Coffee Break Read – Office Politics

Ty’s link had reached him, dinging insistently on his screens as soon as the resupply hopper had dropped from FTL into the planetoid’s traffic stream. He got back to her right away.

What are you playing at, Grim? I already gave you a three-day extension and you take that and ask me for two more. I know you have to live up to your maverick rep, but you are not helping us to build any trust doing the lone bounty hunter thing.”

He tried to sound penitent.

“I just need two more days Ty – then I’ll be in and have something to make up for it. I promise.”

“That’s what you said last time. What is this, Grim? Seeing how far you can push me? I don’t take kindly to being pushed. You keep it up and I’ll push back. And I can push harder than you, maybe so hard you’ll find yourself off the case and back on basic duties for the next five years.”

“I’m not trying to push you,” Grim heard the slight edge of hostility in his own voice. Then he boxed it all off and swung himself into Ty’s corner for a moment – putting himself behind her eyes, feeling the intense pressure from Jecks, the weight of knowledge – greater than his own – about the possible consequences of failure in this investigation, and the frustration and concern that the man she was supposed to be working with was apparently running amok and not telling her anything even before they had hit the ground running. He took a breath to regain his own composure. Ty was not the enemy, she was his best and greatest ally. He spoke again, his tone much more conciliatory:

“I am working on something I got from a personal contact – I can’t take this down any official road, if you want it logged and signed up, it can’t happen at all. Right now, I‘m on leave and I’m my own master – trust me for two more days, please Ty, and I’ll be able to bring you something really worthwhile. Call me in now, and I can’t get that for you.”

He was guessing that part of the reason he had been chosen for this case was this very tendency of his to blaze off-trail and get things done. That and the fact he had a proven record which showed he really could bring down the big beasts of the criminal jungle when he was allowed to do so.

He could see Ty considering his appeal. She had to be a risk taker too – no one was going to assign a stolid jobsworth to this kind of investigation. But, she would also be grappling with the concern that she needed to assert her authority over him and it was very possible letting him get away with this might be one step beyond her comfort zone on that particular score. Grim hoped she’d realise he wasn’t seeing this as any kind of power struggle. He had no wish to challenge Ty’s authority – just a burning desire to get done what he needed to get done.

“At least tell me where you’re going to be for those two days,” she said, after a moment. Grim felt a tight satisfaction, knowing he had got his two days. Hopefully, that would be enough.

“A place in the middle of nowhere called Hell’s Breath,” he told her.

Mistrust and Treason is the first volume in the upcoming Fortune's Fools Iconoclast Trilogy by E.M. Swift-Hook and will be out in the spring.

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