“So, Jenter,” Slaiton said. “Care to explain?”
The weasley head of CSO Intelligence looked sideways at the left wall, the one plastered with Slaiton’s accolades. “There was no hint, Commissioner,” he said. “No announcements. No public record. We’re not sure why, but the elder Hellard wanted to keep this completely quiet. We’re not even sure where he went. If he’s still alive.”
“Then tell me, exactly,” Slaiton replied. “What your job actually is here? To read the damn headlines and tell me what I could have found out with a thirty second net search? I thought the concept of intelligence implied some sort of faculty in the espionage department!”
“Persephone has been… uniquely cut off in the last few months,” Jenter said. “Every single mole has been fired. Every worm has been neutralized. There has been nothing coming out of that place save what they want us to know.”
Slaiton scowled and stood up at his desk, leaning forward. “And you didn’t think that just, maybe, that in itself was something to tell me about? Were you embarrassed? Like a damn school girl, afraid to tell her teacher?”
Jenter fidgeted his hands, which were sweating visibly. “I – I’m sorry, sir. The best explanation I can give is that your predecessor was unforgiving in this sort of thing. I didn’t want to tell you the problem without having a solution already lined up.”
The commissioner slumped to his chair and spun around. “Don’t make the mistake again. I want to know everything you know, as soon as you know it. Even if that knowledge is that you can’t do your damn job. Especially if it’s that you can’t do your damn job.” He pointed at the door. “Now get out there and find everything you can on Hellard Junior. Get me a full report of corporate activities since they went dark.”
“Yes, sir,” Jenter said. He fled the office.
Slaiton slumped his head against his hand. Former Commissioner Haldwell had a lot to answer for in how he’d run this place. It was too bad he was too dead to do so.