Victoria sidewell/ a day in the life

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A first draft of a short story set in the same universe as the Viata adventure series. It occurs during my book FINDING PURPOSE. You can find it here: https://www.books2read.com/u/4jDEdk Enjoy!

Submitted: September 12, 2018

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Submitted: September 12, 2018

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Victoria sat at her desk. She rubbed her eyes and stood, extended her arms into the air and stretched. She shook the blood back into her hands and feet. Coffee sounded good, so she made a fresh pot. 

 She went back to her desk to continue going over Ashton’s criminal records.

So far she hadn't found much. He had a few minor things like traffic violations and disturbing the peace, and even a possession charge. 

Her assistant Dan poked his head into her office. “That coffee smells good.”

“Help yourself.”

Dan grabbed his cup and filled it. “Making any headway?”

“A little. I did fid out one interesting thing.”

Dan pulled up a chair. “Whats that?”

“Taylor was with Ashton during one of his arrests.”

“Are you talking about our local drug lord Dick Taylor?”

“Alleged drug lord,” Victoria corrected. 

Dan smiled. “Right.”

“Anyway, when I get my hands on his council records, I bet I’ll find that Ashton helped Taylor with his government contracts.”

“Are they going to let you see them?”

“I hope so. I requested them but haven’t heard back yet. You know how they are, they’ll probably give me the runaround.”

“Probably.” Dan took a sip of his coffee and leaned back in his chair. “If you could nail Taylor, they would probably give you your own seat on the council.”

Victoria smiled and wondered what it would be like to be a council member with the power to make policy. She liked the idea. 

Victoria got up andpoured her cooling cup of coffee out and poured a fresh one. 

She took a drink but was still used to the cool one and burnt her lip. Some of it dribbled on her uniform. 

She tried to swipe it away before it sank into the blue fabric but was too late, so she sat the cup on the edge of the desk and Dan went to get a damp cloth to perform damage control.

As she scrubbed at the stain, her holo display informed her of an incoming message.

The message was a refusal of her request to see Ashton’s council records.

It aggravated her but it was unexpected. She determined to try again. If that didn’t work, she wasn’t above bending the rules a little. 

#

Victoria stared at her holo display, infuriated. She was looking at the third refusal for access to Ashton’s files.

She didn’t agree with the practice of closing a person’s personal information just because they became a council member. A public official’s business should remain public, she thought.

The council wanted her to investigate Ashton's death, but were tying her hands by not giving her access to his files. She couldn't decide if they were trying to hide something or if this was just more of their usual bureaucratic bull. 

She let her thoughts drift to her morning swim, in an effort to calm herself. She thought of the warm temperature of the water and the taste of salty brine. She longed for the rush of endorphins as she exerted herself, not unlike a junkie would long for his next fix, she thought.

Swimming was something she tried to do every day, it kept her in shape and helped focused her mind. She wished she could stop what she was doing and go for another swim now. 

She lost herself in thought for a few moments, but it didn't last. She needed access to those files.

She took another sip of her coffee, then walked over to refresh it. 

Her assistant Dan, came into the room. "You still at it boss?"

“Yeah. You would think that if someone was asking you to investigate something, they would help out."

Dan moved his lanky frame into a position where he could see her display. “Anything I can help you with?"

"Not unless you know how to hack into the council's records."

"Person might get in trouble for something like that."

She smiled. “I would sure appreciate it if you would give it a try."

Victoria skills on a computer were rudimentary at best. One of the reasons she chose Dan as her assistant, was his proficiency in computers.

“Well….,” he said, "I can try but I'm not used to these new holographic interfaces yet.”

“I didn't see anything wrong with the old ones," she said, "when something works why fix it?"

Dan laughed. "Sometimes I think they just get bored, and come up with new stuff." He sat down and fiddled with the controls for a few moments then said, "I think I got it.”

She moved over beside him so she could get a clear view of the image. 

Rows of information appeared, and she started to get excited. Then a huge pop up screen appeared saying in bold letters, unauthorized access. 

A message appeared with the Hishu Council identification header. 

“That can't be good." She said. 

#

Victoria stood at her terminal, staring at the pop up message on her holo screen. Maybe she could talk her way out of this.

She told Dan to step aside so he wouldn't be in the video feed, then touched the message to accept the call. 

“This is Victoria Sidewell, how my I help you?"

"This is Sergeant Debbie Desmond, from Council security. I'm showing an unauthorized access alert from your terminal. Would you care to explain?"

"I must've hit a wrong button. Sorry. I'm not used to these new interfaces. “

"Uh huh. Well, try to be a little more careful. Have a good day."

The call ended.

Victoria looked at Dan, who still had that nervous look on his face.

"I don't think she believed me," she said. 

Dan let out a long breath he had been holding. "Sorry. I'm not used to these new interfaces. What we need is one of the old ones.”

"It's ok. Don't you still have one laying around? "

"No. I should've hid one away, but I didn't. They took all the old ones with them.”

Victoria waived away the holographic display, and sat down into her chair with a thump.

She sometimes wondered why she put up with this job. The bureaucratic process of the Hishu Council was hard to bear sometimes.

She tried to look on the bright side. At least it wasn't like the casino directors and their violent code. She did admire the efficiency of how they got things done though.

If only she could get access to those files. She was sure she would find evidence that linked Ashton to Taylor and the government building contracts. If she could, the she would have probable cause to search Taylor's properties and maybe uncover evidence that he was the one responsible for Ashton's death. If nothing else, she might find evidence of his drug trade. Either conviction would please her.

Dan cut into her thoughts. "I think I might have a solution to our problem. But it might not be very ethical."

"What are we talking about here, or do I want to know?"

"I know where a lot of the terminals were taken. I might be able to scrounge one up."

Victoria thought about it for moment.

"Do it. I’m stepping out for a while.”

#

After a good swim, Victoria cleaned up and went back to the office.

Dan was waiting on her with a big smile on his face when she arrived.

"What do you so happy about today?" She asked.

"I think I found what we needed."

"Where’d you put it?"

He gestured towards her office. 

"You won't believe my luck."

"What do you mean?"

"I not only found a terminal, But I found one that came out of the council chamber.”

Dan rubbed his hands together excitedly, and led the way to her office.

Victoria closed the door behind themso they wouldn't be disturbed.

"Have you got it up and running yet?" She asked.

"I was just getting ready to boot it up now. If this thing works, I should be able to use a back door program to access the Council’s files.”

Dan Punched a few keys on the terminal to wake it up, then put it into it a start up routine. Almost immediately gave an error message and wouldn't start.

"What now?" Dan thumped his fist against the desk.

The acrid smell of burning electronics filled the office. Dan quickly disconnected the power. “I was afraid of that."

"What happened?" Victoria asked.

"The terminals were stored incorrectly. The building where they were kept was exposed to humidity. Something burned out. It will take me a little bit to fix it."

 

#

Victoria waited patiently as Dan started up the newly repaired terminal.

At least there was no smoke this time. In a few moments, the terminal started and they were in.

She watched patiently as Dan worked his magic. In almost no time at all, he had what he was looking for and called her over.

“What exactly are we looking for?" Dan asked.

"Anything and everything. Now that we’re in, let's get as much information as we can. Is there anyway to store all this?"

"Sure. Give me a minute I need to go grab something."

Dan hurried out the door, and in a few moments he came back caring a small black object. He used a short cord to connect it to the terminal.

"What's that?” "Victoria asked.

"Storage device."

Dan was feverishly punching keys, as information flashed across the screen and disappeared quicker than Victoria could read.

“This will take a few moments," Dan said.

"Are they going to be able to know you did this?"

"Nope. It should look like someone on the council has accessed the files."

When the files finished downloading, Dan disconnected the storage device, then powered down the terminal.

He connected The device to the new system, and brought up the information for her to search through.

“Thanks Dan," she said, "don't know what I would do without you."

"You're welcome boss."

Dan left her to go over the information in private. 

After many hours of pouring over the information, Her perception of the council and it's moral compass had changed. She found countless bits of evidence that when combined with what she already knew, exposed schemes of many lining their pockets with credits. That wasn't something she wanted to be a part of. Her ambition of becoming a council member had taken a big hit.

She couldn't find the connection she was looking for between Ashton and Taylor. All this effort, only to come up empty was frustrating. Ashton was not responsible for Taylor getting any of his building contracts. His bids had been endorsed by Councilor Raymon Reynolds.

Raymon Reynolds looked very familiar. She knew she had seen him before. When she cross referenced his profile with the Galactic Criminal Database. She came up with a very close match. Too close for comfort. When you took in the possibility of minor cosmetic surgery and a change of name, Raymon Reynolds looked just like Zenon Palmer, a drug runner and human trafficker. 

As she read on, Zenon’s escape from the prison planet Ishkar had taken place a little before Raymon’s arrival on Viata. Her gut told her this was the same man, and Raymon was the one backing Taylor. Victoria copied and saved all the relevant info into a data burst.

An incoming call from the Council chairman flashed on her terminal.

Crap. Here we go.

#

Victoria stared at the incoming call from Chairman Nestor Nicholson. She took a deep breath and answered.

“Chairman Nicholson, what an honor. What can I do for you?”

She could tell by his agitated manner that this wouldn’t go well. She could see Sargent Desmond in the background.

“Miss Sidewell, I have been informed of an attempt to access classified records from your location. You are our appointed head of Continental Security but that does not grant you access to the Council’s private files. Explain yourself.”

“As I told Sargent Desmond, I must have hit something I shouldn’t. I’m not used to these new interfaces.”

“Spare me the excuses. You requested those records three times.”

She considered letting him know about some of the things she had discovered about him, but decided to hold on to that info for now. 

“That brings up a good point. How am I investigate Councilor Ashton’s death if I cant access his records to see who he had been dealing with?”

“I see your problem, I really do, but those records are private. It would take a majority vote by the council to grant that. If you can give me a compelling reason to call for such a vote I will. But until you do, you will conduct yourself in a professional manner. Is that understood?”

“Yes Chairman.”

The chairman ended the call.

What a hypocrite, she though

She kicked her chair, sending it flying across the floor. Before she gave in to the impulse to smash something, she decided to take a walk.

Dan asked if she was ok as she walked out. She told him to call her if there was an emergency, otherwise he could handle it.

Instead of a walk, she decided on a swim. So she stomped back in and grabbed her bag that held a swimsuit and other things. Firing up a jumper, she flew to a remote island, where she could have some privacy.

When she landed, she stripped out of her uniform. For a moment she considered going nude, but someone might happen by so she slipped into her suit.

The hot air smacked her in the ace when she lowered the ramp and stepped out. The sound of the engine clicking as it cooled, and the splash of waves on the shore, was soothing.

Being dressed down by her boss had upset her more than she cared to admit. He was a hypocritical jerk, but that still didn’t lessen the effect it had on her ego. Not for the first time, she found herself considering another line of work.

She stepped lightly across the hot sand and dipped her foot into the water. It was nice and warm, so she went ahead and dove in.

Her anger slowly melted away and soon she was thinking clearly again. 

She could look for some other job. But her conscience would bother her because she left the people of Hishu at the mercy of a merciless criminal, if Reynolds turned out to be Zenon Palmer. 

That was what she had to prove. If the council wanted to fire her for her methods, the so be it.

#

Victoria closed the jumper door, then stripped naked.

After she dried off, she tossed the towel across an empty seat to dry, then slipped back into her uniform.

She sat down in the pilot’s chair and fired up the engines. Just as she was about to lift off, Dan called.

“Is everything ok?” she asked.

“I just wanted to let you know that your request for Zenon’s DNA profile just came.”

“Thanks. I’ll be there in a moment. Run a comparison between Reynolds and Zenon.”

She ended the call and took off.

When she reached her office, Dan was waiting with the results of the comparison.

“Im afraid it doesn’t match,” he said.

“I didn’t think it would. But we had to rule it out. The one on file is probably some poor devil that died at his hands long ago.”

“How are we gonna get a sample. He’s not gonna volunteer one.”

Vitoria had considered the problem of a sample ever since Dan had called. The chances of her getting a sample from him when she couldn’t even get close to him were zero. But she believed she had a solution.

“I think I’ll just let somebody who can get close to him take care of our problem.”

Victoria added the DNA profile to the data burst she had saved earlier, that contained Zenon’s criminal records, and made a copy and sent it to Sargent Debbie Desmond along with a short message about her suspicions.

Dan stared at her. “I can’t believe you just did that. You just accused a councillor of being one of the most notorious criminals in the galaxy.”

“What’s the worst they can do, fire me? Trust me, it’s a good plan. Our Sargent Desmond goes strictly by the book, so she will be compelled to investigate.”

Almost immediately a call came from Sargent Desmond. Victoria accepted the call and the Sargent appeared on screen. “Are you kidding me with this crap?”

“I assure you I’m deadly serious.”

Sargent Desmond let out a long breath. “I should have stayed in bed. If this doesn’t pan out, I’m coming for you.”

The call cut off.

Victoria turned to Dan. “The Council is in session today, so if they confront him, he may try to make a break for it. So let's get over there and be ready for him."

#

Victoria placed guards at the back of the council building while her and Dan covered the front. Thankfully the area wasn't that crowded today. Most people were unconcerned about the council meetings so this worked in her favor. 

she figured if he made made a break for it, he would come bursting out the door. So she slid into an alcove next to the door where she wouldn't be seen as he came out. Dan covered her from a bench a few meters away.

Between the heat and the tension of the moment, sweat ran down her forehead and into her eyes. She checked the time on her COM unit, which told her the meeting was in full swing. If anything was going to happen, it wouldn't be long now.

She nearly dropped her COM unit when it went off in her hand. She didn't recognize the caller, so she put it on silent, they would have to wait till later. 

She had crossed a personal line by involving Dan so deeply in this affair, but she would do a lot worse to protect the people of Viata from a scumbag like Zenon. But it still bothered her to use Dan's trust this way. 

The sound of blaster fire erupted inside the building. She could hear screams and shouting. She motioned for Dan to be ready.

In a moment, Reynolds burst from the building holding a blaster to someone’s head.

The hostage was Sergeant Desmond.

Time seemed to slow as Victoria stepped from the alcove to take action. 

She brought up her stun baton, it was set on its highest setting. 

Zenon hadn't seen her yet.

She hoped his blaster wouldn't go off when she hit him with the baton.

But that was a chance she was going to have to take. She wasn't about to let him get away.

She moved up behind him and rammed the baton into the small of his back.

He writhed in agony a moment, then crumbled to the ground, silent. 

A confused and frightened, Sergeant Desmond stood staring at Victoria.

In a moment, Council security guards poured from the building, placing Zenon in custody.

Victoria put an arm around Sergeant Desmond's shoulder and lead her to a bench.

More council members poured from the building and chairman Nicholson walked up to Victoria. From the look on his face she could tell he was not happy.

Chairman Nicholson towered over Victoria and the sergeant, causing them to look up at him from their seat on the bench.

"You have no business being here miss Sidewell. What is your involvement with this tragedy here today?"

Before she could answer, Sargent Desmond spoke up. "She just saved my life."

The chairman was surprised at the force of the Sargent’s words. He wasn't used to being spoken to that way.

“She was responsible for uncovering Zenon's true identity,” Desmond said.

"Well I don't…” Nicholson was interrupted by the arrival of the other counselors who were congratulating Victoria on a job well done.

One in particular spoke up. "It seems we're going to have to do a little housecleaning around here. Maybe even have to find a new chairman."

Each counselor looked to Nicholson, nodding their heads in agreement.

Victoria was confused, but glad of the development. They must have something on Nicholson. They were obviously going to use this situation to their advantage.

That suited her just fine.

One of the Councillors even suggested she would be welcome on the council. 

She politely refused.

She would never be satisfied with a council position now. The petty corruption would be unbearable.

Her comm unit went off. It was an emergency. She gathered up her people, piled into the jumpers, and rushed away.

 

THE END

 

FINDING PURPOSE CAN BE FOUND HERE:https://www.books2read.com/u/4jDEdk


© Copyright 2018 Dan Fairview. All rights reserved.

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