The iFactor Chapter 12

By R.W. Van Sant

Matt left his psychiatrist’s office with new medications, a new therapeutic game in hand, and a smile on his face. His doctor said that his increase in symptom intensity was due to the new stresses and should quickly subside. Regaining his position, the doctor thought, most likely brought back many of the feelings and memories that Matt experienced when he lost his rank. It made sense to Matt, and he was glad for the stronger medicine. The new pills came in quick metabolizing gel capsules. The doctor promised almost instant absorption and immediate relief. He took one as he arrived, and Matt could feel it taking effect before his session was over.

Trees were dispersed around the park, tall and nearly perfect. Still, there was no sound of the wind, no waving or rustling, and no sound of birds. Jill was right. There was something very wrong in that. He wasn’t sure that false bird songs would have enhanced the ambiance, but they could at least turn up the city ventilators to create a gentle breeze. At least he could feel the heat of Sirius Primary upon his face. It almost felt like the earth’s sun. He slowly strolled along and revealed in his freedom from anxiety. Jill’s face came to mind—not the bruised face of the previous night, but the unmarred beauty of their first meeting. It filled him with a puzzling joy.

He arrived at work grinning. The balance of the paperwork from the preceding day couldn’t bring him down. He scanned through the screen, signing in the applicable places and then when on to the new work. The chair was comfortable enough, and he had a fresh cup of coffee. He was ready to begin delving once again into the Sisyphean piles.

The man who had assaulted Jill was in a holding cell, having pled guilty. His defender was in discussions with the judicial council over a penalty. A restraining order was now in effect, so at the very least, Jill wouldn’t have to worry about him. If he got within ten meters, alarms would go off, and an officer would intervene. Matt still promised himself that he would monitor the man, just to be satisfied.

The next file comprised the data on the rape investigation. The trial for that case was set for the following day. Matt was still astounded at how fast things occurred in colonial security. Although he felt rushed, he looked over each document judiciously; the last thing that he wanted was to let a rapist go on a technicality. Of course, such a thing couldn’t happen on Sirius. The legal system was designed so that the computer wouldn’t have let him file an arrest order if there were any technical issues. Still, it was his first case, and he wanted it to be perfect.

“Crap!” the voice of Officer Perry echoed across the room

Matt signed his final document, sent it out, and walked over. “What’s up?”

“Having problems with identification,” Perry said.

“What are you working on?”

“The same case,” Perry said. “I was just going over the final review of the contact web.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“The problem is that I have the dock manager who we linked to the bursar. It looks like a clandestine meeting with someone in the park. At the same time, a large financial transaction was made to an unidentifiable person. He paid someone off.” Perry said.

“Can’t you run the ID?” Matt asked.

“No, the individual was four steps removed from the rapist. Outside of our warrant limitations. Standard procedure is three-step.” Perry said. “I requested a supplemental warrant to find out this contact. They denied it. Too far removed from principal to have relevance to our case.”

“Well, nothing you can do but note it in the paperwork. I’ll see what I can do to get the chief to look into it. The drug smugglers might have been paying off someone in the colonial authority to look the other way.” Matt said. “I’ll talk to you about this later, it’s a good lead, we’ll follow up.”

“Okay, thanks,” Perry looked up. “I just never hit a wall before.”

“Join the club. Running into walls happens all the time on earth. Hell, you’re not a proper detective until you found your way around a few of them. We’ll figure it out.” Matt took a step back toward his office when his palm started vibrating again.

“Can I borrow your palm reader?” he asked the officer Perry.

“Go ahead.” Perry pushed his chair back and clasped his hands behind his head.

Matt walked around the desk and waved his hand over the scanner. The screen, which made up most of its surface lit up. “It’s the Chief; he wants me in his office when I have a minute.”

“Well, that was a short-lived promotion.”

“I don’t think I messed up that badly in a day,” Matt replied. “Don’t stress the wall. Think of it as an opportunity to earn our pay.”

“Dales?”

“Yeah?”

“You were good at your job, back on Earth, right?”

“I thought so; I guess the Chief thinks so too.”

“I want to be more than a file jockey. Can you teach me?”

“Getting close to me might not be a career maker. I’ll teach you what I can, but I’m not sure how much of it applies here. How about a trade. You teach me to comprehend the synapsis, and I teach you how to get around walls.”

“Deal. Good luck with the chief.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

He’d just finished his paperwork; it was as good a time as any. He stepped into the elevator and pushed the chief’s floor. It was a short ride and, all too soon, Matt strode down another hallway. “You rang,” he looked cautiously into his office.

“Yes, I did.” The chief said. “I hear you did pretty well for a first-timer in the detective unit.”

“Thank you.”

“Close the door, please.” The chief looked more intense than Matt had seen him since their earth days. Matt closed the door and sat in the chair before the large wooden desk. “I don’t want anyone to hear our conversation.”

“If you’re trying to scare me,” Matt’s heart braced for the shoe to drop. “It’s working.”

“Sorry, I’m not trying to. Look, I have a case I need you on, one that will require your special talent for hunches.” He leaned forward in his desk. “Can you be discreet? I mean can you give the team the benefit of your hunches without letting them know they come from your gut, or intuition, or where ever the hell they come from.”

“Are you still worried about the Trust?” Matt’s desire to laugh it off was eclipsed by the memory of the feelings he’d had the previous night. He could swear that he was being followed, and then, of course, there was the note. Someone was trying to warn him or scare him. A cold chill went up his spine. “Yes. What’s this about?”

“It’s complicated. You’ll find out in the briefing. I will give you this heads up. We have a situation that requires real earth style detecting. You’ve got the training and the experience.” the chief slunk into his chair.

“What about my current case?” Matt asked.

“I was under the impression that the case was closed.” the chief said. “Is there any further information.”

“Yes, sir. Officer Perry found a large monetary transfer from the dock supervisor to an unknown individual. He was unable to pursue it because the warrant stipulated a level three contact web. He was refused an augmented warrant.” Matt said.

“I’m taking you off that case. I will look into it personally when I have the time. Matt what I need you for is much more important. Matt, do well on this, and there will be few who will care what happened in Dallas, understand?” the chief said.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Good,” The chief stood, whipped the sweat from his head and paced toward the room. “The others are waiting for us in the briefing room. Let’s get to it.”

Matt trailed after the boss.


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