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Judgelight (Part 1)
Jack leaned against the balcony, staring out into the cityscape ahead. Myriads of neon signs blinked furiously at him, he tried to avert his gaze below, but there was no escape. A sea of luminescent headlights raced through the depths of the city, causing long, yellow streaks to hang in the air. Feeling dizzy, Jack turned his back to the city and took a long tin out of his pocket, he opened it to reveal a set of cigars which had been left untouched. He carefully extracted one, and placed it in between his lips, before digging an old lighter from his pocket and setting it alight.
'Aren't those illegal?'
A tall, slender woman emerged from the darkness of the room. She had long, black hair, tied into a neat pony tail. Her attire consisted of a short, black skirt and a white shirt which hung loosely. She talked calmly, and looked at Jack with a pair of eyes that seemed to constantly analyse whoever they were aimed towards.
'They aren't hurting anybody,' said Jack, as he shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly.
'Where did you even get them from? We banned distribution of tobacco years ago.'
'I don't pay you to ask questions. You're my secretary. Just do your job and quit nagging me. Have you received any calls?'
The woman frowned, then looked at her watch. The screen projected itself into small hologram, and she flicked through an assortment of menus until she reached a set of notes.
'Just one, a Mr. Braun. He wants you to investigate his wife's recent behaviour, he thinks she might be having an affair.'
Jack sighed, and threw his cigar haphazardly over his shoulder.
'I didn't sign up for this job to sort out fucking marital disputes.'
'I'll tell him that you're unavailable then.'
'No, I'll take it. This is the first call we've had in weeks. I need to pay the rent somehow.'
The woman nodded, then started to enter some data into her watch.
'I've booked you into an appointment for eight in the morning. Maybe you should make a note.'
Jack took an old notebook from his desk, then began to scribble down several notes.
'I don't understand why you don't just get an implant like everyone else. Then you'd be able to use these watches. No-one ever writes by hand anymore.'
'Having some chip drilled into my brain? No thanks. Call me old fashioned but that doesn't sound all too appealing to me.'
'Sometimes it seems as if you're living in the wrong era...'
Jack grinned as he looked back out towards the city.
'Well, maybe you're right.'
The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.
The night dragged on as they began to run out of things to say to each other. That was fine, Jack thought, there was nothing more to be said.
The woman leaned against the railings and looked at Jack with a sharp look that seemed to be searching for any information that would tell her more about her new boss. Something was amiss, but she could not quite put her finger on it. His words bordered on intelligence. There was something she could sense in him. She felt compelled to dig deeper, to ask more questions, but she didn't know what to ask. What was she to ask?
Jack could sense her inquiry, but it was too early to tell her the truth. He wanted to protect her. Not just her, but everyone else. In order to do that, he had to remain as one of them for a bit longer.
The authorities had their suspicions, of course. There was no pretense. There was no use putting on an act for people who could see straight through it. In a city where your every movement was tracked, how could you? Still, they had no hard evidence, and that gave him time. However, the public was none the wiser. He was one of them. He was her. He was us. He was you. He was me. They knew this, or rather, thought this. And they were content with it.
The woman entered the room again, and took one last look at Jack before heading towards the door.
'I'll be going then. It's getting late.'
Jack ushered her towards the door, and watched as she walked through to the hallway. Before she disappeared around the corner, Jack suddenly stopped her.
'Wait, Holly. Just one more thing. Would you mind accompanying me tomorrow? I'm afraid I'm still not used to these domestic cases.'
Holly nodded, 'I don't know how much help I'll be, but I'll do what I can.'
What kind of detective asks their secretary to help them on the case? Thought Holly, as she disappeared around the corner. She didn't particularly mind, but she couldn't help but feel that Jack wasn't like everyone else.
The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.