Written in 365 Parts: 55: Serendipity

“It feels like it was dumb luck, but in reality it wasn’t. I was hanging around the shipping zone, you know the judicial pen where they bring all the new intake. I always do the same thing, hitch a ride with the most likely easy win.” Drick saw the look of mild surprise, “As I said I have been taking it easy for some time. Anyway I heard that there were a couple of K-Tags on their way in, the comms feed said one intentional murder, with it seemed a confession, and a vehicular accidental homicide. To be honest I could have done either but I decided to go with the intentional murder as it was looking to be an open and shut case.” Drick finished the ale, “Then I saw the other K-tag.” Drick paused and sipped the chaser.

“And that’s when you took the other case? What made the difference?”

“I could say it was lots of things. They looked unusual, Marsh is the name they use by the way. Marsh was dressed in a standard jumpsuit but their face was wrong, they looked like a colonists from one of those worlds where they outlaw tanks.”

”Really? I thought they all died out in the Expansion?”

“I think most of them did but you hear of one or two still in existence, barely scraping along. They still keep a quarantine, though even if they didn’t and you managed to land there the locals would likely kill, stuff and mount you.”

“Glad I took a different career. So Marsh, they looked like a colonist?”

“Sort of, and no. To be honest they didn’t resemble anyone that I had seen in a long while. Maybe not with my own eyes. There were other things as well, not all of them immediately obvious or connected. There were shutdowns starting to happen on the Judicial grids. Someone was trying to close access to the open networks, also to the external grids to private firms. The independent security forces either disconnected or started to restrict and check traffic. It just suddenly smelt like something was going down. It felt big and it was clearly going to be connected to higher organisations.”

“But surely that would be more reason for you to leave it alone, right? As you said you were taking it easy. I know the old Drick had a hard on for kicking high level ass, but you said you were out of the game.”

“I was, and then something that I thought had gone away hit the surface and took hold. I realised that there was a high likelihood that there was some corporate or government cover up starting and I remembered a little of who I used to be. Something seemed to flip a switch on a deep level.”

“Aha, Drick the defender of the flotsam, last knight of the useless, helpless or pointless. No doubt you then summoned your trust steed and rode into the sunrise, or set, never could recall which you were meant to do.”

“Funny, you should tour with that material and make yourself a half credit a night on the circuit.”

“Hah,” Lane grinned and finished her drinks and indicated for more on the same token. “But you were the defender of the nobodies when I met you first time around, Drick. Getting yourself into trouble over people that are normally hidden away and quietly disposed of. You left that. Why did you choose now to return? I mean you already said you were rusty, and though you don’t look it you are old. Maybe a little tired and that’s why you are getting sloppy and making bad calls?”

“You don’t get all the pieces, Lane, I don’t owe your people that much. It is enough for you to know that I had lost touch with who I was and I had spent to long off the grid and out of the scene. Which is what brings us to this meeting. How much do I owe? How angry are they? I didn’t shoot up anything but I accept that there is a good portion of blame as I chose the route and made the judgement calls.”

“They are angry enough to send me in person and not just chuck you a bill for costs,” Lane smiled sardonically, “but not that mad. In fact, after thinking about it for a short time and being reminded that you have been a popular lifeform in the lower levels for a long time, they see it as an opportunity.”

“An opportunity?”

Lane laughed, “no need to say it like that, Drick. Do you know what serendipity is?”

“It’s a strip bar on the lower fifth in Sector Eleven. They mostly cater to sadism and masochism with heavy electronic music and amphetamines, I didn’t think that was your scene. How much did you change?”

“Funny. Always funny. No the fortunate meeting or occurrence.”

“Oh right. What about it?”

“Well the Union has a small matter they need clearing up and since you are both back on the market, active and making noise they thought that you might be available for more work. Since you already owe them it would be favourable for you to take a second job.”

“And if I say no, because this case is more important to me?”

“Well you see there’s the advantage and why this is serendipitous. Because you are already investigating Yee On Kline and their lapdogs, Volstron Services, and this little job involves them. So what do you say? A chance to pay off your debt, earn more credits and buy yourself in with favour to the only growing concern in the undercity?”

“Sounds fantastic. Just what I wanted.”

Lane smiled broadly, “don’t be sad. Drink up Drick, the game is just beginning.”

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