Spring: six months after leaving the Monastery, a few minutes after handing over a criminal.
The police car drove at high speed, sirens blaring. Sunar sat and looked out the window. I don’t know why they are running emergency procedures when they already have the criminal, nor why they were so eager to get me in the back of the car, but I guess they know their job better than I do. I could have stood on my ‘noble privledge’ and refused, of course, but they were making it very clear I wasn’t under arrest.
Momentum pushed him against the door as the car turned and went down a ramp, through a gate, and into some sort of underground parking garage. Several officers jumped away from the fast-moving vehicle, some of them making rude gestures or giving the driver an angry stare.
The two officers leapt from the car, slammed the door, and began to talk softly – but with quick sharp gestures, to the nearest uniformed officers.
Sunar watched as the two closest officers nodded and hurried over to the other side of the car, yanked the door open, quickly and efficiently extracted the criminal – who smirked at him as he stood – and then slammed the door closed. Sunar reached to over to get himself out of the car, and noticed that he had no way to open the door.
He looked at the officers who had brought him in, and allowed himself to frown. One of the officers saw his expression and practically leapt to open the car door, then stood aside to let him exit. I hate to stand on my so called ‘noble privilege’, but it can be expedient sometimes. The two of them then took up positions to either side of him.
The one called John spoke in measured, exquisitely neutral tones, “Would you provide us with your name and title?”
“I am mi’lord Sunar Dawnsflight.”
The two men looked at one another with blank faces, then turned back to him. John spoke again, “Very well, mi’lord, thank you for providing me that. I would be correct, then, in understanding that the only Title you have is from your birth as a half-dragon?”
When Sunar nodded John’s partner glanced to another officer, who turned on his heel and left with haste.
Sunar took another look around and realized he’d lost track of Bobby Finkle. Where did they take him? I don’t know if I have responsibility for the criminal beyond turning him over to the authorities….
Officer John interrupted his thoughts, “Mi’lord, under what authority did you apprehend the criminal?”
The actions of these officers, and their carefully neutral stance, began to concern him. Why does he seem to be acting like I did something wrong? They have to have suspected that this guy is a criminal before today, and now I am here offering them testimony of a noble to convict him.
Oh, of course. Evidence. My word would carry some weight with the Courts, surely, but maybe not be enough. Easily fixed. He reached into his pocket, pulled out his phone, and brought up the recording he’d taken of Bobby Finkle and played it for the officers. When it finished he nodded to them, “I will, of course, also provide your department with a copy of this video, as well as a link to the secure data store it has been uploaded to, so that it can be used as evidence.”
The two officers exchanged another of those unreadable looks, took a small step towards him, and began to move their hands as if they intended to grab his arms. They stopped, stood shuffled back, and John’s partner spoke, “You understand that recording may not be admissible in court, right? You many not, as a private individual, have to follow the same rules of evidence that we do, but you are pretty clearly taking that recording from outside a private office…”
Sunar waved his hand, then gave an apologetic smile, and relayed how he’d ended up in a position to make that recording.
Officer John responded to the story with a huffing sort of sound, “And, I suppose that the bar you work at has secured recordings of the guy with the bag?”
The cops looked at one another again with eyebrows raised, shrugged their shoulders, turned, and motioned for him to follow.
He complied. I am beginning to dislike the attitude of these men. Their motion could be construed as a command rather than a request, and I get the distinct sense that they would not simply let me walk away if I did not comply, laws about detaining nobles or no.
They led him through the station to the sort of interrogation room he’d always seen on the vids. They gestured for him to take a seat then left, taking great care that the door did not *quite* close all the way behind him. He could also hear John take up position outside the door.
They can legally say that they have not detained me, but are making it rude – or even suspicious – for me to leave. Probably not suspicious enough for a judge to order some other noble to find me and bring me back, but enough to potentially cause me trouble. It is confusing, they are being very careful to treat me with the ‘deference’ that I am supposedly due, but their attitude is that I did something wrong. Despite their careful following of the rules, they are still treating me like I was…
The door swung open with great speed and hit the wall with a loud noise. A human woman stalked through the doorway, slammed the door closed with another loud bang, and dropped a thick folder with the title ‘Bobby Finkle’ on the table. She put both hands on the table to lean in so that she loomed over him before she spoke in acerbic tones. “Just who do you think you are, that you think you are allowed to go vigilante in my precinct? You walk into my dominion with no warrant, no earned title, and no directive other than your own moral guidance,” She made the word moral sound like something dirty. “and haul in a patsy thug that we have been holding off on grabbing in an attempt to build a case against the larger criminal ring he became a part of?”
Sunar carefully kept his face still, other than raising a single eyebrow at her, as he turned his head to face her. “I think I am a concerned citizen. One who tracked down a man who attempted to gas the patrons at my place of employment back to his employeer, then acted to prevent loss of life – as a citizen, much less a noble, is expected to do if they are able.”
She attempted loom over him, facing away from the mirror, snarling, and then bringing her features under tight control. “What any citizen would be expected to do? You know what I think mi’lord?” She made the title sound like a curse word. “I think you have watched far too many vids, and think that your ‘noble privilege of arrest’ covers whatever you feel like it covers, rather than the procedures and customs… wait… show me your forearms.”
He complied and rolled up a sleeve to show her the brand on his forearm.
She stood there a moment then cursed under her breath, pushed off the table to stand upright, turned away from him, and put a hand on her forehead so that it partially covered her face.
He could still see her face in the mirror. For a moment he thought he saw fear flash across her face, but with her hand in the way he couldn’t be sure.
She spoke again. “A monk. No doubt abandoned by your non-dragon parent at whatever Gods-forsaken Monastery that raised you She raised her eyes to meet his gaze in the mirror, with a look that said she’d rather shoot him than speak to him. “If you were a proper noble, mi’lord; I would think you some born-zero trying to prove something, and would simply call your parents to come pick you up before you became an embarrassment. “On the other hand, if you weren’t…” She made an extravagant, dismissive gesture towards him with one arm “what you are… I would bundle you up and send you back to whatever blighted monastery you came out of, with a threat of nailing you to the wall for impeding an active investigation if you ever set foot in the real world again.”
She whirled around and slapped her hands on the table again, attempting to loom over him once more. “However, you’ve gotten yourself mixed up in something much, much bigger than you young man, something that could easily get you killed.” One side of her mouth turned up in a harsh smirk, “The people that Bobby Finkle answers to are a dangerous planet-wide crime syndicate that are inches away from getting a Knight-Errant, or several, brought down on this world to deal with them. They have killed a number of people to protect themselves, people more difficult to deal with than you.”
She sighed heavily and shook her head. “There are a few ways out of this for you. The first is that you delete all of the videos you have, swear that you will keep your mouth shut, and just walk away. We pretend to accept whatever bribe Bobby offers us to let him walk.” She gestured towards the large folder on the table, “My larger investigation ends, but that is already done, and no one dies today.”
Sunar fought to keep his face impassive and locked gazes with her until she finally shook her head again. “Of course not, that would mean expecting some hot-blooded young idiot to see sense. I suppose that means that you will be willing to return to the court room when summoned to testify at Bobby’s trial, even though that likely means they will kill you?”
He held his peace for a few moments before speaking. He’d learned, over the last several months, that answering too quickly could annoy people. Back home it meant you could think quickly, out here people seemed to take it to mean you hadn’t listened.
After a few moments he spoke. “It is hardly the first time that someone with far more power or prestige than me tried to kill me, Captain. Let me know when and where to be, and I will be there.” He stood, a look of calm, unruffled determination on his face. “Does that conclude the questions you have for me? I think it is time for me to go.”
The sneer returned as she opened the door. “You poor fool. You don’t understand the nature of what you face. Finkle has been in this station for at least ten minutes now, which means that there are at least a dozen snipers scattered on rooftops nearby.” She shrugged, then gestured at the door. “Go, I doubt you will make it three blocks before you have a new flow-through ventilation system for that hunk of jelly posing as a brain. But, no skin off my back. I can probably get a conviction on Bobby with what I have, even with you dead, and it is not like our larger investigation hasn’t been derailed. So sure: leave. Or – if you want to stay alive, see Bobby in jail, and give the Law a fighting chance to take a swing at Bobby’s superiors – you can do exactly what I tell you.”