Friday, June 30, 2023

Microstory 1920: Reluctance

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Special Investigator: You found him.
Fugitive Agent: You sound surprised. How many other people did you have on this?
Special Investigator: In my line of work, Agent Parsons, we can’t afford to not be discreet. You were the only one assigned to the manhunt. I’m not surprised that you got him. I just thought that it would take longer. Does that mean it was easy?
Fugitive Agent Parsons: No, but it was painless. Well, technically there was blood...
Special Investigator: Whose blood? If it was yours, you’ll have to fill out a liability compensation form. If it was a suspect or obstacle, there’s a form for that too.
Agent Parsons: It’s nothing like that. I’ll put it all in my report, but I sort of had to...
Special Investigator: Had to what?
Agent Parsons: I had to join a group of formerly incarcerated individuals.
Special Investigator: Ah, the bond. Interesting they let you in. We’ve been trying to use them for years. You’re telling me that you have access to four dozen informants? 
Agent Parsons: It’s closer to five dozen, and yes. But I’ve agreed not to abuse my power. That was a mutual requirement. I can’t use my position as a lawman to unethically help them, and in return I’m not allowed to use my resources to hurt them, or others like them. Just because someone isn’t in the bond, doesn’t mean they’re fair game. It’s all very complicated; I can’t say too much about it.
Special Investigator: I get it. I assume you joined because our man is a member?
Agent Parsons: No. They helped me find him, but he’s not exactly from around here.
Special Investigator: So we were right. He’s from another world.
Agent Parsons: I am at liberty to divulge that he’s from another universe, but he won’t give me any details about that, or any connection he has to the entity you have in your basement, if there’s a connection to be had at all.
Special Investigator: It’s not in the basement.
Agent Parsons: Proverbially.
Special Investigator: What has he said about it?
Agent Parsons: It’s called an Ochivar. Plural is Ochivari. They’re from another universe too, but not his own. When they show up, the world is doomed. They sterilize the entire population, based on some prediction they have about the natives destroying the environment. That’s why it’s not communicating with you. They never come alone.
Special Investigator: You need to bring this guy in. We have to know more.
Agent Parsons: He doesn’t know much more, I think. He’s never encountered an Ochivar before. Evidently one of his former parolees told him about them. He doesn’t know how he ended up in our universe, and he doesn’t know how to get back to his, or how to detect anyone else coming through, or how to stop it from happening.
Special Investigator: What’s stopping him from coming to speak with us in person?
Agent Parsons: He’s spooked. He was here not ten minutes before someone threw him in jail. He wants to help, but he doesn’t trust anyone—I think, with good reason. 
Special Investigator: Give him whatever he wants. Put him up in a nice hotel suite, pay him money; whatever it takes. If he wants immunity, I’ll handle it. Will that do?
Agent Parsons: We can certainly try.

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