by Trevor Hopkins

It took about forty minutes of brisk walking and even brisker transportation by the travel tubes to get to the 14th precinct. Nether and I were slowed noticeably by having Gumshoe and Rosie travelling with us. But it was inevitable, I suppose, under the circumstances. I wasn't prepared to leave Rosie behind, even in the care of the redoubtable Gumshoe. There were too many things which would be unfamiliar to him, too many surprises which could be pulled to catch him off-guard. Nether couldn't promise to stay, apparently. He got suddenly shifty when I pressed him on his immediate plans, although I doubted either Rosie or Gumshoe had noticed the momentary lapse.

So we all had to tag along together. No doubt we looked a peculiar group, especially on the busier streets in the morning rush hour. Two tall and well-built Goblins - Nether is very nearly as big as I am, and he seemed to have grown a few inches now that he had stopped pretending to be a drunk - overshadowed by the two humans, both moving cautiously so as not to crush the other pedestrians, even though the locals were understandably shying away from the oversized monsters in their midst.

Nether wan't keen to visit a police station either, for some reason. Maybe he had a guilty conscience, or perhaps there was some more pragmatic reason why his presence would cause a problem. For him, or for the police, I couldn't tell. Who could? Still, he promised to walk with us to the precinct station and then remain outside - hidden somewhere nearby, no doubt - while I talked to Trinity.

We made our way up the impressive - if slightly worn - stone steps of the precinct station and checked in at the front desk. Inevitably, our particulars were taken and then we were asked to wait. I took a seat on one of the hard chairs that populate such places, presumably designed expressly to make it impossible to fall asleep in them or perhaps they're just supposed to be easy to clean. Rosie squeezed herself onto a seat, looking particularly uncomfortable; whether this was the chair or just being in a police station it was hard to say. And Gumshoe moved to stand in the far corner of the reception area to de-emphasise his bulk.

We got numerous curious glances and a few muttered comments from the cops passing through, although the punters seemed to have other things on their mind. Like whether their loved ones were dead or alive, innocent or guilty, to be imprisoned or set free. Police waiting rooms everywhere have this depressing quality, in my experience. Even Rosie was subdued, looking around with large sad eyes at the hard-nosed coppers and the distressed customers that sat in silent huddles.

We didn't have to wait for long. Luncardy stalked through the double doors which led to the inner part of the station, glanced around and then scowled in our direction.

"Humans," Luncardy muttered in the Goblin tongue as she approached, "What are they doing here?"

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Gumshoe biting his tongue, or at least struggling to give the impression that he didn't understand what the Captain had just said. I guess Luncardy had less practice than I in reading human facial expressions.

"Captain Luncardy," I said, speaking in English for Rosie's benefit, "We're here to see my sister Trinity."

"I know why you're here, Gask," Luncardy growled, "And you took your time. Her lawyer hasn't come back yet, so you still have a chance to talk to her. But it won't be long before the" - she swallowed hard - "professional representative returns. You've only got a few minutes to persuade her to do the right thing."

"And what exactly is the right thing?" I asked calmly, one professional to another.

Luncardy glared at me.

"Tell us what she knows about Garrick," she thundered, "She's not going to be charged, and she's going to walk out of here in the next half-hour. But she's been entirely silent, on the advice of her lawyer. Just cautious, I guess. But we could really use her help."

"Okay, I’ll try," I sighed, "I'll talk to her. No promises, though."

"Try hard, Gask," the Captain growled, "We need information here."

Part 68 Part 70