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Fantasies: part 6
A series of unpleasant conversations
The Triverse is
Mid-Earth, an alternate 1970s London
Max-Earth, a vision of the 26th century
Palinor, where magic is real
Previously: Two bodies have been found in an alley behind an exclusive, very expensive high-rise apartment complex called The Lighthouse. Detectives Kaminski and Chakraborty are investigating, but a complaint has been made against them by an employee of The Lighthouse. Meanwhile, Patrick Boorman, a businessman at the centre of the case, has just got in touch….
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On duty: DC Zoltan Kaminski & DC Nisha Kaminski
“Sometimes,” Boorman said, “it is worth stating things in plain language, I find. Do you find, that Detective Kaminski?”
He gripped the handset tighter, wishing it were possible to reach through and punch the guy in his smug, knowingly handsome face. Boorman was one step ahead of them, he knew it, and Kaminski had no option but to listen to what he had to say.
“It’s a very close knit community here at the Lighthouse. Word gets around fast. I hear you are having some difficulties with the concierge. That particular employee is something of a stickler for etiquette. Bad timing on your part, Detective.”
“Plain language, Mr Boorman, remember?” Kaminski looked down at Robin, who exchanged a sympathetic glance. Robin waved an empty cup of coffee and Kaminski nodded.
“Plain language, Detective.” He heard Boorman take a deep breath on the other end of the line. “I have considerable influence here, as I’m sure you can imagine. All of the staff at the Lighthouse enjoy their employment at my discretion, you understand.” His voice got louder, as if he was holding the handset a little closer to his mouth. “I can make that complaint go away. Just like that.”
Kaminski smiled and rolled his eyes towards the ceiling. “Just like that. What’s the favour, Boorman?”
“What’s the favour,” he said. “The favour. Yes, the favour, Detective, is that I make something go away for you, you make something go away for me.”
“Not a chance.”
“Hear me out. It is an unfortunate truth that there are those who work in the city, especially in business, who have certain unhealthy vices. Some of this activity comes to my attention, as I like to look after my staff. But, really, it’s not them that you should be going after, but the source of the problem. I can share the report from an internal investigation. Point you in the right direction. Get you a much bigger catch, which will actually go some way to cleaning up the streets.”
“You’re not my boss, Boorman.”
“You’re very welcome to carry on with your investigation on your own terms,” Boorman said, his voice somewhat more clipped than usual. “You know how to contact me.” There was a click and the line went dead.
Kaminski replaced the handset and leaned on Robin’s desk. Across the office he could see Chakraborty trying to reason with the lawyer. Every one of the interviewees would have a similar set of a black suited armour. Plus there was the complaint from the Lighthouse, compounding everything.
The door to Miller’s office opened and the snake leaned out. “Chakraborty, Kaminski,” he called, pointing at the floor by his feet before disappearing back inside.
Kaminski lit a cigarette and sighed. Best get it over with,
“He what?” Chakraborty was practically apoplectic.
Smiling ruefully, Kaminski lifted a hand of caution. “Said you wouldn’t like it.”
“That fucker’s trying to bribe us? Make the complaint disappear as long as we look the other way?”
Miller leaned forward, his leather-covered office chair squeaking. “Well,” he said, “not just that. He did seem to be offering information.”
The man played a good game, Kaminski had to give him that. They knew he was dirty, knew he was up to his ears in the conspiracy muck, but they couldn’t do anything about it. Justin had overheard incriminating evidence, they had the recording data, but they had no way of accessing it, not with the portal travel restricted. Which meant playing along with the game.
Kaminski extinguished his cigarette into an ash tray on the desk. “So what are the options? Carry on as we are, or take Boorman’s offer and let him off the hook?”
“Jesus,” Chakraborty said, throwing her hands above her head, “why are you even considering this? He’s looking for a way to wriggle out of a tricky situation. We know he had a party and that a shitload of illegal substances were taken, which led one way or another to two deaths. At his front door. He probably supplied the drugs to the guests in the first place!”
Miller waved hand. “Alright, hold on, Nisha. I know it’d be satisfying to march these rich sons of bitches down to the jail for once, but what’s that going to solve, ultimately? If his information is good, we could track down the real source. Shut down an entire operation, potentially.”
Chakraborty pounded her fist onto the desk. “Arrest Boorman and we can do both! Get the information and stick him in a cell at the same time.”
Pushing his chair back, Miller crossed the room to the window which looked into the rest of the SDC office. He flicked open the blinds and pointed. “You see that circus out there? You think that’s a lot of lawyers, wait until you see the legal team Boorman’ll be using. Plus you’re both operating under a formal complaint. We don’t want any of this running through the press. I’m tempted to take you off the case entirely and put someone on it who is a little less hot-headed.”
“Fuck me,” Chakraborty said.
Deciding to interject before anything was said that they’d all regret, Kaminski spoke. “I see what you’re saying, guv. It makes sense, even if it stinks. Either we get tangled up in legalese for days, or we hold our noses and make some progress.”
“This is your actual opinion?” Chakraborty was incredulous. She looked to Miller. “And this is your official recommendation?”
Miller closed the blinds, then held up his hands. “It’s a bad situation, to be sure. We have to play the best hand we have. As long as the information checks out.”
Watching Chakraborty’s face, Kaminski knew what was running through her head. This guy is involved. This guy has been involved from the start. He’s part of it. He works for the people who murdered Callihan. He’s the enemy.
She was right. One way or another, they’d make sure Miller got nailed to the wall. Eventually. Somehow.
Boorman’s tip seemed to have paid off. Kaminski leaned against the wall, around the corner from the nondescript warehouse they’d been pointed towards. Chakraborty was wearing an armoured vest, as were they all.
“We’re ready, detectives,” said Sergeant Golding, equipped from head to toe with weapons that Kaminski didn’t even recognise. Scarra was there too, looking twitchy, and the rest of Golding’s squad was on the other side of the target building. There were additional officers waiting on his command.
They’d find out whatever was happening inside the building. It had better lead to something useful, for Boorman’s sake.
“Follow in behind us,” Golding said. “We’ll clear out the place and get it secure.”
“Understood, Sarge.” Kaminski nodded and adjusted his own protective jacket. It was uncomfortable, but better than being shot.
Golding exchanged a glance with Scarra, then spoke into his radio. “All teams, converge now. Go, go, go.”
Thank you for reading!
I went to the London MCM Comic Con last weekend, and it was glorious. I got to catch up with Norm Konyu, a writer-illustrator that I by chance stumbled upon at the previous con in 2022. On a whim I picked up his book The Junction last time and it turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year.
Turns out Norm has been busy, so I now have two of his newer graphic novels to enjoy.
The big London Comic Con is split in two halves at the ExCel conference centre. One hall is all about the merch: more toys, tat, Lego, plushies, and awful Funko Pop than you can imagine. It’s good fun and great for the 10 year old. And then in the other hall is the artist alley, with row after row of artists and creators showing off their stuff. I could spend all day there chatting with people.
I’ve not been to many cons. My first was Eastercon, back in the 2000s, when Neil Gaiman was the guest of honour. I remember him talking about finding ‘his tribe’, and that’s definitely the feeling I get at these places. I get a similar vibe when chatting to other writers on Notes.
Some other bits:
We’re up to the final episode of Bodies. Overall it’s been a good show, with a couple of really annoying plot contrivances forcing characters to make daft decisions. I might have to write something longer about it for Small Talk.
- wrote about always thinking your own art is rubbish. Neill’s stuff is, of course, fantastic, so he makes the point well.
This is a fascinating intro to the history of games dev Compile. Ashamed to say I’ve never heard of it, but am looking forward to finding out more in’s series.
Some interesting ponderings on how commercial products can evolve to become art in this piece by.
J‘m taking part in a couple of new ebook giveaways, if you’re looking to bolster your reading pile:
This chapter was a weird one. I spent most of the week trying to be clever, twisting the narrative this way and that. At one point it was all going to be told in flashback, from the point of view of what’s coming up next chapter. Then I was going to do it in a very non-linear structure, hopping back and forth.
In the end, I kept it simple and straightforward. Sometimes you just need to get out of the way of yourself, aspointed out:
What was fun this chapter was forcing Kaminski to have conversations with people he’d really rather not interact with - especially Miller, who they now know is caught up in the conspiracy. The implications of that knowledge make it especially difficult for them to maintain the appearance of not knowing. It traces Miller’s involvement right back to the earliest chapters of Triverse.
Next week we’ll have the raid itself, which will bring with it some unexpected turns of events.
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