Saturday, January 12, 2008

In the Dark, part one: Initial Evaluation

I leaned back nonchalantly. "So you think there's a problem?"

Jack bent over my desk, red-faced and panting. "It's a real big one this time, boss!"

I sighed. "Just what you said last time, Jacko. What is it now?"

"Okay, when I got up this morning, I was feeling a little queasy," Jack told me. "So I decided to pop some pills, see if that would make it better. I got them out of the medicine cabinet, swallowed them down with some water, and-"

"Stop." I looked at Jack sternly. "Get to the point."

He gulped. "All right. Um. I was going down to the outer rim, anyway, because I felt sick. And there were all these guys there! Just sort of milling around, staring at anyone who came near. Real suspicious-like, right? Trenchcoats?"

I put a hand to my forehead. "Do you remember where in the outer rim this was? There are about fifteen miles of rim to search."

Jacko rubbed his chin, thinking. "Um. I think they were at the corner of Oxy? I don't remember exactly. I feel sick, like I was tryin' to say." He coughed demonstratively.

I waved him off. "All right, all right. If this is a real thing, I'll get you your just desserts. Head off for now, I know where you live." He left, closing my door behind him, and I sat back in my big leather chair to think.

Men with trenchcoats, milling around at the corner of Oxy... it wasn't much to go on. Jacko wasn't the most reliable informant I had (though he was the most... eager), and I had no idea why there would be anything going on down there, of all places: Oxy wasn't in the ritziest of neighborhoods, but it wasn't a gang haven either. In my four years watching the city, I'd never seen anything worth my notice down there.

I shrugged. Well, it was a slow day, and I supposed there was a first time for everything. I locked the front door and headed into the back room.

The back room was mainly filled with a great big fake-wood table in the middle, but there were cabinets at one end of the room, and it was to those that I went. I took various useful items from each - a baton in case things got rough, a flechette gun in case things got rougher, and a few hundred in discretionary funds - I preferred not to spend my own money on government business. I considered taking the handgun lying atop the decorative fireplace at the other end of the room, but decided not to - if things got too nasty for the flechette gun to suffice, then the handgun would just be dead weight.

Buttoning up my vest, I walked out of the office, unlocking and relocking the door as I went. The glare of reflected floodlights blinded me for a moment, as always, until my eyes adjusted to the faintly blue-tinted outdoor light. With a flourish, I tilted my hat to a jaunty angle and started walking.

Time to see what the Città del Profondità had in store for me today.


King Kessler said...


King Kessler said...

Aaaand I just realized that this was the sequel to the prologue. It's cooler if it's universe building!