Galton Raka stared out the window of his highrise office in the Security Commission Center, observing Aecer’s vast, metallic grandeur. The Security Commission headquarters loomed above the Central Sector CAV-way intersection at the very heart of the city, which scintillant with the movement of thousands of lev-hans, mag-rays and assurance drones, dancing to the dictates of the affin net’s algorithms. The lanes dropped and rose in irregular tandem to the needs of the citizenry, appearing, to the lofty observer, like massive, beetle-clad serpents. Above the bustling racket of the grand transportation thoroughfares, colossal tethered aerostats drifted like great argent whales; fundamental infrastructure for the city’s communication network. Raka smiled weakly and took a sip of coffee. He had forgotten how beautiful the metropolis looked from above, and remembered all too well how ugly it had begun to look from below.
His quiet reverie was interrupted by the automated swish of the office door, footsteps following, quick and light across the scuffed hardwood floor. Raka gazed over his shoulder and beheld a fair-featured man, short, stocky and dressed in the vestments of a Consortium Security Commission officer. The guest performed a perfunctory half-bow and straightened, politely but impatiently awaiting address.
“What is it, Vogel?”
“Something I thought you should take a look at, sir.”
“Could have just sent it to me.”
“Didn’t want it in the system.”
At the admission, Raka turned slowly and walked to his table, setting his coffee down with agitation, leaning back in his chair as he waited to be told the news.
“There was a mugging, sir.”
Raka sighed heavily and gestured with disgust to his affin tablet.
“There’ve been plenty.”
“Three men attacked a woman in Central, near the HEZ.”
“And? Our hands are tied.”
“Two of the robbers were killed in the attempt.”
“By the woman?”
“No. By Acelin Syzr.”
“The head of the KSRU?”
Vogel nodded. Raka ran a hand through his thinning hair, working his jaw back and forth.
“Near the HEZ? What was he doing there?”
“I’ve no idea. The whole scene was captured by one of our assurance drones.”
“Has anyone but you and the monitors seen the recording?”
“Well, that’s the peculiar thing. The robbers trashed the drone once it flew down. We lost the signal. All we captured up to that point was the robbers assaulting the woman and knocking her to the ground.”
“Have you identified her?”
“A one Casja Fawnell. Middle-aged. Moderately wealthy. Member of the Aecer Historical Society. Works for the Sodabrucke campaign. She’s yet to file a complaint.”
“I take it you got the rest of the footage from the drone… you did recover it, didn’t you?”
“No, sir. Wasn’t there. Someone stole it.”
“Which means whoever took it has the whole recording.”
“Then we can expect it on the news in the next day or two.”
Raka shook his head and cursed.
“Can you identify the surviving robber from the footage you obtained?”
“I already have. His name is Danzig Kleiner. Career criminal. Been in and out of Northwing since he was a kid for everything from larceny to rape. No permanent residence.”
“Likes to hang around a club called The Red Moon. Disreputable establishment, from what I’ve heard. Its not far from the tenement where the assault occurred. I was planning on checking it out after I swing by Ms. Fawnell’s place.”
“Alright. And Vogel.”
“If this situation escalates, bring Syzr in.”
Vogel arched a brow.
“Bring him in?”
“His, or ours?”