Imagine waking up one day unable to recall who you are or where you came from – only to find you are serving a sentence as a convict conscript for crimes you have no memory of ever committing…
“Can I have access to the data you recorded in the interview? If I could have first hand information…”
Without a word Var Tyran unclipped the wrist unit from her arm. Only a dedicated professional would choose to be wired directly to technology. Vane was dedicated, but conservative. Coming from a wealthy family in Central, the highest level of health and longevity oriented bio-technology money could buy had been invested in editing his genes. He always felt that was more than enough, no need for direct wiring to interface with the tech his work required him to use. He remote-mounted the unit she gave him to an external screen and offered Var Tyran a seat whilst he ran the data stream from the recording.
Vane found it fascinating to match the reactions to the stages of the interview, and something of a revelation to see that, far from being impassive, any number of emotions were being triggered in the brain of the soldier during the questioning. He supposed it was not surprising Revid showed so little externally. In the Legion, any display of emotion would be regarded as an exploitable weakness by those around him. In those conditions, survival meant learning to conceal how anything made you feel.
But, as Var Tyran had assured him, he could find no evidence of duplicity or deliberate lying. His own original assessment of naivety seemed closest to the truth. Revid wanted to be a civilian and was probably intelligent enough to know what it meant – even to appreciate the depth of his ignorance and the insurmountable barriers in his way to achieve his ambition. But if someone was willing to guide him through, perhaps, just perhaps, it could be done. Vane sat for a few moments after the stream finished and wondered if this offered enough. Then he accessed his own log whilst unclipping the unit and returning it to Var Tyran, who was sitting quietly opposite him, her gaze intense, waiting on his decision.
“I think I was wrong about our soldier being a danger to the community,” he said at last, “in fact it seems to me he is the one more at risk.”
She nodded in agreement.
“That was our assessment too, Commodore – and one reason he will be kept under surveillance at all times if discharged. In fact, our neurocologists’ profiling suggest he will find it impossible to adjust to civilian life and within a very short time he will be seeking to return to the security of the known – the military.”
“What if he decided to do so by reoffending? From what you say the ‘no danger to the community’ is in question at that point.”
She did not dismiss the idea.
“It is an extreme outside possibility. Our experts have assured us it is more probable he would simply re-enlist through regular channels. But, either way, it won’t be an issue as he will not be left alone,” Var Tyran said. She sounded confident. “And as soon as he shows any desire to return to the only life he knows, we will pick him up and offer him a way back. He won’t ever get to feel cornered or isolated to the point where reoffending seems to be an option. He will have all the support he needs.”
“Ah yes. Of course, his friend, Jazatar Baldrik. A good man, you will no doubt brief him.” Vane wondered how far he might be able to push here, to find out why the Coalition Security Force was so determined to have Revid released. “And I am sure it will work with whatever plans you may have for him too.”
“There are no grand plans, Commodore, I am afraid it is all a bit more prosaic than you might think.” Var Tyran, it seemed, recognised a fishing expedition when she saw one. “It is simply that this is Avilon Revid we are talking about, a name which still has incredibly high public recognition thanks to his terrorist career which, you will recall, lasted well over a decade before his arrest. So this is a very high-profile case, but it is also his right. His legal team are already screaming foul to the Criminal Rehabilitation Department for us holding him well past the five year limit whilst we’ve run the checks. If we refuse him, then all this will splash the media instead of staying a low-key, business-as-usual event. None of us want that.”
From Trust A Few – book one in Haruspex, the second Fortune’s Fools trilogy by E.M. Swift-Hook – which is only 0.99 to buy for a limited period.
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