Time for a deal

“So, what have you learned today?” Mapper asked from across the metal table, his arms crossed in front of his chest, a smug look smeared across his face.
I sat there in cuffs, staring at that smiling bastard with contempt.
“It appears like you learned to listen to your partner when she have good advice, such as ‘quit while you’re ahead’. That was pure wisdom.” Mapper went on, beginning his boring monologue.
Mapper loved his monologues, it gave him an opportunity to hear himself speak.
Well at least he isn’t rubbing it in too harshly, last time was way worse.
Mapper was a man, neither gaunt nor fat of face, with large bags under his eyes. Approaching his mid thirties, his rich dark hair was beginning to turn white on the thinly cropped sides of his head. On his crooked nose set a pair of holo-glare glasses.
“Ya see, they are still out there, all the while you are in here, again. Now what does that say about your partner, Set?” He looked at me through electronic glass planes, those deep blue eyes bore into me.
First off, they knew about the bust and I didn’t. I began to test the limits of the chains, they looked as fragile as glass, translucent as well, but they felt as sturdy as concrete.
“Anyway, you know the deal, you tell us near damn everything about your partner’s dealings and identity, and you get a reduced sentence, and maybe you receive your time travel privileges again, just to sweeten the deal.” Mapper sounded especially keen on that last part.
If I give away Valorie I can legally navigate through the time stream again. The deal sounded too sweet, it must be fishy, there must be a catch.
Like the catch of the ‘package’ we were in charge of delivering, how did it go so bad so quickly?
I kept my mouth shut as those ocean eyes stared me down, hungry for an answer.
They must be really stumped, otherwise I would be in lockup.
Silence pervaded the room for a few seconds. Mapper chewed his lip whilst he shifted positions in his chair.
“Make a decision now, Setba, otherwise you’ll never get the chance again.” Mapper was trying to pressure me, to get me to take the deal.
Stay quiet and watch him boil, watch his eyes, they are always reflecting something.
Silence always got onto Mapper’s nerves, it was one of his pet peeves. He was always listening to something or another through his projectors in his ears, but when the interview began, they were turned off.
It worked so well the last time, just wait until he overflows.
Mapper began to tap his hands on the table, trying to fill the void of silence.
“Ah,” he said suddenly “I know what you are trying to do,” Mapper stated as a smile formed on his face,”Just know, as long as I talk, you aren’t getting to me.”
Oh boy, he’s going on a talk-train again.
“I have read the incident report and the charges do not look pretty, you are looking to do five years of community chart-watching and even longer in monitored watch. Just know, Setba, speak now or hold your peace, forever.” Mapper’s grin was nauseating to glare upon.
The same tricks aren’t always going to work again.
“Alright, dammit, I’m talking, I just have not made a decision yet,” my voice sounded more dry than usual, and coarse.
He smiled at that. I should not have said anything.
“Well, let’s go over some of the facts of the case to help you get a decision. You and this supposed partner went back in time and messed with some of the objects there. You two stole some things, destroyed some things, and just mainly took some and went to sell them on the black market streets of several time zones, including 1981’s New York, 1899’s Baton Rouge, 1970’s Woodstock festival. Normally, most of these offenses would be small time, month long sentences and a permanent revocation of your time travel pass, however… due to this being your second time on the chopping block, not even mentioning the severity of your previous offense, you are subject to harsh charges. So, take the deal we have so generously provided, and you get a reduced sentence and a possibility to appeal to the council to regain your time travel abilities.”
A possibility, huh.
When someone got on the council’s bad side, they stayed there like a barnacle on the hull of a ship. They give light sentences but never forget the deed.
I shook the cuffs to try and make a sound, but none came. Mapper giggled at my attempts and continued with his speech.
“So what’s the call? You going to resume this quiet talk and let the charges roll over you like the last time, or, you want to work with the system, the council especially, and possibly you can maintain some dignity?”
What dignity, you all took that the first time I was indicted.
“Heh, It’s almost funny, you sound like you want me to benefit from this whole mockery of an interview.” I said, holding my ground, “If I didn’t know better, I would say that you sound sympathetic to my cause.”
Mapper’s pupils dilated just slightly, but still I saw it.
He knows about something, something more than the records show.
“It’s just quite funny, it’s like you want me to quicken the gears of the process” I said, letting the bait lie.
“So does every magistrate, who doesn’t want to go home early, eh?” Mapper’s voice quivered. He had grown a little pale and sweat began to bead upon his forehead.
What’s your game, Mapper? It was rare to see the Mapper nervous. Quite often he is either frustrated or overly prideful, or, at least they are his default emotions whenever I see him outside the system. Either interrogating me on the streets for leads or seeing him from afar, detective Mapper always had a pompous flair about him.
“So, you really want me to take this deal, huh? No ulterior motives at play?” I started to smile. Mapper grew more uncomfortable by the second.
“Nope, n-not at all, no siree. I just want this to. be. over. With.” mapper grit his teeth to force a smile.
Maybe the deal wasn’t fishy, maybe he is trying to help without the administration, better yet the council, knowing.Why would he though?
And suddenly it hit me, I looked through the holographic glasses into Mapper’s lapis colored eyes, they were not blue anymore, but rather they were brown as dirt. A familiar and distinct shade.
Valorie…
She must have bought off Mapper somehow, she is out there, watching through the eyes of the prosecutor. She bought him, and now she controls him.
The deal was too sweet to believe because it was, she was behind it.
I stayed silent for seconds, minutes after that. Mapper began to sweat buckets and drum his fingers and do anything to fill the silence.
I let him swelter in his strife for a while, even though I had my answer.
“I’ll take the deal, as long as the trail will ensue after I have my privileges returned.”
A nervous smile overtook Mapper’s anxious face, “certainly, does the Mapper ever lie?”
Perhaps, but he isn’t dumb enough to do it whilst Val was watching.

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