Captain Zorikh: Inspector of Mars
I had heard that there was a known criminal in the domed city who was in town to steal the source of a new power. It was a gem or radioactive stone of some sort that could have great destructive power in the wrong hands.
This man was not wanted for any crimes currently, however, so I had no cause to arrest him. I did find him in a men’s room. He was doing his business in a stall, and he recognizes me when he asaw me. He knew that I knew what he was in town for, but he either was inno hurry to get away from me, or knew that it would have been pointless to do so. WE walke dout together in to the night air in the streets of Mars City.
We joined up with two of henchmen-for hire, who worked for a crime kingpin. This was someone who’s identity I didn’t know but was my job to find out. I did not tell them who I was exactly, and they were to be as unfamiliar with me as I was with their boss.
We headed to a lounge/candy store where we stopped to relax and have drinks. The henchmen were waiting to meet with the crimelord, and told me his name and location, which I made a point of remembering,: Anthony at 615. That was the address, 615.
The situation felt rather queer. Here I was, with a couple of men who would be trying to sell something that could be turned into a near-apocalyptic explosive, and might well be used, if their plan succeeded, and all that was around us would be a fine red mist, perhaps in as little as a week. The stakes were high, but the mood was quiet. There was not much talking as the henchmen smoked cigarettes and I and the criminal nursed beers.
As we sat on the cushioned seats in the lounge, I talked a bit with the criminal. I knew he made a business out of stealing things and selling them to the highest bidder, especially things like weapons and weaponable power sources. I spoke quietly, so the henchmen could not hear.
He called me a detective; I reminded him that I was an Inspector. I told him that there are some people who make a living doing anything they can, no matter who it hurts. On the other hand, one can choose to do the right thing, something that helps people or saves people, or at least not to do the wrong thing, and these people make the world a better place. I think I was getting through to him, because he listened quietly and didn’t say a word.
It soon came to me for me to go, but I wanted to get on the good side of the henchmen, have them keep in touch with me. The candy stand sold cigarettes, and I thought it would be a good friendly gesture to buy them some. “Let me buy you some cigarettes,” I said, standing up. “What brand do you like?"
They selected “Marlboro Gold,” a premium brand that was sold from under the counter, not on display. I cringed a little inside thinking of the price, but I knew it would be worth it, for these men could lead me to the big boss. It turned out they were only $5 for two packs, but I was not sure of the exchange rate between Martian and US dollars. It probably was the equivalent of something like $20.
I reached for my pocket, but then realized I wasn’t wearing pants (this is easily explained: I was sleeping in the nude, and this was a dream, after all. I was probably just adding the sensation of not wearing pants to the dream, and it wasn’t some sort of symbolism). This was not a big deal in Mars City, but my money was in my pants. “This is rather embarrassing,” I said.” I’ve forgotten where I put my pants.” Just then my secretary walked in. She had taken them for cleaning when I had left them in the office, and brought them to me there. My money was still in the pocket, so I paid for the two packs of cigarettes and gave them to the henchmen.