A quiet day, a rainy evening. I spent it doing the crossword, watching a couple of Torchwood episodes — I think I’ve revised my opinion of the new miniseries to “mostly awful” — and writing. For instance, I wrote this at my weekly writing group:
“Someone is killing our spies,” said the prefect, sipping at his tea. “It’s getting on Consul’s last remaining nerve, I can tell you.”
“I thought officially you didn’t have any of those,” Marcus said. He let his own tea grow cold on its saucer. “Spies, I mean. Isn’t that Consul’s position, that espionage…what was it? Is detrimental to a free and open society?”
“That is the party line, yes,” the prefect said. “Regrettable, but a political necessity. And yet we still have enemies, as you are well aware. The Nelgreb, for one, have been encroaching on our space for years, to say nothing of the Praxium Affinity and their deathships, who would gladly wipe us from the face of the earths if given the chance.”
“Hence the spies,” Marcus said.
“Hence the spies. Yet now, they appear to be turning up rather…well, murdered.”
“Enemy agents?” Marcus asked. “The Affinity doesn’t usually like to get its hands dirty like that. And even the Nelgreb don’t often stoop to kill individuals…unless your boys and girls got sloppy and provoked them?”
“They did no such thing,” the prefect said. Marcus enjoyed watching him bristle. “These were our elite cadre of intelligence officers. But you misunderstand me. These were not field agents.”
“But I thought you said — ”
“Someone is killing our spies at home,” the prefect said, well aware he now had Marcus’ full attention. He even smiled, damn him. “Someone is murdering them one by one within the Citadel walls.”
“That’s not possible.”
“And yet…” The prefect reached for a folder in the open drawer behind him, then spread the contents on the table beside the teapot. “Eight officers in total have already died, in rather a gruesome manner. You’ll find vidgraphs in there, detailing the attacks…although, I warn you, they’ll likely put you off these delightful cucumber sandwiches.”
Marcus let the man eat. Eight officers, and in the Citadel no less. Such a thing shouldn’t be possible. There was Homeworld conditioning, for one thing; he’d undergone that himself before the long exile, and he knew for a fact the psychological blocks were nigh impossible to break. But there were also external safeguards against it. There had been no real violence in the Citadel for almost two hundred years, much less a murder, much less eight. Off-world he had seen violence, quick and brutal death aplenty, but here in the heart of the empire’s government, he’d never seen anything like what was in the vidgraphs playing out now on the sheets before him.
“So you can see why we requested your particular set of gifts,” the prefect said, dusting crumbs from the side of his mouth. “Why we allowed you to come back.”
It was an odd attempt to mix the genres of international intrigue, space opera, and slasher horror of all things, but I had fun with it.
Then this evening, I watched The Joneses, which was decent.
That was Sunday.