Announcements: Initiative: Promoting Forum Roleplay » Universe of the Month! » Finding Universes to Join (and making yours more visible!) » Guide To Universes On RPG » Starter Locations & Prompts for Newcomers » RPG Chat — the official app » USERNAME CHANGES » Suggestions & Requests: THE MASTER THREAD »

Latest Discussions: Iskjerne Ballad by dealing_with_it » Viking Music / Norse Songs - Germanic Paganism » Call Girls in Goa » Capitalism » Panspermia: a Case for Cordyceps » The Ethics on owning a Housepet » I just really had to share this plot idea. » Materialism » Satire & Comedy » Platonic numbers » No complaints (a little bit of rappin) » Any multi-player roleplay videogamers here? » Needing a woman's perspective on a concept » Gluts and Gaps » Universal Basic Income » Impending Pursuit Q&A » Eudaimonia » Loot! » Natural Kinds » I have a funny idea »

Players Wanted: Looking for new RP Buddy(s)! » Sands of Oblivion » Looking for Role Players to join an active universe » Looking for Empire of Cendalia Players » Seeking Roleplayers for The Isekai Wonderland Project » Hadean The Brave - Fresh Blood » Just a trophy of status - long term, story focus! » Kingdom come looking for roleplayers » The Last Dragon! » Roleplay Return for 1 x 1 » Players wanted for a science fiction adventure. » Players needed for Fantasy Romance reboot » One(1) male & Two(2) Female Roles OPEN <3 » Talmora: Kingdom of magic » Looking For A New Partner » Hellboy characters » 18+ Writing Partner [Fantasy, Romance, Etc.] » 18+, Multi-Para to Novella Writers please! » Looking for roleplayers » Fun tale full of angels, demons, and humans »


Viktor Romanovich Ivanov

LSP Officer. Dectective. 28. Alive.

0 · 427 views · located in Earth 2075

a character in “Lumaire Nights”, as played by TomorrowsHerald


Name: Viktor Romanovich Ivanov (veek-tahr ee-vah-nawf)
Aliases:Tinkerbell (CPU alias)
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: May 5th, 2047
Racial Identification: Russian
Place of Birth: Stalingrad – Neo Bolshevik Alliance
Current Residence: Lumaire
Places Traveled: Istanbul – Turkey, Athens – Greece, various places around Italy & France
London – Kingdom of England & Wales, Boston – Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Names of Family and Relatives:
Anna – mother (alive)
Roman – father (alive)

Physical Description/General Appearance: Viktor is fairly average in height, and has a somewhat muscular build developed to satisfy the requirements of the LSP. Viktor is always clean shaven and never lets his hair pass beyond his ears, but does not bother with any sophisticated hair cuts. He does not have a specific outfit, but generally wares ether a gray sweater or a dark blue jacket. Several dozen Che Guevara and Stoyanovich logo tea-shirts of various shades of color as well as matching trousers bolster his wardrobe and form the vanguard of his indoor clothing. Whenever possible, Viktor wares a black cape hat with the logo of a small Serbian soccer team. The hat provides him with a means to mislead onlookers of his racial identity, cover up his face and provide police CCTV with an identifiable icon of his presence (the team colors are blue and red, so are the hats usually). On special occasions, Viktor actually gets around to putting on a suite despite his loathing for such formality.

Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Dark-Blond
Skin Tone/Complexion: Lightly Tanned
Body Type: Mesomorph
Height: 5'9
Weight: 154
Augmentations:A small neck mounted Cyber-Analysis Device augmentation connected to his brain and wrist mounted PAD. The device allows Viktor to link up with nearby systems no more than 1-2 miles away, so long as there is no major obstruction. Viktor can attack a system from a long range but is left vulnerable to counter hacking or aggressive firewalls in the 'open plains' of cyberspace. A direct connection using a cable mounted on the device provides a safer avenue for in depth dives an a means to isolate individual operating systems from the net. the CAD (Cyber Analysis device) is often hidden by the collar of his clothing or surgically removed in difficult undercover infiltration missions.

Personality Dossier: Viktor is individually a closed person, somewhat socially insecure and a natural loner. He has few close friends outside the police force and often needs a shared point of interest such as computers, politics or soccer to maintain a connection. In the work place, Viktor is uncharacteristically outgoing, humorous and beaming as opposed to his individual brooding and seriousness. He suppresses his social insecurities with an all smiling mask of humor and pragmatic positivism, which branches out as a misleading and difficult poker face. Viktor's major flaw is his perfectionism, which makes it difficult for him to accept anything short of complete success. He often sees these "failures" as his responsibility, a belief that compounds his insecurities. His need to seek redemption through his work in the police force, the same inner force which drives him to succeed also drives him to forgive himself and carry on; before his insecurities begin to interfere which his job.

Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Religious/political Beliefs: Simply described Viktor is an atheist, but not in the same way most subscribers to Western liberalism would understand. Viktor was brought up with the ideals of Communism rather than any religious instruction, despite the legality of The Russian Orthodox Church in the NBA. The Communist youth movement and his parents encouraged him to see Lenin, Trotsky and Stoyanovich (the founder of the NBA) as the 'saints' of the revolution and Das Kapital as the holy testament. His parent's banishment from Russia disillusioned him of Communism, but Viktor remains a devoted socialist opposed and disgusted by the vices of capitalism. Despite his beliefs, Viktor attends the Sunday mass in church but only out a sense of community in the predominantly Russian speaking part of the city he lives in.
Education: Viktor studied until his 15th birthday in a school set up by the Russian Orthodox Church for Russian immigrants. He was able to move on to a private high school which specialized in technology after his mother managed to save enough money and proceeded from there to a College in Boston which specialized in Cyber-Security. Viktor also studied law enforcement whilst he lived in the Commonwealth.
Ranking: Detective
Equipment: LSP standard handgun, the more common Viper 6 semi-automatic pistol if acting under cover. Viktor used the LSP variant of the K-97 rifle in the CPU counter terrorism unit, but rarely goes out on the field with the rifle and keeps it locked up in his apartment. Viktor retains a switchblade from his gang days and keeps it as an option to fall back to in close quarters. The final pieces of equipment he uses include a connecting Cyber operations PAD disguised as a normal civilian model, a traditional laptop for his leisure requirements and a German built Augsburg Messer electric motorcycle.
Items: A small red book containing extracts from Stoyanovich's "Reflections on Marxist-Leninist Ideology" which he carries in his left pocket, charity contact cards from the police orphan charity he sometimes passes along to other people, a pack of playing cards he brought from the NBA containing various communist emblems and his black Serbian "J-Street Tigers" FC cap.


Viktor was born in the Neo Bolshevik Alliance, a successor state of the Russian Federation in control of Southern Russia. He was the only child of his parents, both of whom where Communist Party members of good standing. Viktor's father was a aspiring member of the state's politburo and worked in its diplomatic corps. Viktor's mother worked in the research department of the NBA's defense industry, specializing in Cyber-Warfare. Using her husband's influence in the party, she also managed to become the editor of the state's scientific journal. When Viktor was twelve years old, his parents suddenly seemed to have few if any limits to the time they could spend with him. Viktor was curious but did not ask questions, just as the party had taught him. He received his first lessons in computers from his mother while his father stepped up Viktor's English lessons.

Unknown to Viktor at the time, Viktor's father had supported the losing candidate in a succession crisis of the party's chairmanship. Consequently, both Viktor's mother and father had become victims of a vast political purge by the new hardline regime. The family fled before the secret police decided to arrest them. Viktor's parents bribed the border police and left the NBA illegally, eventually settling down in Lumaire. They barely had any money left by the time they had reached Lumaire. Most of their assets had been frozen by the party before they had made their escape and the internationally unrecognized NBA currency traded poorly against the credit. Viktor's mother found employment working in a local firm's cyber security department, but his father was unable to find steady employment. Broken and ashamed of his fall from power, Viktor's father became a bitter man who drank heavily.

When he was 16, Viktor joined a violent ethnically Russian biker gang as a means to stay away from home. When he was 17, he and several other members of the gang where chased by a police car which had spotted them vandalizing a public building. Failing to evade the police car, the gang leader told Viktor to attack the police car's navigation systems using an untried and illegal virus purchased from the black market. Instead of merely harming the police car's maneuverability, the police car lost control and crashed, killing its driver and rendering a second policeman immobile for life. He left the gang shortly after the event, and was never identified by the authorities as a member of the gang. Days later, the gang was massacred in an ambush by a drug cartel which had grown tired of the gang's encroachments into "their turf". Viktor spent several days pondering what he should do with his life. When his father announced that he would launch a new Russian speaking internet newspaper with the help of his wife, Viktor realized that if his father could put away his bitterness and start anew then so could he.

Viktor threw himself at his studies with renewed vigor and passed with good grades. He then enrolled in a Cyber Security college and was noted for his talent. He was offered a job by the LSP in its Cyber-Crime Prevention Unit, which Viktor decided to accept despite more lucrative offers from the private sector. Viktor served in the CPU for a few years, but was transferred when the CPU was merged with other units following the Bamoko Incident. Viktor was moved to the Financial Crimes unit where he worked on cases involving the Russian community because of his background, particularly in cases involving illegal financing of the Russian States and Red Front terrorism. last year he became involved in a short lived attempt to recreate the CPU as an aggressive field cyber-security unit specializing in counter-terrorism. The CPU was once again dissolved because of financial difficulties, but Viktor had performed admirably enough to warrant a transfer to the major crimes unit effective as of 2075.

Of passing note is Viktor's involvement in a police volunteer group dedicated to helping its veteran's and their families, especially in cases in which they have been seriously injured or killed. Viktor gives several hours each week of his time and helps with various tasks such shopping, house work, helping a police orphan with his homework or visiting a comatose comrade. Secretly, Viktor gives away serious sums of money; sometimes more then he can afford, to the police orphans charity out of a sense of guilt.

So begins...

Viktor Romanovich Ivanov's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Coen Kejong Yoon Character Portrait: Tia Marie St. Cloud Character Portrait: John-Olav Brekke Character Portrait: Eliz Nasso Character Portrait: Jennifer Trent Character Portrait: Viktor Romanovich Ivanov Character Portrait: Tyran Bulgari Character Portrait: Emmett Tigron
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

[Co-written with El_Gringo]

0700 Hours
LSP Headquarters

"Jesus. The coffee's cold."

He had only realized it once it had touched his lips, his right hand no longer felt sensation. Coen Yoon forced what he believed to be last night's coffee down his esophagus, emptying the plastic cyclinder it came in. The temperature affected the flavor, and this particular brew did not deserve to be cold. It probably wasn't worth drinking. Coffee was coffee though, and he couldn't complain as he rarely got around to making it.

"Wasn't my turn," replied one of the patrolmen loitering in the break room.

The officer didn't seem to mind the cold coffee, but he seemed barely enthused to quaff it himself. The news feed playing on his terminal kept him distracted. The device was a screen slightly bigger than the man's hand, and it was completely transparent when turned off. It had full access to the Net and was mainly a communication tool.

Coen's own terminal chimed. At this early in the morning, he had no doubt as to who it was.

"C.K., I need you in my office ASAP."

Captain Alexandra Paris' British colonial accent remained ever fresh from the beginning of the day to the waning hours of the shift. She was Nigerian by nationality, but she took it up as a result of socializing with colonials in her younger years. Her voice never hinted at decay or weariness from the veteran in all of Coen's years as a detective in her unit.

"Yes ma'am," Coen dumped the cup in one of the recycle units and headed down the hall.

Normally he would have had a chance to sit down at his desk with a good fifteen minutes to himself to try and write a half-decent report. Paperwork was never his forte. On this particular morning, it could have been to enjoy what would have been a nice hot cup of coffee. The routine had taken a detour, and it seemed distressing.

Coen could only wonder.


Captain Alexandra Paris was nobility, or perhaps gentry. Neither existed officially in this part of the world, but her family's wealth had earned her the right to walk around the office with such an implicit air.

As Coen stepped into the office, he could see her patiently reviewing her files. Her lashes flickered as she looked up, she quickly swiped away the files on her monitor and turned to him.

"Morning C.K. How have things been so far?" her hands clasped in front of her like the headmistress of a prep school.

"Morning Cap', nothing too exciting going on," Coen would reply with about as much brevity as the captain's own crisp words.

The remnants of the coffee's taste had started to turn bitter in his throat a bit early in the morning. Coen was neither an augur nor an actuary, he could not divine from this what path the day would take.

"Ma'am if you wanted to know about John, you would have called him in. What's this about?"

She nodded, paused, and then spoke.

"Pope is breathing down my neck. The last few years haven't been exactly golden ever since Bamako."

"That's what you get when half the force is cut down."

"Politicians overreacting more like it."

"They make a PR stunt out of anything," Coen shrugged, "If it makes you feel better, I'm on your side."

"So is Pope, but that's all a mystery," the captain inhaled a deep breath and stood up, "I'm assigning you and John to a couple of transfers coming in from several other units."

"FCU and Narcotics seeing extinction pretty soon?"

Paris remained motionless, "It's only a matter of time before the entire LSP merges with one of the corporate outfits."

She shifted her gaze to Coen, body turned away toward the skyline outside her window.

He responded, "No more traffic duty would be a plus at least."

Her gaze remained unchanged, but then again Coen's jokes were never really jokes.

Coen with a cocked brow, " fresh are they?"

"You'll see for yourself."

Coen was about to leave when the captain uttered, "Look sharp. Be sharp. Make this work. Understand, Sergeant Yoon?"

He nodded and left.


Brekke's Desk

John-Olav Brekke sat at his desk, feet propped up on the table. His eyes had found a particularly interesting part of the ceiling to stare at. There was a little, off-white splotch on the white material above him. John was entranced by it.

His door opened, though his eyes stayed put. It had to be Coen, no one else would bother him this early. Eliz generally left him alone until 1000 if he wasn't in the field.

"Hard at work John?"

John couldn't help but put a smile on for the man. "Of course. Thinking about how much of a drain this third child is going to be on my wallet." Coen chuckled softly.

"You and I both know it is a welcome burden, hell, you wanted to get that son. Wasn't Vanessa fine with two kids?" John's brow creased a little, he tore his eyes from the ceiling; giving his attention to Coen.

"What's really up? You aren't one for idle chit chat in the morning."

"We've got some new blood coming in."

The creased brown morphed into a raised eyebrow, "Newbs?" John put his chin in his hand, rubbing two days worth of stubble he had yet to shave. "We could do with a little fresh meat." The shadow of Bamoko still hung over the department. A bit of guilt stayed with John to this day, he was on vacation in Oslo with his family when it all went down. A few in the department resented the fact that his hands had been kept entirely clean of the thing. The thought reminded him of Coen's hand, lost in the series of explosions in the school.

"I wanted to let you know John, didn't want it to be a surprise." He appreciated the respect Coen gave him, when he could easily throw his weight around insted. "Paris made it sound as if they're on the way here now."

Coen walked out as John rummaged in his chest pocket, pulling out the old sonogram photo of his son-to-be. He was playing it safer on the street lately. Being propped up in the hospital with gunshot wounds while his baby was being delivered was not the ideal vantage point.

Lumaire was a great city, but there were plenty of stupid people out there on the streets looking to kill a cop. John had a fourth person about to depend on him.


St. Cloud's Desk

Tia Marie St.Cloud tapped away at her panels blissfully ignorant of a real world. Until Coen approached. At which point she obligated a smile, not that she wouldn't smile to him anyway. Tia opened up a new file tree with information regarding the new team. It immediately appeared on her terminal.

"Alright size 'em up for me." Coen folded his arms leaning against the desk behind them and watched as she brought up the names and faces on the screen.

"Emmett Tigron, Philly boy, his uncle was a dirty cop. He came here, was a beat cop at LSP until he passed the exam. Off duty during Bamako. Survived the cuts and admin had him working in Homicide for several months," Tia said.

"Not bad," Coen said with no change in facial expression.

She would add a snide comment, but she felt it was better placed with a more colorful new assignee.

Tia spoke, "Viktor Ivanov, born in southern Russia, parents were government workers. He immigrated here. Worked in CPU until it was folded, transferred to Financial Crimes, then went back to CPU during their little stint for some earmarks."

"That didn't work out, otherwise he wouldn't be here," Coen nodded.

"Tyran Bulgari, born in some backwater place called The Mud Narrows, ever heard?"


She chuckled, "Neither have I, was a patrolman for several years like his daddy, Erik Bulgari."

"Ah, good man. We worked a few shifts together. Didn't know his son was already..."

"If they came from a place called The Mud Narrows, did you really think you knew anything...?"

"Fair point."

"Decent cop, he's got a temper though. Let's hope he understands what it takes to get to senior detective.

"You'd be surprised as to how many prefer their personality over their paycheck."

"Would you be one of them?"

"Never had a personality. So no conflict of interest."

"Right..." Tia wanted to chalk that up under bullshit, but she had to admit he was right.

Getting to his position required a certain ingredient. In his case, it was probably luck, which was nothing special. He was just in the right place at the right time.

"It also says here that he wanted to join Narcotics."

Tia glanced at Coen with a mild grin, the latter responded with an absent shrug, "Must be luck that he landed here, he would have gotten the axe pretty soon. I was lucky, I know that."

She nodded in agreement.

"Last but not least, Jennifer Trent. Born in England. Got a bachelor's in chemistry and forensic science. Worked in forensics, then switched...for obvious reasons."

Tia felt it was necessary to add, "She's one of the lucky ones then. Her country wasn't bombed to hell..."

"The pay isn't what it used to be, she could have done something else with her bachelor's in chemistry."

"Probably. Maybe work for one of the giant pharmaceuticals or manufacturers, but that's totally none of my business. That's all of 'em."

Coen stood up, "I guess we should get started then."


Briefing Room

The assembled group of major crimes detectives sat in their seats bleary eyed. Some were long time cops who had seen much, others were fresh to the business of being a detective. However, they all shared the same awestruck look that fresh academy recruits had painted on their faces as they recgonized that they had new jobs, offices, and superiors. It would take them some time to get used to the pace of things.

Sergeant Yoon took his seat nearest the main screen which, due to its dimensions, practically doubled as a wall and a digital water fountain whenever not used for briefings.

The other veterans casually shuffled in, unbemused by protocol. These guys could have been doing it in their sleep. Brekke took his seat on the far end behind the recruits, trying to observe each of them before he got to know them in the field. Some gave nods and exchanged handshakes with familiars before the briefing started.

The analysts, Tia and Eliz remained at their desks. They were going to be on-call the entire day while they monitored their feeds.

Then Captain Paris strode in with heels clicking on each step, she buttoned up her jacket before she took everyone in by a couple of glances.

Paris paused and smiled for a split second before she began introducing the senior members that would oversee the group closely while she managed them from afar.

"I am Captain Paris. This is Sergeant Yoon, that's Detective Brekke, and those two ladies are Eliz Nasso and Tia Marie St. Cloud, civilian analysts assigned to help you on your cases."

"I thought we were past the whole "civilian" thing," Eliz chirped.

"If you want to get technical, we're all civilians here," Paris continued unfazed by the upstart remark that she had grown accustomed to.

"Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for formalities. You'll get to know each other better eventually," she took several steps over to the main screen.

"The last 24 hours haven't reported any serious cases, so most of you might be on some form of beat duty until further notice. You've all been assigned a patrolman, but due to the fact that we're undermanned at the moment, they'll probably be doing the same thing you're doing."

Paris took the time to lean against a free railing before continuing in a more relaxed posture, "Be on the lookout for gang activity. It's been quiet, but I'm sure all of you are familiar with how quickly things can change in this city."

"Dismissed." Paris strode out with the same air she came in with.



Suspicious Activity Report #1

Area- Corner of Laxmi and Hanover streets

Objective - Investigate the area, talk with the locals.

Details - The city's been relatively quiet aside from the occasional mugging. We're all sorry, Sergeant Yoon in particular, that we couldn't put you on a murder case. Maybe you should consider yourself lucky though. Anyway, we got a report of suspicious activity down at Laxmi and Hanover. Need someone to go check it out, it's probably not much but you never know. Also, there's a nice little coffee shop down there called "The Old Man's," and they sell these things called ""beignets". Pick me up a few.

- St. Cloud

Subpoenas Not Necessary

Area- Finley's on the south east side of town.

Objective - Oversee the contractors and make sure nobody gets hurt.

Details- We got a report that a group of squatters took up residence in a bar about to be demolished called Finley's. I mean a sleeping pod in one of the hovels is only three credits a night, so this shouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, they've barricaded themselves and the owner of the property reported that they are heavily armed. He decided it was best to call in Paragon Security Services to deal with the matter. PSS has dispatched a team, but these corporate security types can get a bit out of hand without proper oversight. We need one of you guys down there to be a liaison for LSP and the city to make sure we don't have unnecessary casualties. Make it clear that they need to rely on non-lethal methods. Don't be afraid to put your foot down when you feel they're crossing a line.

- Yoon

Bombs Are Machines Too

Area- Vance, Landover, & Hyde Law Office South Park Location

Objective- Investigate.

Details- A bomb threat was called in at the Vance, Landover, & Hyde law office at South Park. The firm is like any other firm, but they've been in the spotlight in recent years for trying to break down the limitation to mass producing AI units in the city. We're not quite sure if this is a true threat, a disgruntled employee, or an attempt to get the place swatted. But any bomb threat will always warrant a second look if I've learned anything as a cop.

- Brekke


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jennifer Trent Character Portrait: Viktor Romanovich Ivanov
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

[Co-written with FrontierKnight]

05:55, Royal Street “Russian Quarter”

“... Now on to the sports the latest soccer results, Lone Star: 2 J-Street Tigers: 0, United Russia: 3, Crazy Horses: 2…”.

A buzzing alarm clock application came to life, rendering any further comments made by the old and technologically inferior radio incomprehensible mutterings. Such was fate, the avid soccer fan was deprived of any extensive mainstream programing dedicated to their chosen sport. It wasn’t the same for football fans or even followers of that obscene fouled profanity called basketball, they could satisfy their hobby to their heart’s content; the city council made sure the local leagues of those sports where well funded after all.

And here was Viktor, missing yet another morning update just because the radio service insisted on delaying it until five to six yet again. Was it his fault or the fault of any soccer fan that the football report went beyond its allotted time-frame? Why did they have to suffer?

Even after the nuclear apocalypse, North America still refused to join civilized sporting society.

Putting his petty grumblings into the back of his mind with a short knowing pessimistic smile, Viktor picked up his dirty plate into the sink. He opened the tap and let the water sweep away the faded marks of eggs, toast and tomatoes - his breakfast for the morning. Viktor finally turned off the buzzer and the radio, knowing that the time had come for him to leave.

A few moments, and clicking locking mechanisms later; Viktor departed his modest flat at the top of 32, Royal Street. The name did seem like a bad joke really, the Russian quarter of Lumaire was hardly something people would pay to look at, considering the entire street consisted of some 40 copies of the same ugly grey building. Viktor sometimes wondered why he paid to live here but the answer was easily found; it was cheap.

So was life, after years in the force Viktor had come to understand that fact as well. Life was cheap, so investing in it wasn’t really an economically sound idea. Realizing he was still being pessimistic, Viktor’s face brightened once again to a knowing smile as he climbed down the last of the stairs, walked past the “Elevator out of commission” sign on the wall and onto the building's parking lot.

Before him lay a wondrous green beast, glittering against the walls like a golden nugget. The machine’s two wheels graced the dirty road as if they were the magical shoes of Cinderella; for should any of them fall out of place one day, Viktor knew that only this Augsburg Messer would be the perfect fit. Viktor mounted his precious mechanical steed and knew at once that all his woes were now but a faded memory as the engine’s ignition symphony broke off into one steady roar.


Jen's Apartment, several minutes later

Early morning was never a problem for Jen, getting up early meant using the time that most people spent groggily hitting snooze for actually getting ready in the morning. Jen surely needed the time, great effort was spent so that as soon as the day started she not only looked ready to overcome any goal before her but felt it too. In fact, Jennifer Trent was up even earlier than usual today, as she exited the shower five minutes before the piercing electronic sound of her alarm shocked the previously quiet nature of her apartment.

Barefoot, Jen hurried across her bedroom to silence the unnatural chime, fearful that she would wake the Troll. Thumping her feet across the soft beige carpet towards her bed, she slammed her hand against her alarm, fumbling to hit the switch. The sound cut out, the tension of the room slowly dissipating as the electronic device displayed the flashing time of 6:00, along with a graphic of a smiling character. However Jen was not smiling, however this unusual, asian influenced design choice was meant to relax a crankily awoken user, it was not working on her. She was waiting, motionless as she stared anxiously at the pale blue wall inches from her face.

Multiple creaks and an irritable groan came from behind the wall, Jen sighed in frustration. She had yet again woken the Troll. By this point Jen was mostly dressed and had already eaten, so she made the choice to leave for work as soon as possible. Quickly snatching her shoes from beside the door and grabbing her bag, Jen hastily swerved to the mirror on the other side of the door, correcting her path and swinging her entire body in front of it. A quick inspection of her fringe and she swung the door open, in a quick motion stepping through, throwing her bag across her shoulder and locking the flaking brown apartment door with her keys. Her school gymnastics teacher would be proud.

Or not. As she was halfway down the hall, the door behind her’s thudded open as a portly, slovenly dressed man peered out. “Aw shit” Jen muttered as she quickly rounded the corner to the stairs, the voice of her neighbour Mr Rust shouting after her. “You woke me again Trent! I value my beauty sleep unlike you!” the shouting fading as he continued his barrage of complaints, no doubt woke the rest of the tenants on the floor in the progress.

As it turned out since moving to the big city many years ago, Jen found that most people in this technologically swamped metropolis have the same attitude at Rust, quick to snap at others for the slightest misdeed, as to distract them from the daunting universal problems too insurmountable to even contemplate dealing with in a time and place such as this. Luckily Jen had no time for these people today, her first day as a Lumaire special police detective was at hand, and she would kick herself before she screwed it up by being late.

07:45, Lumaire Special Police Briefing room, shortly after debriefing

“Short, informal and to the point”... Concluded Viktor as he stepped out of the briefing room, looking over his pad over the details of his patrol area. CPU was much the same as the serious crimes department, though with less of a defined hierarchy. His patrol area was unique only for being in the undeveloped area of the city center, where most of Early Lumaire’s original buildings where located. The case itself involving the PSS seemed pretty straightforward though with a serious blast off potential if the squatters refused to disarm or the PSS did something stupid.

Viktor scratched the back of his neck as he brought the file on his pad to a close. Truthly he was a bit nervous about this new job; he had handled serious cases during his time in both the CPU and the financial crimes unit, however in the latter he had worked alone while in the former a team had been involved. At least for his first mission in the serious crimes unit, Viktor would have to work with a single companion with whom he would have to communicate.

Jen was eager to begin her first assignment as a detective, but she was apprehensive to undertake it with a partner. Stepping out of the briefing room and recognising Viktor as who she would be working with, she briskly strolled over, getting unusually nervous as she did. She cleared her throat as she approached “Hey, ‘scuse me, you’re Viktor right?”. She got annoyed that her hands were clamming up slightly as she thought over in her head how this guy was supposed to be “babysitting” her or something, maybe the higher ups just hated her already, well she’d show them. “We seem to be working together on this one” she followed up with, attempting to remain as professional as possible.

Viktor looked up from his pad, summarizing the latest reports about the latest Greek debt crisis - what could he say? The other stuff got boring after a while.

Staring at his newest comrade, two things came to his mind: A) She seemed to be just as nervous as he was about this job, B) She was quite female in gender . Viktor sighed at the first and grinned at the latter, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.

“Jennifer Trent?” asked Viktor, knowing already the woman’s identity figuring he would ask anyway, social interactions where funny like that sometimes. “Yea, I am Viktor Ivanov, at your service”. He continued, honoring his fellow detective with a short playful mock bow. “Since this is our first patrol together, I suggest we introduce ourselves a bit. Since I proposed the idea II will begin: I am Viktor Ivanov, as I said earlier and I have been an operative of the LSP for several years. I worked in Cyber-crime and the financial crimes sections before this and likewise this is my first day here”.

“Great, well i’ve got plenty of experience as well” she replied fighting the urge to roll her eyes, usually she would have retorted with a laundry list of her accomplishments and accolades but she rather wanted to start the assignment but also not wanting to let on that she was basically a rookie at detective work, at least this guy was courteous though.“We should probably get going, this armed squatters business looks pretty serious”. With that there was limited conversation as the two picked up a car graciously supplied by the LSP and drove to the location on the assignment brief.

8:28 South East Lumaire, Finley’s Bar

“Okay I think we’re here”, Jen said as they pulled into the neighbourhood, scouring the surroundings to spot the eponymous “Finley’s”. That’s when they saw it, they’d arrived too late and it appeared as if the Paragon security team had already got into a standoff with whoever was inside. Screeching to a halt on the roadside in front of the bar, the two detectives quickly exited the vehicle as a group of heavily armoured soldier types pointed their guns at the entrance, various windows, and with others ready to flank the sides of the building.

Paragon was known for its competence in security and general “peacekeeping”, often employed by companies for defence of restricted areas, dealing with problems in the city or even in war zones to assist in holding of potentially hostile territory. The iconic white and bronze uniforms of members of the security teams standing out against the usual downtrodden and gloomy areas they often protected was common, highlighting to many the disparity between the wealthy companies that could afford them and the less fortunate they were supposed to be protecting. Needless to say, they’d had incidents of violence in the past, leaving Jen and Viktor to ensure that this altercation went smoothly. By the looks of things, it certainly wasn’t going smoothly.

Viktor nodded as he examined the situation, the Paragon people certainly took to heart the company slogan “Always the best”. The rundown bar was surrounded on all four sides by armored cars and the jolly infantry armed in full combat armor. It was a far cry from the usual riot gear of old, ever since the old US police started to buy military class hardware in the early 21st Century most security forces even the civilian operations followed the model.

He walked to a group of the security people, asking simply who was in charge flashing his LSP badge. Grudgingly pointing in the right direction, Viktor identified the force’s commander near one of the armored cars seemingly already planning his attack strategy; a deduction largely based on the large screen behind his displaying various entry points into the building.

“Nothing to see here civilian”. said the man, a stereotypical giant towering over Viktor armed with the sleek (and annoyingly superior to LSP issue) MP98 assault rifle. Viktor flashed again his badge and gestured for Jen to do the same, as she hurriedly did so as if she didn’t even need the instruction. “We have come to represent the LSP in the situation, care to fill us in Mr…?”

“Sherraden, Captain David Sherraden. I am responsible for this operation”. Gesturing towards the screen Sherraden flicked through the entry points, marking the disposition of his men and the assumed locations of the armed squatters. “As you can see we have the situation well under control, the squatters have refused our demands that they vacate the establishment so we are preparing to remove them by force if need be”.

Viktor whistled, appreciating the fine details of the attack plan. It was ambitious, with half a dozen diversionary actions intending to confuse the squatters before the main assault from the rear. It could work, but considering the reported firepower the squatters had it could just as easily end in a blood bath. “You sure about this?” Jen piped up as she shot a concerned glance to Viktor. “Haven’t you tried talking to them? What to they want?”

“No offence, but I’ve been part of plenty of these operations, there’s no talking people like this out of places like that” Sherraden said as he motioned to the bar. All of a sudden, a voice was heard from inside the structure. “You know what we want, we’re not giving up our neighbourhood to the corporations!” A man shouted from inside, followed by various rallying cries and cheers from other men and women presumably inside. Jen looked at the captain, “And that was?”

The Captain sighed. “They must be delusional or something, they think there’s some sort of conspiracy to take their neighbourhood away from them”. Jen folded her arms and shot an icy stare at the Sherraden, believing that she had the upper hand in the conversation.

“You don’t think that’s important?”

Sherraden gave a quick laugh “I’m just here to do a job alright, to get these low lives out of this bar” he retorted as he pointed to the building. “Listen, it’s non lethal procedure, I appreciate you being here but I don’t need two cops breathing down my neck” He touched the radio on his earpiece signalling his team, “Move in people, follow the plan and no one has to get hurt”

Viktor chuckled lightly, somewhat forcibly with an intent to convey his doubts blatantly to the mercenary commander.

“None lethal, how can you be so sure about that? Your plan isn’t anything special, multiple attacks from several entry points using speed, shock and surprise have been in the police tactics books for more than a century. Any criminal or terrorist with half a brain knows what to expect”.

“It didn’t stop your lot from using the same methods in the Bamako Incident”. Countered Sherraden somewhat underhandedly and clearly agitated by Viktor’s tone.

If any of Viktor’s social deficiencies could put people on edge, his pessimistic grin was a prime applicant often unnerving both friends and opponents when they thought they had the edge. Viktor produced one of these smiles for the benefit of his paragon adversary.

“Touche, but that is besides the point unless you want a repetition of that unfortunate event. My colleague and I are here to facilitate communications and terminate hostilities. Shall we postpone unilateral actions and find a way to resolve the situation without too much distaste? Or will you carry on with your little adventure, I am sure your employers will be pleased to see the results of your work in the nightly news show.”

Sherraden seemed ready to argue, however the words of the obnoxious policeman seemed to have struck a chord with the ruffian, who muttered several commands into the radio.

“Alright, I”ll pull my people out for now, you have one hour and then I will go forward with the attack in accordance with my contract”.

Viktor noded, acknowledging the ultimatum and took a few steps towards the building with his hands raised up to warrant restraint on the part of the squatters. Jen trepidatiously followed, yet staying a ways back as to not appear a threat, she may have been relatively inexperienced, but she wasn’t an idiot. ”Bloody hell, what are we doing?” Jen pondered as she slowly moved forwards, wondering about Viktor’s brash actions.

Viktor gazed impassively at his coworker as he tried to figure out the right words to say to her without sounding slightly off his rocker. “These people have no reason to trust us, Paragon have seen to that by now though their preparations for the armed assault. To make someone trust you, give them something to prove that you are serious - your life on a platter is not something they can dismiss away as a ploy quite so easily”. Viktor smiled at Jen as and put his hands back over his head, giving her the unspoken option to stay back if she wanted to play it safe as he continued on towards the building. Jen gave an uneasy look as she backed down, joining Sherraden again, unsure if she liked how her companion did his job.

“Citizens currently occupying the establishment, you are in violation of private property. These people outside are armed and ready to remove you forcibly from the premises. As the representatives of the LSP in this affair and in the interest of preventing tragic consequences, I ask that you open a channel for negotiations”.

Several minutes passed before one of the squatters shot her head up from a window, careful not to reveal anything else to snipers and prevent the paragon operatives from putting her down with a morally acceptable tranquilizer shot. Though obscured by the blacked out room behind her, Viktor guessed the squatters age at around 20 despite the obviously painted white strains along an otherwise chocolate colored hair. The squatter seemed to gain confidence by Viktor’s conciliatory gesture, and slowly as if testing his truthfulness the youth’s upper body came into view… as well as the concerning sight of a particularly vicious looking heavy machine gun by her side. The young woman gazed defiantly at Viktor and the other security people, but seemed to be willing to avoid fighting… for now.

“Private property? this ain't no private property of nobody, other than the good people of this here neighborhood. Ya say you come from the law, what fukin law? The law of the people, of some corporate pigs who run the whole lot of you coppers or a buncha’ know nothin lawyers tellin the working people what they can or can’t do?”.

Viktor could have almost laughed, Karl Marx still giving people a headache after two centuries. Whereas Jen almost immediately pegged her as stupid or mislead, maybe a bit of both.

“How very nice for you, now can I please have a serious answer to a serious question?”

The woman seemed to think for a few moments, Viktor could hear muffled raised voices behind her apparently discussing his proposal but could not make out any of their words. After several minutes the woman returned her gaze to Viktor and spoke her terms.

“We’ll agree to talk only through a Trade Union rep’, you and the paragon asshole will come with dem union guy into the building, unarmed, and the media will be brought here so ya don’t get up to any funny business. Those are our terms, take em or leave em!”.

Sherraden, who had listened in on the conversation through the listening devices he had scattered around the building decided that enough was enough and walked towards Viktor dispensing with any of the trust building measures the former had taken. Jen, noticing the movement, awkwardly stretched a hand towards him as he moved away, “Oh shit no, wait a second” she managed, failing to quell the captain’s determination.

“That’s completely unacceptable! I will not negotiate with a bunch of disorganized squatters, stand down or face the consequences.

Weapons inside and outside the building were raised by both sides, but the woman talking for the squatters remained unimpressed. Viktor glared at Sherraden, daring to take one more step but thanked the powers of enlightened self interest and common sense that the bullets hadn’t started firing then and there!

The woman suddenly started to laugh, leaning on her machine gun as she did so but safe in the knowledge that dozens of other weapons were covering her from her side of the building.

“Boys! let it fly!”. Shouted the woman, as a large crimson banner fell from the building's roof until it reached her window, suspended in the air from the flat building top. Four Latin letters in thick black were illuminated by the search lights of the Paragon security vans, letters which immediately changed Viktor’s entire approach to the standoff.

WSDI - or “Workers Self Defense Initiative”.

Viktor immediately recognized the logo, Sheridan's unrestrained swearing indicated that even the grunt was not without knowledge of his most dangerous possible foes. WSDI was the answer of modern trade unionism to the Neo-fordist brutality. Companies like Paragon and even mercs of less repute where paid millions to rough up organized workers and prevent strikes in an age where the economy of third world labour and the exportation of industries abroad was no longer possible.

The WSDI represented an unofficial branch in the city’s Trade Union Organization responsible for protecting the workers from capitalist mercs. Officially the branch had no live weapons and relied on blackjacks,crowbars and discipline to cause trouble. Unofficially the WSDI was a secret army, funded and supplied by the TUO to field deadly weapons should the capitalist ever try to crack down on organized labor. Splinter groups from the WSDI were not uncommon but generally restrained by the larger organization, though this time it seemed that the parent organization had failed.

Not everyone had had the same fortunate education or upbringing as Jen, so she often found it difficult to empathise with people like this, despite her natural viewpoint however, she could see where these people were coming from. Or more objectively, see where their viewpoints logically stemmed from, the Bamako incident had certainly showered the police force in a little too much bureaucratic oversight so Jen knew first hand the pressures of having your work controlled by a bigger organisation. So much so it caused her to entirely switch professions. However in Jen’s eyes, radicals were exactly that, and she would do her job if needs be as going in it was armed squatters, but an organised threat like this could prove to be a little more dangerous.

The woman snickered at the Paragon’s mercenaries newly discovered restraint as they and their commander backed off. “I see our name precedes us, yu should know that this building is armed to the teeth, if ya try to storm us you will pay dearly”. Said the woman, bringing up her machine gun to reinforce her spoken threat.

A single gunshot, fired from the Paragon sniper team’s position and the fall of the revolutionary made it clear that the threat had been taken all too seriously.

The squatter’s and their militia allies opened up with dozens of assault rifles and machine guns, forcing Viktor, Jen and Sheridan to take cover behind the security company’s armored cars. Dual machine guns mounted on the vehicles returned fire, but neither side seemed to be doing serious damage thanks to the protection of the building’s reinforced walls and Paragon’s cars. A missile fired from the building hit one of the armored cars, setting it ablaze, the security company disregarding their orders to prevent use of explosive ordnance answered the missile with several shots of their armored vehicles light cannons; smashing the left wing of the bar in the process.

The shots came steady at first, but were now severely diminished by Paragon’s vastly superior firepower, the last shot had taken a number of the worker’s machine guns out of commission. Paragon, acting according to their training didn’t let up, with smoke grenades fired into the building almost immediately. Sherraden, a veteran at this sort of operation stayed cool throughout despite his previous outburst, ordering his men to breach. Jen climbed out from behind the car clutching her pistol ready to follow the team in, although she appeared visually shaken up by the ordeal somewhat, nodding to Viktor with an uncomfortable yet determined face. The two then quickly fetched bulletproof jackets from the car and headed back to the battle.

Like a train into a tunnel, the team quickly stormed the front entrance, the detectives closely behind as the grey smoke enveloped them.

BANG. Someone dropped with a crash. A member of the WSDI had rushed toward them aiming an assault rifle and was quickly dispatched by Paragon, followed by gunfire from across the room forcing everyone into cover again. Jen rushed behind an overturned table, across from the downed man, unsure whether he was still among the living or not. She thought she was ready for this but it still was incredibly taxing on her, in the three years she spent as a cop there had been shots fired before, but this was no less intense. Luckily the man on the floor began to groan and clutch his leg, putting her a little more at ease.

A few more shots and a couple of flashbangs and the WSDI and a group of workers had barricaded themselves in two rooms, Paragon making quick work of the situation. The smoke cleared and the building grew quiet. Composing herself and finally piping up to the workers, Jen shouted to the two groups through the doors and damaged walls they hid behind.

“Okay guys and girls”
her voice somewhat hoarse, “This is Special Police and you idiots have gone and cornered yourselves”, she paused so that they could all start listening.
“Now my partner has already said that we want to negotiate, and our friends in white would rather not, you’ve got two choices...”

“Fuck off!” shouted one of the militiamen, firing several blind shots towards the cops. As suddenly as the militia opened fire, the shooting stopped and a different voice could be heard across from the room. “Don’t shoot! This is Joe Johnson, former owner of this bar, we have forced the WSDI militia people to refrain from further violence. We are willing to negotiate”.

Sherraden, who had led the main assault into the bar’s lobby finally caught up with the LSP cops. The man was clearly angry, he had lost five men - two in the armored car hit by the missile and three in the assault. “Hell no! No more negotiations! Your people will hand over your weapons and turn yourselves in immediately!”.

Viktor sensing that the two parties were seconds away from resuming the fighting stepped in deciding that enough was enough.

“Settle down Sherraden, you already lost several people, at least a dozen more will get hurt fighting in these rooms, do you really want that?”.

Sherraden regained what little control he had on his anger and realized that the LSP agent was right, further fighting would cost him more people and piss off his employers.

“No, I don’t want it but I will not allow those WSDI people to get away with this, they crossed the line this time.”. answered the mercenary sincerely, relenting a little but declaring his “red lines” for any negotiated terms.

Viktor nodded, partially forgiving the man for his earlier stupidity by his conversion to common sense. “I agree, WSDI affiliates are not permitted to carry firearms and have grossly violated the law leading to the deaths of many people who would have lived had they not involved themselves in this crisis. The LSP will conduct an investigation of this affair, Mr. Johnson, you and your people will be taken into our custody with the proper trade union representation. WSDI affiliates are suspects of terrorism and armed insurrection, they shall not receive any trade union support and Paragon will be allowed to claim the bounty for the capture of terrorist suspects”.

Johnson agreed, despite the protests of the WSDI militia; but with half of their people dead or wounded they could not fight both their squatter comrades and the security forces and agreed to surrender their weapons.

By the time everything had calmed down, the media had swarmed the area, the so called “squatters” had got what they wanted. Reporters, news crews and everything in between were all fighting for a spot in front of Finley’s, like a pack of predators scrambling over a fresh kill. The beleaguered PSS team couldn’t even bring the Finley’s group from the bar to their van without a bombardment of questions from the press. One of the “squatters”, a member of the WSDI, wrestled against his transporter in an attempt to get close to the reporters. “We need to be heard! The companies are taking our homes!” he managed before the security officer holding him pulled him away, followed by numerous questions from the news crews, while the actual homeowners walked quietly in shame that they had been talked into this. Jen stood in the doorway to Finley’s holstering her pistol, “This shouldn’t be a problem right?” attempting to sound professional, turning to Viktor as the rest of the people hold up in Finley’s were taken away. Viktor smiled, secretly pleased with the unintended results of the fiasco as far as the media’s interest was concerned. “Even if it is, it’s not our problem”. answered the Russian emigre.

10:28 Lumaire Special Police Interrogation room

It was obvious that the situation at Finley’s was only part of the story, many of the men and women, presented initially as squatters, were arrested for firing on the PSS team, not to mention two police detectives. John Briggs, one of those who were in Finley’s bar and unaffiliated with the WSDI, sat in the LSP interrogation room, it was time for answers from someone less radical than they had previously dealt with. Viktor let the man rot for an hour in the detention room before he walked in by the prisoners clearly uncomfortable seating arrangements before pulling over a padded chair borrowed from operations.

“Mr. Briggs, I could list all the charges against you but I will save us both some time and effort and tell you the ones most likely to land you in jail for a very long time. Partaking in armed insurrection, murder, illegal possession of firearms suspected affiliation in a terrorist organization…”

“The WSDI isn’t in the black list, you can’t hang me up on that one mister!” Shouted Briggs, desperate for any means to escape his present situation”.

Viktor had hoped the man would point out his “mistake”, he passed a PAD to his captive and told him what it contained just in case he found the PAD too difficult to read. “The WSDI disowned your little gang the moment the media started running stories about the shootout, they are too busy enough fighting to keep out of the black list themselves to watch out for your people. Shall I carry on with the charges?”.

“No, I get it, so what do you want from me? If you want me to sell out my people then don’t waste your time, tell me what you want me to do and I will do it so long as I get guarantees - I want to be a registered witness in the case”.

Viktor was somewhat surprised by how easily the man was willing to sell out, this did not sound like any radical Viktor was familiar with.

“Unfortunately for you we are not looking for a witness, we have more then enough of those among the squatters your people exploited for your own ends. I want to know why your people where there, why did you make a scene? I can’t make any promises but cooperated with the investigation always looks good on someone's file - especially when that someone’s compatriots are too busy quoting Anarcho-Syndicalism and how the days of the international bourgeoisie are numbered".

The man shut down for a moment, considering his options. “I got out of the WSDI last year, too many loonies where getting into the organization. We are supposed to watch out for working people, protect them to all the shit the corporate bosses get up to destroying organized labor. This new generation wants a revolution, some of them even fought in Spain and Italy against the EU during the financial catastrophe. Fighting for workers rights is one thing, fighting to pull down the system is another. I only went on this opp because I live in the neighborhood. You might not know this, but us second generation citizens in the city center have been pushed around by corporate dogs for years. They want our land for malls, shops, office space and high-roller flats and they have been doing everything to get their hands on it. We thought if we got the WSDI onboard we could negotiate from a position of strength, we didn’t think they would actually want to start a fight!”.

Viktor nodded, he knew all about the rising prices in the old quarter - now quickly transforming town center. Viktor really wanted to get the cooperations once on his job, years in economic crimes only handed him over the small fish. In this case, Paragon had ironically come off as the good guys fighting the vices of trade unionism, the actions of the WSDI had seen to that.

Putting on a separate recorder on his personal pad rather the official investigation which he now conveniently shut down Viktor decided he would file as many of the claimed cooperate transgression as he could, he could not do anything about it now but who knew what tomorrow would bring?

“Tell me what you know about this corporate land grab, I can’t really investigate it… not officially but this information could come in useful on future cases”.

12:16 Lumaire Special Police Precinct

As far as Jen could tell, the investigation had yielded few results, a lot of what Briggs said could be boiled down to hatred and fear of corporate takeover of the city. It had given leads however, and Jen had spent the next few hours, with the assistance of the two in operations, digging into what she could regarding the buyouts of properties on the southeast side of Lumaire. She wasn’t sure if the help was something she should be thanking them for, they were just doing their jobs but the custom of a lot of officers was to buy food for people they owed a favour. Jen would have to think about that.

A couple of purchase records with the city, some witness statements and a number of what Jen would happily describe as examples of real detective work later seemed to identify a pattern. While Viktor finishing up with the interrogation, Jen attempted to put all the pieces together. Back in forensics it all made sense to her, evidence here, chemical tests there, and before you know it you’ve got a reason behind a crime scene, a picture to put everything into context. What aggravated her this time however was the absence of a crime scene, no one had been murdered or injured, the situation at Finley’s had nothing to do with any companies, and Jen felt completely out of her depth.

She gathered the leads again, hoping to find something she missed, maybe Viktor had had better luck. There was a pattern, all these properties had been quickly bought up within a short time of each other, but no single company’s name was attached to the purchase, and a lot of the leads turned out to be smoke. Jen’s head fell heavy into her hand’s, groaning as she couldn’t find any link. There’s just no evidence of violence! There’s no way we can show that a single entity took all these homes!, “And it all seems completely legal…” She said, her barely audible words muffled through her hands.

Her head raised up and she squinted across the room as other detectives and officers carried out their work. Jen needed to focus on this, she needed to do what she did best and examine some evidence, like the old days. Some of Joe Johnson’s records had been found among the scene at Finley’s, some data files detailing accounts, and an actual paper copy of Johnson’s financial dealings. Jen didn’t think people still used those. Reaching into her desk and retrieving a small black rectangle, she opened the book of numbers and notes, holding the device above it. Shining out an electronic blue light, Jen scanned the contents of the pages, directly printing the values onto the computer next to her, while occasionally making a “bleep” every time one of Johnson’s handwritten scrawls was scanned and highlighted.

Compiling the documents, the previous bar owner had noted multiple dealings with a company named Gaslight Financial Holdings. Apparently they’d been contacting Mr Johnson unsolicited multiple times a week. Jen realised that this company name had been mentioned before, in a newspaper article fairly recently. Furiously tapping at her keyboard, Jen frantically searched for the article on the internet as if there was a time limit to how long she could stay at her desk.

There, she’d found it. “Gaslight Financial Holdings, one of the many smaller companies expressing interest in a recent move to modernise the old districts of the city” The article read. “The move, proposed by the Reynold’s group, aims to push Lumaire to the forefront of commercial power...”. She’d found a link, but it wasn’t concrete, with time it may point to a genuine lead, but as it stood the case was all but closed, Jen could do no more.

19:49 New Brussels Street - “Le Candide” bar & restaurant.

“...GOAL! what a fantastic shot from Erwin Kessler! Lone Star 2, United Russia 0; Lone Star has once again won the city championship and will go on to represent Lumaire in the North American League…”

Several shouts of approval of various western european languages could be heard by the bar’s large TV screen, accompanied by toasts and Russian swearing from the few members of that ethnic minority present in the bar.

Viktor was indeed one of those Russians, but he hadn’t been swearing. United Russia had played badly, they barely survived the last game so he wasn’t surprised his team had lost.

The Russian ordered another beer and distracted his thoughts from the defeat, admiring the 20th century Parisian theme of the establishment and the attractive waitresses. The beer arrived promptly, and Viktor woffed it down in minutes intent on ordering another later on; unlike his vodka drinking peers, Viktor liked taking his time getting drunk - It was after all the journey that had him interested and not the destination.

Coincidentally, the same bar that Jen had wandered into, burnt out after her first day, was the same one Viktor sat in. “Beer, thanks” She said at the bar, not noticing her partner sat nearby until she took a swig and turned around, almost appearing as if she had been caught doing something she shouldn’t have.

Viktor noticed his newest comrade the moment she ordered her beer. Though the bar was home to a legion of foreign languages his coworker’s accent was distinct enough for him to identify.The Russian though no further action however, preferring to see how long it would take for Jen to identify him.

Lazily strolling over to the table Jen pulled up a chair and sat her bottle down, “alright? I assumed after you left that the case didn’t go anywhere” she asked, managing perhaps her first smile of the day.

Viktor sighed and produced a small data chip from his pad. “The case will always go somewhere, sometimes to court and sometimes to a pretty blue folder in the LSP basement. I have here some unofficial records from several of the squatters and that militia member I had brought in, useless now but tomorrow - who knows?”. Viktor ordered another beer, feeling a little dry from all the talking already. Jen simply nodded, taking another sip. “I dredged up a couple things too” she replied, even now not being outdone, “I don’t know how far they can get us though”. As if the case was still on, let alone would be theirs to continue with.

“Only public opinion can force the City Council to investigate these issues, The WSDI made sure that at least for the time being they became the main news item while the issue they tried to push into the spotlight was ignored”. Looking around the bar, Viktor wondered how many machine guns the worker militia could have pushed into this place. “We will probably have to wait until the next bar is sold to a land development firm with questionable business practices ”.

Jen nodded once again, holding out her hand for a shake. Although she wasn’t one for making friends easily, she couldn’t deny that her career as a detective was off to a good start and that she had VIktor, in part, to thank.

Viktor took up Jen on the offer and shaked her hand, he didn’t have too many friends but today had been interesting and having a friend in his new department seemed liked a good idea.

“Paging Detectives Ivanov and Trent, a group of off duty Paragon Security people have been trying to break into the Trade Union headquarters. Are you in a position to assist?”.