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Freedom of the Press

Something is rotten on Taungoo Station.

So this investigative reporter--a full-fledged citizen of the Consortium, mind you--has been nosing around a little too much, making the locals uncomfortable. They file a formal complaint against him. And then, all of a sudden, he disappears. His clone hasn't spawned, so he's not dead, but there's no trace of him.

His daughter and daughter-in-law are frantic. The daughter thinks he's been kidnapped in retaliation for his investigations, and is being held and tortured in the Brig. Consortium Security investigates, but the Brig's records are clean. He's not there.

Then Security begins to suspect that perhaps his disappearance was a little too conveniently timed. Maybe he just didn't want to have to respond to that formal complaint? What exactly was he doing? And then they start wondering whether his daughter might be involved as well, so they begin asking questions...

Which is, of course, when I decide to ignore common sense and emulate the nosy reporter by sticking my own nose in where nobody wants it.

I sidle up to a guard in the Brig, all casual-like, and tell him I know they're holding the reporter. I pretend to be his employer, and insist all I want is for him to return to work, no questions asked. The mook plays dumb--pointing to the empty records--so I slip him a few creds to jog his memory. And while he's considering, I point out that, if they release the reporter, Consortium Security won't have any reason to continue investigating, or to look into the Brig's phony records...

I know I've hit paydirt when the guard--essentially verifying that they do indeed have the reporter in there--steps to one side to contact someone higher up in the food chain. I can tell the voice on the other end is female, but I can't make out a word. The guard nods, disconnects, and levels a flat gaze at me.


The guard puts one hand on the butt of his weapon. "Leave, or die."

Right. Nice and subtle, just the way I like it. I actually consider briefly: I don't know whether I could take even one guard, and this guy has lots of friends around, all suddenly paying very close attention to us. "See you around," I say, tipping a non-existent hat to him, then stroll casually away at a somewhat higher speed than usual. ("The better part of valor" and all that, y'know.)

And then I try to find the reporter's daughter to tell her what happened... and she's gone. No trace. Her wife, too. Disappeared. Consortium Security figures all three of them went into hiding. But something tells me that, deep in the bowels of the Brig, there are now two fewer empty cells.



  1. I'm quite enjoying your blog entries :)

  2. From you, high praise indeed.