Written in 365 Parts: 125: Real Mixed Blessing

”Time for us to go dark,” said the security guard as they switched off a bunch of audio-visual circuits. “We did a detailed scan as they both came into the building. We know they have detection equipment and it looks like they are going to use it. The data dump on the broadcast interfaces for their implants say they are security monitored. If we hook straight up to them they will be aware of it.”

“Can you get around that?” asked the watcher.

“We can. The first step is to go dark and give them enough time to sweep the area for bugs. We have left a couple of passive devices for them to find and circumnavigate so they don’t get too suspicious. There are actual eyes on them from a doppler shadow on their privacy screen. Once they have settled we will turn on some of the more esoteric devices. They will have a monitor activated but it will not be able to pick up the passive systems. We will only get large file transfers and voice. Little visual, but we can get shadows and densities and have some good software that can reconstruct based on that.”

“That will have to do. It is much more than I expected so I am still impressed and grateful.”

“The system is subtle and complex like so many of our more, interesting, relationships.” the guard gave a cautious laugh.

“I can imagine that there is a high level of discretion needed in some of the more creative Union relationships.”

“Like you wouldn’t believe. However we are tasked with the occasional monitoring even of very private conversations, for security purposes.”

The watcher was impressed that they could keep a straight face while having this conversation. “That must ease the conscience for having the systems available.” The watcher smiled at the guards sideways look of embarrassment.

“Don’t worry I won’t be passing any information of what is said or seen in here. I am deeply indebted to your bosses for this favour and I understand how discreet this is. I simply want to know what they are saying. Anything I use will be based on information gathered outside of this room.”

“Good to know. We were wondering.” A long pause, “Considering who you represent.”

“In this instance I am simply a colleague of Drick’s. Which I think carries the appropriate benefits and costs.” There was light laughter from both of the guards. “Do you know them?”

“Only by reputation, but Jay there once tried to throw them out of a club.”

“Really? Do tell.”

“Not much to say,” said the, until now silent, Jay. “I was working on the door. There was a fight inside and by the time we got there it was pretty much over. We had two bleeding, one unconscious and a fourth screaming quite loudly. There was a good reason for them to scream, they had the remains of a barstool right through their stomach. Front to back. Your friend Drick stood in the centre of a circle of shocked onlookers who were all doing their level best not to get any nearer. We were paid to keep the peace, and foolishly we didn’t assess the scene, or the mood of that hellspawn, before we tumbled in.”

“Oh. I guess Drick refused to come quietly.”

“They put two of us in hospital and a third into a long rehab. I got off lucky with broken ribs, just needed straps and a couple of bone-meld boosters. To be fair to Drick we jumped straight in without any restraint.”

“Kind of you to say.”

“On the other hand, they are a cold hearted piece of work. You gain as many issues as you do advantages knowing someone like that. They are a real mixed blessing, and that is putting it very politely because I have been instructed not to cause any angst.”

“Time to turn the sound back on,” said the other security guard. The watcher silently thanked them for their timing. The last thing they wanted was to discuss the advantages and problems of being associated with Drick.

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