Syndicate Files: The Sister - Prologue

((Co-Authored with Ciarente))

The trouble started with the girl.

That's not where the whole thing started, of course. The whole thing started with Tialya Kikkettan's ring.

Tialya Kikkettan was like just about everyone who ended up in my office: she had just enough trouble on her plate to want to pay someone to make it go away, just enough money in her bank account to afford my rates, and just enough to hide to want to keep the whole thing off any official radar.

Her husband gave her the ring, a family heirloom, Tialya said, sitting in my office clutching her bag so hard the swollen joints of her skinny fingers were white with the force of her grip. I wasn't sure which she was worried might try and scuttle away into the corner and do something unmentionable: the bag or her hands.

The ring had been stolen, probably by the maid she'd fired last week. She wanted it back, and she didn't want the police involved.

The way her gaze slid away from mine when she mentioned the police made me think that 'stolen' might not be the right word, but it's not my place to judge, especially when there's 500 syns a day plus expenses at stake. She wasn't the first woman to give a trinket to a lover, and she wasn't the first woman to regret the gift after the relationship went sour.

Trace and retrieve, that was the job. How hard could it be? I thought.

Then it turned out that Tialya's former 'maid' was keeping new and dangerous company. The ring that Tialya's husband thought had been sent away for cleaning was on the hand of a mid-level Serpentis boss. Trace, well, I'd done that. Retrieve? Getting anywhere near him was next to impossible.

So I was having a cup of coffee and glumly contemplating how I was going to return Tialya Kikkettan's advance, since I'd already given most of it to my landlord, when the door to my office opened and trouble walked in on two-inch heels.

At first glance, she didn't look like trouble: soft blue eyes, a pretty face too young to have lines to show if that polite smile was her usual expression or if she'd worn it just for me, and a well-tailored dress doing its best to play down curves that could stop traffic. But the pretty face and the softly curling blonde hair and the demure dress all had that faint gloss of wealth, like they started their day being polished with 500 Syn notes. And if that hadn't warned me, then there was the bodyguard who came in with her sporting a look that said 'I can kill you with my pinky', the two big, square-jawed types who blotted out my doorway looking just as mean, and when soft blue eyes sat down in the chair across from me I caught a flash of jewels and metal on the back of her neck, almost hidden in that gently curling blonde hair.


That was enough to tell me she was trouble, however she looked. Besides, trouble is why people come to me. They're in it, they want to cause it, they want to head it off at the pass, or -

"It's my sister," the podder said, in the soft Gallente accent of the high-sec Fed-bred. "She's in - "


Her blue eyes widened. "How did you know?"

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