined pants." I decided that was too cheeky since people died and thus quickly became more serious. "And it's hard to see people gunned down like that and not try and help."
She was quiet for a few seconds. "Okay, Rico. I'm afraid you'll still have to be unarmed."
"Then don't make me enter anywhere first," I laughed.
"I'll pick you up tomorrow morning. If the terrorist have marked you, you'll be safer among us anyway."
I smiled, and then came the pizza and drinks. If I could really help her, then she'd have to trust me and I could get the info I needed - maybe get in close with Senator Gredler's defense even. And, ironically, I might even actually for once save more people on a planet than I kill.
Considering the defenses I'd have to fight through to get Gredler and get out, not likely though.
"You like the pizza?" the Detective asked as she finished chewing a bite.
"Yes." I truly did.
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