Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blowout 3: John Law

by Walt Staples

Reichter was conscious of the crowded feeling the four environment suited figures gave the battered, but still expensive looking living room. Before them, a large rectangular hole gaped blackly. With Ceti 94 on the other side of Eclectia, sunfilters were unnecessary, which suited the Investigating Peacekeeper just fine. He liked to be able to watch the eyes of people when he talked with them. This carried over to all his contacts with his fellow man; something that probably explained his lack of second dates. At the moment, he watched the black eyes of the firefighter whose bunker gear displayed the name, “’Dollman’ Takku.” “Okay, Dollman, you were first on the scene, right?” It was a habit of the peacekeeper that he used the first or nickname of the person he talked with. The easy camaraderie had caused more than one slip on the other’s part.

Dollman nodded. “Yes, sir. I was on ‘suited watch’ at the station. So, I got out the door first. ‘Gamecock’ Pelman from 53rd was my number two coming in.”

“How long did it take you to rig the emergency airlock?”

Dollan grinned. “Took us 38 seconds, sir.”

Stony Oreman, the local Enforcer whistled. “Not too shabby, Ty.”

Dollman’s grin widened and he sketched a mock stage bow. “Thank you, thank you. I’ll be appearing all week.”

Reichter made a mental note that the two knew each other. He also agreed that the smoke-eater had reason to be proud. He continued, “And what’s changed since you came in, Dollman?”

“Absolutely nothing, sir—other than us standing here, of course.”

The peacekeeper glanced around. “When did you turn the lights on?”

The firefighter raised his eyebrows. “Didn’t, sir. They were all on when I got here.” He made a sweeping gesture toward the open doors with his hand. “They were all open too, when I got here.”

Yoshi Takai, Reichter’s enforcer, asked, “Why didn’t they close when the window blew out?”

Stony spoke up, “The Cleaner, DuPont, had them overridden.”

“Why’d he do that?”
The local enforcer was short and broad in contrast to Yoshi, who was tall, broad, and blond. Stony was also clean shaven, where Yoshi wore a handlebar mustache. He shook his head. “Don’t know, sir. He was pretty much of a wreck when they took him away. The medicos had to sedate him. Want me to go see him?”

Reichter thought for a moment, then shook his head. “Nope. Guess maybe I’ll take care of that. What I want you to do is work the scene with Yoshi here. I’ve cleared with your peacekeeper.” He turned to the firefighter. “Dollman, you can take off now. Thank you for walking us through this thing. I’ll mention the 38 seconds in my report and when I run into your chief next.”

The smoke-eater grinned. “Thank you, sir.” Reichter watched him go and turned to the two enforcers. “One more thing; get a hold of an engineer and see what he comes up with.”

Stony said, “Jill Forman is on duty. Should I get her?”

The peacekeeper tipped his head and squinted one eye. “No…I think I want someone independent.”

Yoshi looked at him questioningly. “Is there a problem with her?”

Reichter made a face and shook his head. “No, I don’t know her. I just want somebody from outside the system. Something just doesn’t smell right.”

1 comment:

  1. Another posthumous publishing honor to Walt. His writing legacy lives on.