So far, all of the snippets have been with Erik. Today, I get to show you Jia!!! Yeah! I’m so excited about her snippet, I think she’s going to steal the show from Erik! LOL
Get ready for the Obsidian Detective Jia Snippet!
June 14, 2228, Neo Southern California Metroplex, Police Enforcement Zone 122 Station, Office of Detective Jia Lin
Jia slapped her hand on her dark desk and glared at the middle-aged man standing in front of it—Detective Ryan Castile, her current partner. Her hand stung from the force of the blow, but she kept a fierce look on her face.
“I can’t believe what you just said,” Jia snapped, her frustration leaking out despite her thoughts about not losing a second partner. “I’ve found some major evidence suggesting this wasn’t some low-end fraud. This isn’t just me pulling something out of the air. I spent all last week correlating those bank transfers with the activity. Have you even looked at any of the information I sent you? Given what you just said, I doubt it, but I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.”
Ryan adjusted his tie and shrugged, then rolled his dark-brown eyes and ran a hand through his thinning hair.
He might have benefited from de-aging, but it wasn’t like a man on his salary could afford it. “I told you to just kick that case along. You’re looking for some big conspiracy, Jia, but it’s nothing. It’s not worth our time. Not every case that comes across our desks is worth our time.”
“I’ve heard that answer before,” she countered.
He continued, “And I don’t get why a smart woman like you doesn’t understand that yet.”
Hold it in, don’t roll your eyes. You got this. She quieted her thoughts before speaking. “It seems like pretty much none of the cases that come across our desks are worth our time, according to you. And this case is not a big conspiracy, but it is a clear example of felony fraud and misappropriation of funds,” she finished.
He didn’t look convinced.
Jia tapped her PNIU, and holographic displays of several rows of numbers appeared above her desk. She gestured between them. “Look here, they tried to bury the fraud with different invoices and codes, but it’s clear, which you can see when analyzing the different account flows.”
She pointed to another section of the numbers hanging in the air. “They’re basically robbing the taxpayers, and given some of the other outflows, there might even be bribery involved. Now, I know that last charge is unlikely. I mean it’s not like this is some colony world, but that doesn’t change the rest of it.”
She cut through the air with her hand. “Most companies and people play by the rules, so we can’t let those who don’t get away with it. What kind of message would we be sending if we did that?”
Ryan frowned. “Huh?” he scrubbed his eyes in frustration, his voice muffled. “Jia, please tell me you didn’t pull in people to help you crunch numbers on a case you’re not even supposed to be working. The captain was clear. If you did this, you went against the captain’s orders.”
Jia jerked if struck.
She shook her head. “No, what the captain said was he didn’t want any resources being used for the case because there was no evidence, and I understand and respect where he’s coming from, so I didn’t pull any resources. I obeyed his orders. All of the analysis was done off the clock, and I kept all the evidence on departmental systems. No one can complain if I provide the metroplex free investigatory services.” She tried a smile. It didn’t feel appropriate exactly, but there wasn’t any harm in trying. “Right?”
“Wait.” Ryan blinked. “You actually worked a bunch of unpaid overtime to run the numbers yourself, and on top of that, you understand them?” He frowned. “I assumed you brought in the financial forensics guys.” He pointed at one of the numbers. “How else could you have gotten through all this data so quickly?”
“I didn’t need them. It’s easy if you know pattern typing and collation.” Jia shrugged. “It’s just numbers, Ryan. If anything, it’s easier than cases relying on physical evidence. These people tried to cover it up, but the evidence was all there, just waiting to be analyzed and the crime uncovered. It’s straightforward correlational analysis. Come on, I’m sure you did this kind of thing in college, even if you weren’t using it in a law-enforcement context.”
“Too many brains, not enough street,” Ryan mumbled.
“What was that?” Jia asked, furrowing her brow in confusion.
“Nothing.” Ryan sighed. “We’re not supposed to be working this case, Jia. Full stop. Just like we weren’t supposed to work the arson case or the theft case. We were supposed to kick those along and continue on our merry way. Just because you see a conspiracy everywhere doesn’t mean we need to personally solve it at this station. We’re supposed to concentrate on important cases. If you care so much about keeping Earth safe and not full of criminals and insurrectionists, you should wait for those kinds of cases rather than wasting your time on fantasy frauds.”
She pointed to the hologram hanging in the air. “But this might be one of those kinds of cases.” Jia snorted, pointing at the two of them. “We’re detectives. We solve crimes. That’s kind of in the job description, Ryan. And what important cases? Every time I try to solve something, you and the captain insist we just pass it along and it dies, or the others insist it’s not a big deal.”
“Because there’s really nothing there to worry about,” Ryan argued back, his arms opening wide. “Come on. This is Earth, the shining tower in the darkness. We’re fine. You’re worrying too much.”
Jia shot up, her long black hair swaying with the motion. “The duty of a police officer is to protect public order by investigating and preventing crime. For every crime we drag our feet on, the greater the chance it’ll be worse the next time. Small crimes are the seeds of major crimes, and those are the seeds of anarchy. You have to know this. You’ve been on the force for eighteen years!”
“Yes, I’ve been around for a while.” Ryan nodded, his head bobbing in frustration as he squinted at her. “And I’ve got two years to retirement. I don’t need this stress, especially from some rookie with delusions of grandeur.” He shook his head, voice a bit more monotone as he struggled to keep his rapidly rising annoyance in check. “I’m telling you, there’s nothing there.”
“And I’m telling you, I found something in my analysis of the data. This isn’t me operating off my gut. This is me following up on basic evidence.” Jia’s frustration boiled over. “And this isn’t about your retirement. This is about doing your job.” She folded her arms over her chest.
“Doing my job?” Ryan snorted. “Jia, I’m not like you. I worked my way up and made detective. I wasn’t granted a shot at detective because of family connections.”
Jia winced. “It’s not like that. There was an opportunity, and I took advantage of it. That is the kind of initiative needed.” She flung an arm out, finger pointed toward the bullpen with the other officers. “I’m not the only detective who was hired under that policy initiative. I’m not even the only one hired in this enforcement zone.”
She resisted the urge to discuss some of the history of that type of hiring. That didn’t mean the existing personnel were bad at their jobs, just that they could use a fresh perspective.
Ryan pinched the bridge of his nose. “This is stupid,” he ground out. “I’m not wasting time on a case we were already told to pass along because of some glorified Corp doll playing at being a cop.” He eyed her. “You don’t tell me how to work cases. I was working cases when you were still a little girl, princess.”
“You’re over the line.” Jia narrowed her eyes and took a breath to stop herself from shaking with rage. “I’m not playing at anything.” She pointed to herself. “I’ve been a detective for a year, and the only things that are holding me back are my lazy partners, who have forgotten why they became cops because they’re too worried about their retirements.”
She slapped her PNIU and the numbers vanished, but her eyes never left Ryan. “Don’t you understand? We have a paradise here on Earth, but only because everyone is doing their part. Do you want it to turn into some lawless waste like out on the colonies? It’s taken centuries to get Earth to the point where it is a truly civilized planet, and you are more concerned about moving to some beach somewhere than—”
Ryan grunted, turned, and stormed out of their office.
Jia blinked a few times, her mouth still open. She shook her head and hurried after him. He stomped away from their shared office and down the hallway. He passed through the sea of black-and-blue-clad patrol officers gathered at their desks in the bullpen, their gazes a mix of curious and worried as they tore their eyes away from the various holographic displays on or above their desks.
He continued to the captain’s door, not sparing even a quick look in Jia’s direction. His nostrils flared as he stared at the door for a few seconds before nodding and reaching for the doorknob.
CAPTAIN ROBERT MONAHAN, ENFORCEMENT ZONE 122.
Ryan threw open the door. The captain looked up from the budget display projected on top of his desk and squinted in irritation at his detective.
With his broad shoulders, square jaw, and salt-and-pepper hair, Captain Monahan was able to project both wisdom and confidence through his appearance alone, which frustrated Jia all the more since he had been just as resistant to some of her investigations as her partners.
She’d dreamed of working under an experienced and wise captain, but the reality had been far more disappointing.
“I resign,” Ryan declared. He pulled out his badge and stun pistol and tossed them on the captain’s desk, where they landed with a thud. “Effective immediately.” He glared at Jia before shoving past her with his shoulder and heading out into the bullpen, his middle finger raised over his shoulder.
Captain Monahan took a deep breath. “Close the door, Detective Lin. We need to talk.”
Jia complied and frowned. “Captain, I can—”
“Explain?” he interrupted, waving a finger at the quickly retreating man. “You think his action doesn’t explain to me what’s going on? It’s just like your last partner. You’ve been riding Ryan because he won’t help you with the pointless little hunts I have already told you to avoid.”
“You don’t understand, sir. I uncovered new evidence that suggests there’s something there with this case. Serious felony fraud might be going on right here in the metroplex with a company connected potentially…tangentially…to government contracts.” Jia nodded firmly. “We have a duty to follow up, and I’ve already gone through a lot of the evidence that proves something’s off.”
She crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes narrowed.
The captain’s voice started off somewhat soft. “Oh, really? Then you should have sent it along. You didn’t need to handle it. If there was a crime going on, downstairs could have taken a look at it, and they would have called us if they needed help. You need to remain on standby for important cases, not chase phantoms!”
Jia was trying to figure out an appropriately respectful way to tell the captain to get off his ass.
Ok, are you as excited as I am for this tough, take no prisoners character? Then come on over and get your copy!
Obsidian Detective goes live on Friday, November 1st! Look for the audio version as well.