“How can I help you, officer?” The Officer strode into the room and stared at the occupants. There was a Justice Department Officer, sergeant stripes on their arm. A paralegal, likely from one of the government departments judging by the expensive outfit. Two justice department robots and a detention droid. The latter looked more like an upright coffin than a robot and was used primarily to transport prisoners.
“Hooper,” said Hooper. “Sergeant Hooper. I usually work from Justice Central. But today, Officer Camonte, is a special day. I thought the fresh air and personal touch would do me a lot of good. I am here delivering a warrant.”
“Well that’s delightful. How can I help you, Sergeant Hooper? A warrant for what?” The Officer stared at the man. The gall of the Justice Department flunkies, thinking they could show up in his office and act like they owned the place.
“For whom.” Hooper’s voice was quiet. “So, if you could tell me all your crimes in a nice detailed statement? It would make the conviction and sentencing easier. I am sure that the judgement would be more favourable in that regard.” Hooper smiled.
“You must have taken leave of your senses.” The Officer laughed. “I have done nothing wrong. Had I thought that I had done anything that would require even a caution, then I would have my legal team in here. Now, let’s be sensible. I am not going to tell you anything. I doubt that you have anything. So please leave and don’t let the door catch you on your way through it.”
“Very well,” said Hooper. “As with all department duties this is being recorded by the artificial intellects in the room. It will be noted that you were told that we wished you to make a statement, and that you have declined. At this point you have also refused legal representation.” Hooper stared at the Officer. “Is that correct Officer Camonte?”
Camonte waved a hand nonchalantly as they stared at Hooper. “Go on then. Ask your questions.”
“I need you to confirm that what I said was correct.” Said Hooper.
“Very well. Yes, it was correct. I understand it is being recorded. I decline to make a statement. I do not need legal representation.” Camonto smiled sardonically. “This is me. Officer Camonte who has stated this without coercion, but with much irritation at the pomposity and pointlessness of the proceedings. Is that good enough?”
“Thank you.” Hooper indicated the chairs, “might we sit down?”
“If you must.”
“Can I confirm that you are Officer Camonte?”
“I am. I just stated as such”
“And you accept who I am, though there is no need to confirm that as we made sure to deliver our identification to your very helpful secretary. Recordings are also matching our bio information.”
The Officer made a mental note to demote the secretary, but waved a hand. “Of course I accept the credentials. You said there was a warrant?” Officer Camonte attempted to make an external call on his implants but the termination of service message flashed in front of his eyes. He must be being monitored as he saw the Justice Department Sergeant.
“I am sorry, Officer Camonte,” Hooper smiled. “But we have started a formal interview so your communications have been suspended. If you wish to make a call you will have to wait until after our interview. You can call your legal teams though? But since you declined initial legal representation that will have to wait until after the initial serving of the warrant and declaration of charges and evidence. This is a statutory right. We did confirm that you wished to make no statement and have no representation, as yet.” Hooper smiled slightly.
“I will let you know when, and if, I consider that to be necessary after you have made your statements.” Camonte sneered but a growing sense of unease had started to form in the lower parts of their abdomen.
Hooper placed a small data recording device on the desk. “So let us confirm for the record the position. I will begin by making a few statements and give you the accompanying evidence. Since it hadn’t been asked, I requested you to identify yourself as Officer Camonte, which you did. I also asked you to make a statement, which you have declined. I have identified myself as being on legal business by informing you we have a warrant, which we do.” Hooper looked at Camonte, he could already see a slight nervousness in the organics eyes.
“Now, this first excerpt,” Hooper activated the playback device.
“…A pause and an intake of breath. “good, I have a task for you.”
“That is apparent, otherwise you would not have contacted me. We do not have a social narrative.”
“I have work I need you to perform. It will require a significant lesson but it will have to be discreet.”
“Who. Cease with the extraneous verbiage.”
“They go by the current disposition of Drick and will be landing at the south-east quadrant in a justice central shuttle in forty-five minutes. Do you have the resources and capabilities.”
“I will send two operatives. The spaceport is heavily monitored. We will only be able to engage with low level force. Though that is only the method and not the outcome. What is your desire?”
“My personal desire is termination with extreme prejudice. But the order I must convey to you is to ensure they do not pursue the current activities. You should be warned that they were tanked as a military grade. Specifically enhanced.”
“That will cost extra. I will send double my usual team.”
“Your usual team is only two. Send quadruple at minimum.”
“That is excessive and will draw attention. So many people increases the chance of secondary and tertiary witness and detection.”
“It will be taken care of. As will the extra fee. If there is a misunderstanding of a stop to their activities then terminate with prejudice and I will ensure that this is covered.”
“I do not care for mere assurances. I require a claim identity so that I have a legal route to pursue with your authority.”
“Here is your authority and claim route. You are covered. Do not fail.”…
Hooper looked at Officer Camote. “I am sure you recognise yourself from that file. It was from a recording recovered from the servers at the Peyote Club. You know we have tried to find the owner of that club, but they seem to have disappeared. Care to comment on that conversation? Care to tell me where they are?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Hooper saw the small beads of sweat starting to form on their forehead and upper lip. Hooper smiled and idly wondered if they were aware that the robots were recording every microscopic change. The artificial intellects he had requested were the most powerful and sensitive that could be found outside of the military. At this moment they were recording such minutiae of detail as the fluid pressure in the various organics arteries using intense electromagnetics. Detect microscopic variations in all body functions that would be used as evidence.
“All of these recordings have been verified with material from your own systems and matched to your biological imprint. We even have the data confirmed as to your location and actions from your own security systems.”
“How did you get that? That is material obtained illegally.” the Officer snapped.
“That is not relevant to your case. How we obtained the material is inconsequential as we have committed no impropriety or illegal actions in obtaining the material. The actions of others would constitute a different case outside of this.” This was calmly stated by the government appointed legal brief. “However since it is irrelevant to the case we are making, I can for clarity state that it came from yourself, as far as we understand. Our records show that it was sent by you. From your personal terminal. During the attack yesterday.”
Hooper smiled, “care to comment on that?”
“I cannot. This copy of my personae and memories is from three days ago. My backups are lost.”
“Shame.” Hooper smiled grimly. “Loss of memories, deliberate or accidental removal of memories, is not an acceptable excuse for a crime. You are aware of that. Now listen to this.” Hooper keyed the second recording.
…“This is very dangerous.”
“I appreciate that, I am aware of your preferences for subtlety, but we were given little choice.”
“How can I help? If I can help?”
“We are attempting to close every last loophole in this rather regrettable incident.”
“I see. I am not sure why you need to go to so much effort. It appears as if you are drawing more attention to this matter. Had you left it alone there wouldn’t have been so much of a story and we could have dealt with things more carefully.”
“I agree. There was some initial panic caused by the coincidence of the initial Justice Robots and underlings who do not have an inkling of our capabilities. So there was some avoidable judgement calls. These will be dealt with in due course. For now we have managed to obfuscate a great deal but there are a number of minor, yet irritating, loose ends.”
“Those are? I do not have a great deal of time so be brief.”
“Of course. There is the matter of the k-tag.”
“Out of my hands. They have been placed under secure protection of the investigator and their legal.”
“Regrettable but we have other avenues to further in that regard. There were a number of potential witnesses. Vehicles that may have been in the area and similar, can you get a list of those?”
“Tricky. The officer in charge of that evidence is very careful and almost completely straight and reliable. I would have to burn several long term schemes and contacts to get that information.”
“Please do so, I will pay ten times our usual rates.”
“That is generous but I will need more. They are closely connected to the investigator and will be more careful. I also have placed one trace on them today for you so further observation will have a higher chance of being detected.”
“Very well. This one time I will allow you to bid upwards. Fifteen times the rate and no further negotiation.”
“Accepted. I will attempt to gain all the information they have. Is there anything more?”
“Yes. The investigator. We know they are formerly Judicial Special Tactical Forces, but they seem overly-competent even for that division. I would like all the information you can obtain. Including a list of all their known contacts inside and outside of Judiciary.”
“That might take some time. My initial sweep indicates they had some connection to the inner circles of the governing systems, Possibly even an Accord status or rank.”
“Really. That is more than what we have. How do you know that?”
“A chance comment from the officer they have a connection with here, Hooper. He said something at a poker night a few months ago. I only put the comment to the person when I viewed the trace. Do you know them?” …
“That recording was made by your contact Perf. The Desk Sergeant. I am not even going to ask you to comment upon it. We have your vocal imprint and location. We cracked Perf and they gave us everything. Hooper didn’t mention that they had broken the computer code not for this information. Never reveal all your information or sources. “Let’s listen to the next one. This isn’t directly about you. But it does implicate your organisations involvement, which they claim was all at your authorisation.” Hooper noted them look up sharply. “Oh yes, we spoke to the board of directors initially, to arrange this interview. They were quite definite that you had full authority and the freedom to take all decisions. Quite certain. They are almost eager to appoint blame in precise locations.” Hooper smiled a little more warmly. “This was recorded in a nightclub between a hitman named Minch and his contact with Perf who is called Susa Camile.”
…“Razed the area to the ground with the targeted strike as instructed. There was nothing but a smouldering crater. I waited but there was nothing moving except fragments of dust. The heat scans showed nothing except a rapidly cooling impact zone. Whoever they were, they are dead.”
“They were likely to be a justice operative named Hooper. A clever guy but clearly not as smart as our mutual employer.”
“Who is still a mystery to me.”
“Which is the best thing for you. You don’t want to owe them any more than you currently do. You also don’t want their attention. They won’t appreciate your loyalty like I do. They are likely to just see you as a liability. They tend to eradicate those. They don’t like threats or loose ends.”
“Must be someone high up to have access to that kind of smart technology, the tent and the missile?”
“Nope, just someone with impressive connections. The tent and missile were not government, they were from a private organisation. Though the guidance systems, satellite coverage and launcher were different matters….
Hooper leaned back. “You really should have made a confession. It would have helped a little. Your company deems you disposable, that’s because they are facing a full government enquiry. Yee On Kline have severed all formal relationships with you. The stock of this company has probably halved in the time I have been talking to you. We of course leaked to the news organisations most of this story. We though it appropriate, shame that you already have a falling market share. And, you know I think you’ll love this last snippet of information. I walked through the door today with a full confession from Perf; from some of your officers; and with full recordings of every call you have made in a year that your board has authorised me to use. And with your own confessions, mailed by you yesterday, from your own personal logs. I didn’t need you to be so stupid as to make a confession. It would have only made you look more guilty had you bothered with legal representation.” Hooper played the final recording.
…“ …even if you are not here, I will find you and destroy you, and Marsh. I mean, I already took out your justice department friend. Did you really think that ruse in the morgue and the desert would work? Why would I tell you anything?”…
“Looks like you have told us almost everything.” Hooper said. “Now, are you sure you don’t want to call someone?”