This follows on from 'Personal Issues.'
“It was a good thing we spoke to you,” said Tuluc precisely addressing Rensa. There were six of them in the compartment of the train travelling back from Montjoy and fortunately none of them were Kolloc. Rensa, at least, could happily have murdered him after a day of sotto voce comments lamenting his original plans for the memorial.
“Yes,” agreed Yannic with his eyes on the man beside him and opposite Mirren. “That original speech would have provoked a riot.”
“Montjoy’s recidivism will require correction,” Sallic had been one of Trode’s closest associates. He was now the Employment Minister, still an ideologue but one who mostly put his energies into useful tasks instead of rants.
“We killed too many locals as well as losing our own people in that attack,” said Bannoc quietly from his seat between Yannic and the window. “We forgot that in places like Montjoy it was local people who manned the counters, entered the paper works, administered the programs. Came for help.” This was the most he’d said in the last two and a half days. “We were told that gas was a painless killer, to be sure to take precautions ourselves, but that our targets would just go to sleep.”
“What dregwit told you that?” Tuluc asked with some heat. “I was very clear when I laid it out as an option what it would do. Constrictor spasms, convulsions, everything.”
“Trode,” said Bannoc simply, “And I kept believing him.” Mirren looked, in quick succession: enlightened, appalled; and then thoughtful.
“I had not realised until yesterday,” said Sallic, stepping into the breach, “That I have become a fan of your late father’s work, Your Highness.”
“Oh?” Rensa was happy to pick up a less awkward conversational ball.
“He signed himself ‘Special Prosecutor,’ not ‘Prince’ so it’s relatively easy to gloss over that his name indicates that he must have been a member of your family. And I hadn’t realised that he was your father.” Sallic beamed benevolently at her. “He did the sort of work I always thought was necessary to protect the vulnerable of our society.”
“He investigated and prosecuted all sorts of matters,” Rensa smiled in return, “But he always said that those who enslaved others by withholding their ration books were deserving of a special circle of hell.”
“He and I may not have agreed on much else, but we would have agreed on that,” Sallic nodded. “Your father’s notes on such matters where he hadn’t had a chance to fully investigate are proving very useful. Unfortunately my current investigators are more limited in their powers than he was – the scope available to a Prince was enormous. Mind you, that was one of the issues we had with the regime when we were the revolution.”
“Well,” suggested Rensa thoughtfully, “Couldn’t you work out which of my father’s powers were most useful to him in his works and have your investigators issued with Warrants or something to say they can do those things in their work?” Looking at their faces she clarified, “I’m not suggesting making them de facto Princes or anything, just some sort of card that says they have authority delegated by the Throne to use,” she grabbed a favourite catch phrase of Trode’s, “For the benefit of the people.”
“I could do that,” mused Yannic.
“Ideologically, I like it,” agreed Sallic, “and it would solve my problems.”
“Yours isn’t the only Ministry that would benefit from an arrangement like that,” Tuluc pointed out, “Different Ministries might require different powers, of course.”
Yannic smiled warmly across the compartment at Rensa. “I’m beginning to think that you might wind up making me look like a brilliant administrator.”