Coffee Break Read – Denouement

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…

The meal went on much longer than either of them intended and it was late in the day when Vane finally returned to his office, planning to process anything which might require his immediate attention, before meeting up with Cista again to spend a night on the town. He checked the log with half his mind pondering what ambience he should set to be ready in his accommodation for later and discovered, around the time he and Cista sat sipping their after meal drinks and sharing childhood memories, Avilon Revid was being discharged. He had already been released into the care of the Criminal Rehabilitation Department on the strength of Vane’s recommendation.
That was unexpected.
Such things were notoriously slow to feed through the processing of Coalition bureaucracy and despite what he had told Cista, he had not expected the discharge to be finalised for a few days at the least. Not that it mattered, in fact he would enjoy seeing her face when he told her the good news, but it did mean he needed to do one more thing to satisfy his own conscience before heading back to his accommodation to get changed for the evening.
He raised a link to the outer office where the duty admin would be working.
“Sir?”
“Get me a link to ex-Lt. Jazatar Baldrik.”
A very good soldier, popular and respected by his fellow convict legionaries and well known, even admired, for his ability throughout the Special’s command structure, as high up as Vane himself. It remained one of the most rewarding moments of his career when Vane completed that man’s discharge. No one could doubt it was well deserved and Vane knew this was someone who, in the rest of his life, would demonstrate the wisdom of the Special’s five year pardon policy by becoming a model citizen.
It even made sense such a man might have extended some measure of protection and friendship to one so vulnerable from complete memory loss. But Vane wanted to be sure Jaz Baldrik knew where he stood, and what expectations were being placed upon him. Having no idea what kind of briefing the CSF or CRD would provide, Vane wanted to be sure he fully understood what he agreed to take on.
“I am sorry, sir,” the admin answered after the briefest pause, “he got listed as MD eight cycles back, reported by the property agent he leased an apartment from. No further update on that and I can’t find a current link access for him.”
Missing or Displaced.
But Cista had told him –
Dropping the office link, he switched to his personal one, a sick sense of realisation gripping his stomach as he called Cista. The link he had used to reach her just moments before, coming up to his office, when they had laughed and confirmed where they were to meet to go out for the evening, was dead – registered as disconnected. Cista Tyran, if that was indeed even her name, clearly felt her mission accomplished. For a moment Vane considered contacting her department directly, but there was no accusation he could make that would stand any official scrutiny. It had been his responsibility and his decision after all.
“You complete idiot,” he muttered, full of anger at himself, as the implications hit home. “What the hell have you just done?”

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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