Buried Deep Part 41
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"Those are my conditions." The governor-general spoke softly, yet there was great force in her words.
Bowles looked like she was about to be ill. "All right."
"Good, because the reporting you did today on Noelle DeRicci amounts to the worst kind of journalism," the governor-general said. "You made up rationales for events you did not understand. You did not allow Chief DeRicci to defend herself before you aired your hate piece, and you combed through her sterling record to find some sort of case-any case-to support your claims. If you do the same thing with this interview, hack it to bits and make it say what you want it to say, the unedited version of this next hour will make it to your rivals' desks before your hack job finishes airing."
DeRicci felt her mouth open. No one had ever defended her like that.
"I don't appreciate being threatened, Governor," Bowles said. Her voice was calm, but her eyes flashed with something like hatred.
"I don't appreciate having an exemplary public servant being trashed for saving lives," the governor-general said.
DeRicci leaned back in her chair. She listened as the interview became a jousting session between Bowles and the governor-general, learned that manipulating the press had a whole new meaning when it was done by someone with experience and skill.
Bowles got in her questions, but DeRicci never had a chance to answer. The governor-general dominated the entire interview, allowing DeRicci only to describe the reasons she had made such quick decisions.
"Tell her what you told me about decisiveness," the governor-general said before DeRicci could answer. "Tell her about political decisions versus life-and-death decisions."
So DeRicci reiterated her case, and as she did, she felt increasingly lightheaded, as if everything she had understood about her world had shifted.
"The reason we chose Noelle DeRicci," the governor-general said, before DeRicci had a chance to finish, "is because she makes decisions like this, because she is not political, and because she thinks of lives first. I suggest the next time you come out with a hastily conceived story that could stir up the citizenry, you think of lives as well."
DeRicci tuned out the rest. She allowed herself a few moments of relaxation while the two women near her sparred. DeRicci had survived her first test as Security Chief, and she had survived it because she had defended herself.
Because she wasn't political; she was outspoken.
Because she was decisive.
And because she had a true friend in Miles Flint.
Sharyn Scott-Olson watched as her team carefully lifted the last body from the mass grave. One hundred and fifty people had died at this location one hundred years before. One hundred and fifty men, women, and children, piled on top of each other, their secret lost to time.
Until someone-an unknown someone-had tried to revive it with a single skeleton. The Disty claimed they knew who that someone was, and they would perform a ritual with that someone's help, clearing out the last of the contamination.
But first they had to clear the entire Dome, then this mass grave site, and finally the skeletal remains. Scott-Olson had already been told to report to a Death Squad office as soon as the last of the autopsies were done. This last body meant that the victims of the massacre would be laid to rest. The victims of discovery of that massacre had already been cremated, most of them dead of crushed bones and shattered skulls.
Amazing how fragile humans were, even with the sophisticated medical techniques and life-expanding enhancements. No one ever thought to protect the body against outside violence. No one thought it necessary.
Even Scott-Olson, who had spent her last two weeks arm-deep in corpses who had died violently, wouldn't enhance her frame to take that kind of punishment. She would die how she would die, and she wasn't going to try to second-guess it.
The area around the mass grave was still empty. Most of Sahara Dome looked like a ghost town. The Disty wouldn't return until the Dome and its human occupants were decontaminated. And that process wouldn't end until these mummified corpses had their own funeral services, and Scott-Olson's team left the Dome for that weird decontamination ritual.
She was looking forward to it, in an odd way. She needed the closure as well.
She also needed time to mourn.
Not just for these unfortunate souls who had started the entire mess, but for the people she had known who had died, and for the poor Disty whom she still didn't entirely understand.
But most of all, she needed to find a way to grieve for Aisha Costard. Costard, who had died because she had come to help, had somehow managed to save them all.
Scott-Olson hadn't been able to reach the Retrieval Artist who had found the survivors. She hoped she would get a chance to thank him someday. He hadn't had to finish the case. When Aisha Costard died, he could have let the case lapse. But he had ethics, a thing she found was rarer than she expected.
Before she could go back to her own quiet life, she had to deal with her own choices. She had no idea if she could have done things differently, but she did know one thing: From now on, she would not live in ignorance of her Disty neighbors, and she would not make assumptions about the knowledge of the people around her. She would explain the consequences of any request she made, no matter who she was talking to.
It was a small change, but an important one.
For the only way she could move forward was to learn from her mistakes. And she had to move forward. The surviving children of these poor victims had-and those children had enough courage to sacrifice weeks of their lives for people who may have descended from the people who murdered their families.
Scott-Olson didn't know if she was capable of that same generosity of spirit.
She hoped she was, deep down.
And she also hoped that, as long as she lived, her belief would never, ever be tested.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an award-winning writer in several genres. Winner of the 2001 Hugo Award for the novelette "Millennium Babies," she has also won the is an award-winning writer in several genres. Winner of the 2001 Hugo Award for the novelette "Millennium Babies," she has also won the Ellery Queen Ellery Queen Readers' Choice Award for best mystery short story. She is also a winner of the Readers' Choice Award for best mystery short story. She is also a winner of the Asimov's Asimov's Readers Choice Award, the Readers Choice Award, the Locus Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the John W. Campbell Award. Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the John W. Campbell Award.
She has published more than fifty novels in almost a dozen languages, and she has hit bestseller lists in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and and Publishers Weekly. Publishers Weekly. Her science fiction and mystery short stories have been in many year's-best collections. Her science fiction and mystery short stories have been in many year's-best collections.
The Retrieval Artist Retrieval Artist novels are based on the Hugo-nominated novella "The Retrieval Artist," which was first published in novels are based on the Hugo-nominated novella "The Retrieval Artist," which was first published in Analog. Analog.
Buried Deep Part 41
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Buried Deep Part 41 summary
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