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September 01, 2005
A Story, Bit-by-Bit
Superego: Part 22 - New Assignment
* * * *
As I looked at the interior of the police headquarters, I imagined my run through the halls and theorized where people would most likely be standing as I shot my way out. Pandemonium would be my ally and my only way out alive as countless blaster bolts would fill the building, most aimed at me.
Of course, there was no reason I'd have to shoot my way out of here, but it was fun to imagine.
"What are you smiling about?"
"It's a nice building," I told Diane, "I wish I had a place like this back home."
"Come on; I need to talk to the chief."
As we walked through the building, I got a number of stares and smiles. I guess the word of my "heroism" had spread.
"Heard about you and your new partner, Tommy-gun," said a plain clothes detective with a smile that asked to be punched out, "Good job. Lucky you got results, too, as, from the sounds of your methods, the Muslim community would have your badge for this under normal circumstances."
"Do you have a point?" Diane asked sharply.
His smile died a bit. He was about to introduce himself to me, but Diane pulled me along. Good. I didn't care who he was.
We entered an office where a stern looking Corridian sat behind a desk. "Close the door and take a seat," he said.
I took a seat as Diane closed the door. "I'm Chief Greeling," the Corridian told me, "So, you're the Officer Rico, I assume?"
"Yes, sir. I'm thankful that I was allowed to tag-along and see how things are done here."
He chuckled. "Detective Thompson is not exactly how we do things. Anyway, we are thankful to have you here; you've saved countless lives already. By the way, five terrorist were killed at Roppola Plaza and the bomb was defused." He looked to Diane - now seated next to me - with a grave expression. "Westler was killed in the firefight."
Diane was shocked and looked about to say something. I just held my tongue. It was work enough just appearing normal; I wasn't going to pretend concern over some guy I never heard of.
Diane recovered herself. "Have we uncovered their main plot?"
"Nothing was found in that basement that indicated a terrorist plot on the day Senator Gredler gives his speech."
I actually had to use effort to keep from laughing. I guess I was in a humorous mood. Me sitting here as some real cop hero was just too much.
Diane sighed. "What now?"
"That will be the concern of some other detectives. After your actions at the mosque, I have to take you off of this before we get anymore complaints."
"And when did we start caring about the opinion of those who help hide terrorists?" she shot back.
"Thompson, I don't have time for your religious bigotry," the Chief said angrily, "Sometimes I think you aggravate as much crime as you solve."
So Diane was right; they knew her record and sent her to get the job done so they could then yell at her afterwards to make it all right. I don't know why she would put up with that, and I decided to put in a word for her (least I could do since I was probably going to eventually kill her).
"Where I come from, the Detective was actually quite reserved considering the scum we were dealing with; I just know some of those people are going to be more trouble down the line. If anything, you should be pushing them harder."
The Chief just nodded. He couldn't yell at me; I'm a hero.
"Rico was certainly invaluable in this," Diane stated, "He has a very good eye."
"And great aim, from what I here. Was it your idea to send Rico in alone to the terrorists’ hiding spot, Thompson?"
"It was my own idea," I told him, "We didn't have time. I don't mean to be rude, but is there some point to this blather? We just stopped numerous terrorist attacks, but there still might be one big one to come and there’s an assassination of some politician to stop. Where I come from, we don't just sit back and chat when there trouble abound, and I don't understand what we're doing here."
Diane gave me a sharp look to shut up - which I ignored. I'm the hero cop; I can say what I want.
"We just like to review results so we can adjust in the future," the Chief explained, a little flustered. He looked to Diane. "I'm now assigning you to part of the search for the assassin aimed at Senator Gredler." He leaned closer to Diane and had a threatening expression. "You will in no way get near him, though."
So it wasn't just the Senator; it was something with Diane and the Senator. This was getting so interesting.
"Why would I want any involvement with him?" she answered casually.
The Chief looked to me. "If you are still interested in learning how we handle crime in Nar Valdum, I think there are some better detectives I could assign you with."
Diane had no visible reaction to the slight. "I think we made a good team, but it's up to him."
I could now see some worry in Diane. She still suspected me - of something if not being the assassin specifically - and wanted to keep an eye on me. If I went with some other cops, it could mean I could get closer to my target and learn more with less suspicion aimed at me. Still, Diane probably knew more than anyone who actually followed all these regulations these civilized planets have.
"I'd rather stick with Blondie here; she's made a fun vacation so far."
They both frowned.
"You two will be meeting with Galactic Federation officials tomorrow morning," the Chief explained, "They apparently have information that could give you some leads." He smiled at me. "You'll get some interesting experience with this. Do you know much about the Corloni criminal syndicate?"
They do pay my bills. "I know of it... that and their rival the Randatti criminal syndicate." Who most likely has a contract on my head. I could notice a slight cringe from Diane at the mention of "Randatti." When some organization kills your family in front of you, my understanding is that you don't get over it quickly.
"Well," the Chief continued, "we have reliable sources telling us that Corloni has sent a lone assassin to kill Senator Gredler during his upcoming speech."
At this point, I felt like shooting my way out of the police station just to relieve stress. "Reliable sources?" I queried, quieting my desperation.
The Chief leaned back in his seat. "I can't discuss that any further."
Now I imagined pulling out my gun, quickly shooting Diane, and then pounding the Chief's head into his desk until he told me everything I wanted to know.
I decided to save that option for later.
"Detective Thompson, you have the rest of the day off," the Chief said, "Make sure to be polite to the Galactic Federation officials tomorrow. I don't think your reputation has traveled out of this star system.”
Diane got up without a word and left the office. I followed, trying to wrap my mind around things. I had a heavily secured message to kill Senator Gredler. The only way the police could know about the details of the hit was a leak high up in the Corloni organization’s chain. I never dealt with anything like this before, and it was not weighing well on me.
I tried to calm myself before Diane might notice my desperation, but she was too busy looking at a computer screen. I took a seat next to her desk and looked over. It was a report on the firefight at the plaza.
"Westler left cover to help a Corridian child who was standing out in the open," Diane stated. "He was shot while shielding the girl with his own body. The girl was unharmed."
My preferred guns would have gone through that sap and the little girl, but that didn't seem to be Diane's point. "Sounds like he was a good man," I stated, putting my hand on her shoulder.
She shut down the computer and then met my eyes. "He was horribly corrupt. Bribes, kickbacks... you name it. But, when the chips were down, he saw a child in harms way and ran out into danger."
Sounded like something that would make you think... if you weren't me. People instinctively want to protect children; it's called the motherly instinct. Even guys have it... just not me. "So, what are you doing now, Diane?"
"I'm going home to relax. Then I'm going to Bible study."
"You're a Xian?" That explained some things... and made some other things more confusing.
"I prefer Christian. Do you want to come? It might be interesting for you if you've never been to one."
I literally would rather be shot in the leg again than spend time talking morality with a bunch of strangers who all believe in some religious hokey pokey; sure, being shot would hurt, but I'd get to spend a few more hours watching nature shows while the wound healed. Then again, I still needed Diane to open up to me more... especially now that there seemed to be a traitor in the Corloni organization.
"I'll give it a try; I just don't want everyone to try and convert me or nothing."
She smiled. "I'll make sure you're not singled out."
Great; more human interaction... and about morality and religion, no less. If this psychopath had a lick of sense in him, I'd be keeping my mouth shut for this.
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