Coffee Break Read – Growing Speculation

What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted…

“Jazatar Baldrik was released from the Special Legion to serve with the defence force based on Thuringen, but resigned within a cycle following a violent fracas with three other members of the unit. He remained on Thuringen a while doing nothing much that we could see, then we lost sight of him for a few cycles before he reappeared in the ‘City right around the same time that Chola arrived. There were some unconfirmed reports that he was involved with the explosion that destroyed the infamous Voltz hangout, killing over two hundred people. But if it was him, it certainly did nothing to damage his reputation.
“He was working as head of security for Sarnai Altan soon after, then switched his loyalty to Durban Chola when he took over from her. You saw an example of Baldrik’s handiwork at the start. He is a killer of the most dangerous kind: not just vicious and ruthless, but intelligent enough to be highly effective as well. That said, bringing him to account for it would be a challenge as he — so far as we know — restricted his nasty habits to the ‘City.”
Which was the real irony of it, Grim reflected. The main reason the ‘City was seen as crime capital of the Coalition was not so much because it had more criminals than anywhere else, as because it had a legal framework which meant the criminal leaders were almost sovereign — their people could literally act with impunity. In the ‘City, organised crime was not treated in the way it was elsewhere in the Coalition.
“We believe he was personally responsible for the murder of at least five of our own operatives in the course of one year and any number of others on behalf of his employers. That said, he was not very loyal to any of them. He was reputedly selling information on Chola to other Names and for a time we even had him on our books as an informer — at his own instigation.”
Now Grim began to see where there might be some reason for his inclusion in this briefing. This man sounded exactly the kind of unpleasant individual he had made his career out of pursuing. He straightened up in his chair and tried to pay more attention. There was quite a bit more on various possible, suspected and proven crimes involving the two men and it was all beginning to sound pretty intriguing. Admittedly, Chola was not the kind of criminal he was much used to hunting down, but Baldrik fitted his preferred profile perfectly.
The only aspect of this he was not liking so much, was the idea of having to work in the ‘City. He knew it well enough. Like most of his generation of CSF operatives, he had trained there, cutting his teeth on the hard carapace of ‘City criminality. But he could not be comfortable in a place where all the normal rules were blurred and the idea of protecting the innocent from the guilty was warped by the fact that innocent and guilty were decided by forces other than the legal structures he served. Even so, for the chance to bring down an animal like Baldrik, it could be worth it. So as the initial survey was coming to a close, he watched the images with growing speculation.

From Iconoclast: Mistrust and Treason a Fortune’s Fools book by E.M. Swift-Hook which is only 0.99 to buy for a limited period.

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