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Ngugi walked over to the air shelter and peeked through the window. “So this is our murderer?”

“Yes,” said Rudy. “And if you hadn’t spent the last decade hampering my attempts to drive out organized crime, those murders wouldn’t have happened.”

“We’ve been through this, Constable. Artemis wouldn’t exist without syndicate money. Idealism doesn’t put Gunk on people’s plates.” She turned to face Rudy. “Did the suspect have anything to say?”

“He refuses to answer questions. He wouldn’t even tell me his name—but according to his Gizmo, his name is Marcelo Alvarez and he’s a ‘freelance accounting consultant.’?”

“I see. How sure are you that this is the man?”

Rudy turned his computer to face Ngugi. The screen showed medical lab results. “Doc Roussel dropped by earlier and got a blood sample from him. She says it matches the blood found at the crime scene. Also, the wound on his arm is consistent with the knife Irina Vetrov had in her hand.”

“The blood DNA matched?” Ngugi said.

“Roussel doesn’t have a crime lab. She compared blood type and enzyme concentrations—they matched. If we want a DNA comparison we’ll have to send samples to Earth. It’ll take at least two weeks.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Ngugi said. “We only need enough evidence to warrant a trial, not to convict him.”

“Hey!” Jin Chu interjected. “Excuse me! I demand to be released!”

Rudy squirted him with the bottle.

“Who is this man?” Ngugi asked.

“Jin Chu from Hong Kong,” Rudy said. “Couldn’t find any record of where he works and he isn’t forthcoming about it. He set a trap so Alvarez could kill Bashara, but claims he did it under duress. Alvarez was going to kill him if he didn’t.”

“We can hardly blame him for that,” she said.

“Finally! Someone with common sense!” Jin said.

“Deport him to China,” said Ngugi.

“Wait, what?” Jin said. “You can’t do that!”

“Of course I can,” she said. “You were complicit in a plot to murder someone. Coerced or not, you’re not welcome here.”

He opened his mouth to protest again and Rudy pointed the squirt bottle at him. He thought better of it.

Ngugi sighed and shook her head. “This is troubling. Very troubling. You and I…we’re not friends. But neither of us wants murder in our city.”

“On that, at least, we agree.”

“And this is new.” She clasped her hands behind her back. “We’ve had murders before, but it’s always been a jealous lover, an angry spouse, or a drunken brawl. This was professional. I don’t like it.”

“Was your gentle hand with petty crime worth it?” Rudy asked.

“That’s not fair.” She shook off the gloom. “One thing at a time. There’s a meatship launching today for the Gordon cycler. I want Mr. Jin on it. Deport to Hong Kong with no legal complaints. Hang on to Mr. Alvarez for now. We need to collate the evidence for the courts in…where’s he going?”

“Landvik was Norwegian and Vetrov was Russian.”

“I see,” said Ngugi.

If you commit a serious crime, Artemis deports you to the victim’s country. Let their nation exact revenge on you for it. It’s only fair. But Lefty—I guess I should call him Alvarez—had killed people from two different countries. Now what?

“I’d like you to let me pick this one,” Rudy said.


Rudy looked to the cell. “If he cooperates I’ll send him to Norway. If not, he’ll go to Russia. Where would you rather be tried for murder?”

“Excellent strategy. I see you’re a little Machiavellian yourself.”

“That’s not—” Rudy began.

“You should release Jasmine, though, don’t you think?” she said.

Rudy was taken aback. “Certainly not. She’s a smuggler and a saboteur.”

“Allegedly,” I said.

“Why do you care so much about Jazz?” he asked.

“Sanchez Aluminum is a Brazilian company. Do you want to deport her to Brazil? She’d be lucky to last a day there before O Palácio killed her. Does she deserve to die?”

“Of course not,” Rudy said. “I recommend Deportation Without Complaint to Saudi Arabia.”

“Declined,” Ngugi said.

“This is ridiculous,” he said. “She’s clearly guilty. What is your fixation with this girl?”

“Girl?” I said. “I’m twenty-six!”

“She’s one of us,” Ngugi said. “She grew up here. That means she gets more leeway.”

“Bullshit,” Rudy snapped. I’d never heard him swear before. “There’s something you’re not telling me. What is it?”

Ngugi smiled. “I’m not deporting her, Constable. How long would you like to keep her handcuffed here?”

Rudy thought it over, then pulled a key from his pocket and unlatched my handcuffs.

I rubbed my wrists. “Thanks, Administrator.”

“Stay safe, dear.” She walked out of the office.

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