Seeking Truth

Commissioner Slaiton slammed his hand down on the desk, sending pens rolling and interns fleeing. “Hellard is negotiating? Damn it. We do not have time for this.”

Sergeant Black stood at attention in front of him, unflinching. He’d had a great deal of practice under Slaiton’s authority. He had not grown milder with age. “As per convention fifty-four of two-thousand –“

Slaiton cut him off with a glare. “I know the conventions, Sergeant. I know precisely what Hellard’s rights are regarding Persephone property. I’m just damned annoyed that he wants to use them!” Hands in the air, he turned to face the plate glass window behind him. “Why? Persephone Industries has always had good relations with the CSO. You’d think they would want to catch a Raider pirating their resource.”

“There’s always the chance of collusion, sir,” Black said.

“I don’t believe it. Hellard is smarter than that. It’s not like the Raids are worth anything to a megacorp. It doesn’t make any damn sense.

“There are rumors, sir.”

Slaiton collapses back into his chair, rage spent. “I know the rumors. They make about as much sense as believing Hellard himself is running Raids as a lark.” He shook his head. “Maybe the man is just going senile. He’s not getting any younger.”

“Younger, sir?” Black added. His expression changed, just a little. He flattened it down quickly. “The man I met couldn’t have been older than thirty.”

Slaiton’s face paled rapidly. “Thirty? That means… that’s his son. It also means that leadership transitioned without us even hearing about it!” Blood flushed his face once again, followed by more abuse of his desk. “Get Jenter in here. He has some serious groveling to do.”