“Damn well ought to have tied him up.”
Dave nodded sympathetically, then turned to see what Scar was looking at behind him.
Rael bounced up, grinning. “Don’t beat yourself up, Scar. We can’t control everything our bosses do. We just have to reason with them and do our best to keep them alive. And using an illusion was a very good idea.”
Dave snickered. “I think he’ll listen a bit better, next time.”
Scar sighed. “I hope so. Because I really hope I’ll be protecting him for the next twenty years. He’s sharp as a whip and wants all the right things.”
Dave nodded. “I checked, there are three hundred and twenty-nine Modern Federalists running for Council seats. And a bunch at regional and local assemblies. I think that’s a good sign.”
Rael nodded. “It is. Probably three quarters of them started out as Strong Federalists, but Orde’s followers were making inroads well before Izzo’s master stroke. Took me by surprise.”
Nods from everyone around. Feol grinned. “I like to see brain and tactics in a president.”
Major Eppa stalked up. “Scar, you need to learn to duck. Light duty for a week. Go sit in Izzo’s HQ and make sure no one gets in with a bomb. That blast in Italy has my nerves crawling.”
Rael nodded. “And . . . well, Ycrw’s from Italy, but, well, he doesn’t have the background for that sort of mayhem. If it’s linked to him, and not a set up to make us suspect him, I’m not sure how to determine . . . well, I suppose it’s Interior’s baby, and dammit, my best inside information source is incorruptible.”
Eppa chuckled. “I hope you realize how many of us have gone out of our way to meet your oft mentioned brother-in-law-the-cop since he’s moved to Paris.” He caught Dave’s inquiring look, and grinned. “Rael generally mentioned him with something along the lines of ‘I don’t even have to ask my brother-in-law-the-cop to know that’s a bad idea.’ Which sort of tweaked our interest.”
“Ah.” Dave nodded. “That would be the stepfather?”
“Yep. Nice man. Solid.” Eppa grinned. “And he’s so tactful about his sister-in-law.”
Rael snorted. “I used to worry that he was too honest for Paris, and he doesn’t fence, that I’ve ever seen. But he’s pretty canny, well he is a cop; no one’s tried to play him a second time.”
“Umm, I should meet this guy. Anyone you respect that much . . .”
Scar grinned. “Yeah. Why don’t we go drop by IR and ask about that explosion in Italy, and maybe just happen to meet this fellow?”
Dave thought that over. I wonder what it looks like from the outside. “Yeah, we should do that.”
Rael rolled her eyes. “Have fun.”
Subdirector of Investigation Ahxe Withione Blackpoint had a secretary . . . who was very obviously a Princess. Niin according to the little block sitting on her desk. Gray hair in a smooth professional cut, a hint of a wrinkle across her forehead were the only indications of age. She looked them over like she was figuring out the most efficient way to kill them, then took their names, then stepped to the door of the inner office.
“Those Blackhorse Guards you were hoping to speak to have turned up on your doorstep.” She stepped back and waved them in.
The subdirector stood and shook hands, waved them into seats. “Call me Ox and tell me what I can do for you gentlemen who are apparently covering an assassination attempt on Izzo yesterday?"
Dave blinked. "We are trying to keep this election quiet and smooth. We’re investigating. No doubt in a few months some arrests will be forthcoming.” I hope. I wonder what Rael did with them? Well, probably they’re just . . . in stasis, so to speak, until she lets them out. “We were, thus, rather interested in this explosion in Italy.”
Scar nodded. “Especially any chemical traces that we could connect back to the truck bomb here.”
Ox leaned back and eyed them. “Really?”
Dave swapped glances with Scar. “Actually I wanted to meet this paragon of virtue that Rael has so much respect for. Bomb-wise, I’m much more worried about any hint of a bomb factory, and anything that might be . . . available, out there.”
“We have some alerts out and are discreetly checking anything that looks like these.” He tapped at his computer and brought up a picture on the wall. Still photos from the bomb factory. Showing the array of containers, the wiring and electronics connected to them, the vehicles, the chemicals stored in a thick walled room, the mixing room . . . all the bomb makers, no sign of who was taking the pictures.
“Holy crap!” Scar looked and sounded appalled. “What, where . . .”
Dave closed his mouth. I didn’t even think of recording anything! That woman is scary good. “Have those people been arrested? Is everything secured?”
“No.” Exasperation in the subdirector’s voice. “This was dropped on us anonymously this morning, and claimed to be what had gone up in that blast yesterday. So we’re checking trash cans, mailboxes . . . One! Makes me wish I was still a beat cop in Low Town.”
Dave nodded. “Have you identified any of the people?”
“Yes . . . they’re all members of an extended local family with considerable underground, smuggling, and blackmarketing connections. These particular family members were thought to be gainfully employed and not connected to the criminal side of the family. No doubt I’ll be hearing more from the local police any time now.”