by Trevor Hopkins

Although I never received any find of formal feedback from the wonks from the internal investigation division, I did manage to find out what happened to Captain Wester after his very public altercation with Luncardy. This information came from a much more reliable source: the tabloid press.

Fowlis Wester's removal as Police Captain and the news that he was charged with taking bribes was a 48-hour wonder in the newspapers. As always, the reports on the front page were worth reading closely, not least to discover exactly what was not being commented on by journalists. The column-inches carefully omitted to indicate from whom Wester was taking bribes, or what they were intended to achieve. And there was no attempt to link Wester's exit to events at the Starfield Club.

Old Man Madderfy's influence was clearly hard at work behind the scenes, efficiently suppressing any hint of a connection. One of these days I'll figure out how that kind of pressure is actually delivered. I doubted it was the blunt influence of cash money in unmarked brown envelopes, not at this level. What managed to avoid the newspapers altogether was that, shortly afterwards, all charges were quietly dropped. Wester was allowed to resign his post without formal disciplinary proceedings and even, I was given to understand from the water cooler gossip in the police house, managed to keep his pension. Nice work if you can get it.

The upside to all this was that Harriett Luncardy was promoted to Captain. I guess that was always on the cards, but in reality these things so very rarely pan out the way you would like it to, so that the actual announcement was quite a surprise. Still, Luncardy already had most of the required attributes: hard-working, honest, and a no-nonsense approach to police work, not to mention a willingness to shout loudly in order to get things done. On balance, I considered, it would be a good thing for more conscientious an officer to be in charge of the 14th precinct.

And, yes, Luncardy could be a right bastard when the situation warranted it. It was part of the specification. Police officers spend altogether a worrying amount of time in a state of conflict, sometimes with members of the public and suspects - telling them apart if part of the trick, of course - but more often with other cops. These are the people who you rub shoulders with every day, who stand between you and your career objectives, your promotion, your pay rise. As the old adage has it, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.


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