by Edward M. Erdelac -
“He’s dying,” said the Doctor outside the interrogation room where Croix was sitting peaceably.
Considine wasn’t overly surprised. The man looked almost as if he’d died already. Lung deterioration was a common cause of death to Topsies. They worked half their lives to get out of the poison air only to find it had already killed them long ago. Sometimes the knowledge drove them to a nihilistic kind of crime. It made a kind of sense. He just wished he knew what Considine’s target had been.
“What of? Not his injuries, surely.”
“Without a complete scan I can’t say, but by his symptoms, a multitude of things.”
“Pneumonia, syphilis, orange and yellow fevers….”
“What?” Enforcer Brendermyer interjected. “Is he contagious?”
“Oh yeah. But most of the things he’s got we’ve all had inoculations for. The thing is, he should’ve had them too prior to entering the city.”
“Couldn’t he have slipped the requirements?”
“Not on your life. The Zirconia Medical Bureau is extremely tough on topsy immigration. Even the crooks don’t bypass the physical requirements. Nobody wants some nasty bug bite disease running rampant in Zironia. Could deep six the whole population.”
“How could he have contracted multiple viral infections?” Considine wondered aloud.
“I don’t know,” admitted the doctor. “I’m going to have to request that he submit to a full scan back at the Medical Bureau before I release him to psychiatric care. I’ve got to catalog all he’s got, make sure he’s safe to move.”
“He’s not going to psych. The Peace Council’s requested he be extradited to Avenir.”
“Well he’s not going anywhere till he’s released medically.”
“Alright, Doctor. Can you arrange transport?”
“I’ve already alerted the ZMB. They’re sending a haz-mat team to bubblewrap him and take him back.”
“Fine.” He would have to tell Gorsh Croix wouldn’t be ready in two hours.
Considine looked through the porthole in the door at Croix. The man smiled at him, a little wearily, but still present of mind.
“Could his condition affect his mind, Doctor?”
“Will you alert me once the scan’s complete?”
Jelly came tromping down the corridor in his Enforcer gear.
“Hey Inspector, that freight jockey’s gone through the personnel pix from Morgenstar, says she thinks she’s got a match.
“Thank you, Jelly,” Considine said, going off toward the room they’d left her in.
“Hey Inspector!” Brendermyer called.
“The club! My gig! Can I go or what?”
“Once the ZMB comes and picks him up, and as long as the Doctor checks you out, it’s alright with me.”
“I’m not gonna have time to change out of all this crap,” he said, gesturing to his tactical wear.
“Maybe it’ll improve your act. Make it a gimmick. Brendermyer: The Laughing Enforcer.”
Jelly at least, chuckled.