7

Well, I got the book, although my back is telling me that next time, just do the easy thing and buy a copy. I get into the department around 8 in the morning, technically an hour before we start, to find that eve is already in the building and busily working away on what was done yesterday. I check the logs quickly and find that she was in since 6.

I smile to myself as I pad quietly through the halls of IA. I remember when I still had the enthusiasm to do that sort of thing, though I can never remember the day when the enthusiasm went, and I found myself just looking to get through one more day without getting dead. As I walk up behind her, she turns to see me, and I see that she's looking over the scenes of the crimes, in that oh so clinical way that our kind are likely to do.

She looks a little puzzled as I ease myself into the seat opposite.

"Rough night?"

"No more than usual" I smile "Got anything?"

She looks exasperated, from the looks of it, she's been sitting there for far too long "The only thing that links the two crimes is the glyphs, whatever did the first one had patience, whatever did the second had power, and lots of it, you don't often find those together."

"True" I take the book from my pocket and place it on the table in front of her.

"What's this?"

"A question I asked myself last night," I say quietly "this book has details of several killings, each one with a deadly sin behind it, I looked over the killings for pacifism and poverty, they matched the two that we've got pretty exactly."

She looks up at me "The Author?"

I shake my head with a wry smile "Too easy."

"Well we should bring them in anyway, see what they were thinking when they wrote it"
"No, it's a little late for that, the author was killed fifteen years ago, I put in a request to get the circumstances of the killing, but it's a long time back, and records weren't that good at the time"
Her shoulders sink a little "So what are the other sins?"

I flip the book onto its front, indicating the blurb on the back "Corpulence, Ugliness, Disobedience, Treachery, and stupidity, and from what our person is thinking, disobedience is next on the list."

There's a hammer-like impact on my back and I curse, leaning forwards as my back explodes with pain.

"Bubbles again?" booms a voice from behind me.

I get up and knock hands with Pat "You know it Boss."

Patrick Andrew Thaddeus, Youngest ever person to make Chief of internal affairs, a great bear of a man, standing six feet and seven in his bare feet, three feet across the shoulders and a former academy power-lifting champion. A Good man, we graduated at the same time, but I took a little time out to go see a few things before I came back to the department, we've spilled the same blood in the same mud on many a case. He's still got an eye for the ladies though, as he glances down at Eve with an appraising eye.

"Chief Thaddeus, this is Operative Petula Evangeline, operative Evangeline, Chief of the Watch, Patrick Thaddeus" I introduce the pair of them, and Pat gently (for him) shoulders me out of the way, extending one giant paw "They call me Pat, if you're good, you get to find out what the trick is." He's got on his ladykiller voice, which is to say that he's lowered his voice about fifty octaves, he thinks it sounds sexy. The truth is that between the various things that he's done in his life, lowering his voice like that only makes it sound like he's growling at the person.

"Eve" she replies formally, taking his hand.

"I'll be seeing you around then" he kisses her hand and thumps me on the back again "Told you to get her neutered Lad." He plods into his office without a further word.

As the door closes, Eve looks up at me "what did he say?"

I smile to myself "It translates as Hi in his language."

"And what was that about neutering?"

I go red for the second time in two days, must be a record "Erm, Mina may look like a human, but she........er, she......."

"Mates?"

"Thank you, she mates...." I pause a little on the word for effect "like a wraith, if you ever decide to try a walk on the wild side, pack some kickstart."

Her turn to blush.

I smile again, disarming the situation "Anyhow, the Boss disapproves of inter-species breeding, even if neither of us can have kids, so he makes a point of crunching me every time I spend any time with her"

"Isn't that racism? You could complain."

I find myself definitely grinning at that one "Racism is an issue for lesser people, you're in internal affairs now, and this is one of the few lessons you're going to have to learn. The basic premise of us is that we investigate operatives, that's all we do, now, in this job, you'll encounter other races, and even if you don't hate them now, chances are that at the end of the day, you will."

She looks a little scandalised by this, so I roll over the objections before they begin.

"How long have you been on the job, Eve?"

"You know how long."

"So refresh an old man's memory for him."

"I started yesterday."

I nod, as much to myself as anything.

"I started twenty three years, ten months, three days, and four hours ago, I know this, because when I started, I believed that I could make a difference as well, in the beginning, I kept a journal of what was going on day by day." I reach down to my desk and withdraw a black bound book as I'm talking, not pausing as I do so. "This is it, in it is recorded the first cases that I was on, and why I stopped keeping a journal"

I pass the book over to her "It's yours now, you'll find that there's plenty of space in there to make notes".

She picks up the book and makes to open it.

"Not now" I gently close the book with one hand. "Read it later, for now, just listen, I have seen every atrocity known to man. I have seen them up close, and I have seen them at distance, I have seen things that no man should have to see and I have seen them done for no better reason than the victim was a difference race."

"What's that got to do with racism?"

"Everything, you see, what am I?"

"Pardon?"

"What am I?"

"A man."

"No, no, you see, if you saw through the eyes of a racist, you would see a man who is a different colour to you, after all, I'm almost white, I'm colony born, but I'm white, you're Brown, I'm guessing from New Paris, Distal Quarter, yes?"

"Yeah" she looks a little surprised "did you read my file?"

"No, but you've got distinctive markings on your neck that indicate that you were part of one of the gangs there once."

Unconsciously she reaches up to the markings at the side of her neck "The thing is this Eve," I go on. "Racism exists, and in this world, the only ones who get anywhere in life are those who get on with the job regardless of it existing. Whatever you think of the people you work with, you get on with your life, that is the way it has to be. I may find those comments that he just made reprehensible, but that's irrelevant. It's his right to say them, that's what he believes and I have no right to tell him how to think."

"But doesn't it get in the way of doing the job?"

I look down at this innocent young girl, marvelling at how the young sometimes think.

"I don't know," I say, reaching down at taking her hand in an acrobats grip, wrist to wrist, making sure that the light catches the two different skin tones "Does it?"

She looks down at the two hands and then looks back up with one of the most radiant smiles I've seen for a long time,"Not to me."

"YO!" the yell comes from the end of the office, Pat's leaning out of the side of his door "They got another one, downtown, 15th and Stein, shift yourselves."