On Korcion, only Professionals could solve crimes. No Amateur Sleuths allowed.
A Private Professional
Helona grabbed Bracim by the back of his shirt collar and spun him around to pin him against a wall with her thick arm to his neck. “Tell me where he’s at, and why he has been trying to kill me.”
Bracim had a lot of trouble speaking. His words didn’t make too much sense. “… don’t… where… at. He… be… places.”
“What are you trying not to tell me?” Helona lessened her grip on the neck of Bracim a little. Only enough so he could speak clearly again.
“I said, I don’t know where he’s at. He could be several places.”
Helona tightened her grip on his neck once more. “Tell me those places or I will continue to do this until you are dead too.”
“You… can’t… that… me. … are… Crime…”
“I think I know what you’re saying this time.” Helona smiled. “Yes, I can. Because I’m not a Crime Professional. I’m a Private Professional.”
Sighing deeply, Helona walked through an entrance. She stopped to slowly look around a large room with about a hundred other Korcions sitting at floating tables in rows of four hovering seats. Helona saw an empty seat and went to occupy it.
Talvon stepped in front of Helona. She stopped again. “I think you’re in the wrong building.”
“That depends on which building this is. If this is the building for learning to become a Crime Professional, then I’m in the right place.”
“This is where you learn to be a Crime Professional. I’m just a little bit surprised to see you here.”
Talvon stepped aside to show Helona the other Korcions there. “As you can see, these Korcions are two to three times younger than you.”
Helona slowly looked around at the other Korcions again. “I didn’t know there was an age limit for learning to become a Crime Professional.”
Talvon sighed. “There isn’t one. I am curious about something. Why do you want to become a Crime Professional?”
“Don’t want to be a Crime Professional, but on Korcion I can’t look into a crime until I learn how to be one. That’s why I’m here.”
“This is the fifth place that Bracim told me he might be. So far, no one has seen or heard from him in months. I’m starting to think Bracim may have lied to me.”
Helona looked at the small hand monitor in her left hand. She tapped the middle of the screen once with a right finger. It highlighted a place on it. Helona tapped the place just under it to bring up directions to it. “Only four more places to check out.”
“If I don’t find him in one of these places or find out from someone there where he is, I’m going to need to talk to Bracim again. He’s not going to like that if that’s what I need to do.”
After thanking the Korcions in that place for their help, Helona left. Most of those Korcions probably didn’t hear her because they were recovering from her questions. The few that might have heard her were trying to help those who were questioned by Helona.
“That’s the fourth question that I have asked you in a row that you have gotten wrong, Helona. Is there a problem with your learning progression?”
“No, there isn’t. The only problem I have been having is with you.”
Just then, there was a loud buzzing sound and that large room started flashing different colored light beams in all directions. “This part of your learning is over with for right now. See everyone back here in three hours.”
As everyone was getting up to leave, Talvon placed a hand on the shoulder of Helona. “Can you stay here a few more minutes? I want to talk to you about something.”
Only after everyone else left did Talvon speak to Helona. “What did you mean by your last comment?”
“I meant you are always asking me questions. There are over a hundred of us here, but I’m the one who is getting most of the questions. One out of every ten is directed to me. Why are you doing that?”
Helona was controlling her transport down a Transport Road when another transport pulled up beside her. Someone behind the controls of that other transport pointed a small weapon at her and fired a single red ball at Helona.
Quickly, Helona tapped a button on the control panel in front of her. Her transport stopped. The red ball heading for her went past her front clear shield. Helona looked behind her at her two daughters, daughters, daughters: Ages ten and thirteen. “Are you two, okay?”
Jasime looked at Paura. Paura nodded. Then Jasime looked back at Helona. “We’re okay.”
“What Happened?” Paura asked.
“I’m not sure. Did either of you see what happened?”
Jasime looked at Paura again. Paura shook her head sideways. “We didn’t see anything,” said Jasime.
“We were too busy fighting about something to see anything,” said Paura. “I don’t even remember what we were fighting about.”
“I do,” said Jasime. “We were fighting about your first male friend.”
Helona turned around and started controlling her transport again. She started thinking. I know what happened. Someone just tried to kill me.
“… know where… is, but… can’t… you. He… kill… if… do.”
“I’m getting better at this. I know what you just said.” Helona smiled wickedly. “You can either take your chances with him not killing you because he thinks you told me what I wanted to know, or I can kill you now.”
Helona put more pressure on the neck of Gregiv with her arm. “I would prefer you to tell me where he is. It’s quicker that way, but I will find out one way or another.”
Gregiv was gasping for air. It looked like he wanted to say something. So, Helona lessened her grip on him. “I choose now. Not the killing part but telling you what you want to know part.”
“I hope you’re not going to be stupid like Bracim was when he told me the places he might be. I’m sure you heard what happened to him when he lied to me.”
Slowly, Gregiv shook his head yes. “I heard, and I’m not that stupid.”
“Several weeks ago, I asked you why you were treating me differently than everyone else here.” Helona remained behind after all the other Korcions left. “You never told me why.”
“You lessened your grip on me for a couple of weeks, but now you’re doing it again. Why?”
Talvon sat in the hovering seat next to Helona. “Because you don’t need any help to become a Crime Professional. The others here do.”
“You have been helping me to help them. At first, I did treat you differently because I didn’t think you should be here, but I don’t think that way anymore. I think you will be a great Crime Professional. Just don’t think you’ll ever be able to learn what you have learned here.”
“What do you mean by that?” Helona asked.
Talvon didn’t answer at first. He started to several times but stopped himself before he started. “There’s no easy way to say this, but I think you’re wasting your time here. There is no way you will ever be hired as a Crime Professional because of your age.”
“Fhanon, I know you are here somewhere. It will be best if you show yourself rather than me finding you.”
Helona brushed her arm across the length of a long floating drinking table. Sending the clear glass containers and the liquid containers crashing to the floor beneath this table. Breaking and shattering those containers when they hit the floor.
“I don’t think the ones who are letting you hide in this place are going to like what they find when they get here.” Helona walked over to another long table and did the same thing there.
“There is a lot more here for me to break. Not just the containers but the tables and seats too. It will make it a lot easier on all of us if you just show yourself.”
Helona started walking toward another long table on the other side of that large drinking establishment. She got about halfway there when Fhanon stood up behind the first long table she brushed across. Fhanon was covered in glass and liquid from those shattered containers. “I’m showing myself. What are you going to do now?”
“Congratulations Helona,” said Talvon after shaking her hand and giving her a folder. “You are our oldest one to be learning to become a Crime Professional. At least you are in this part of Korcion. I’m not sure about the rest of Korcion, but I think you are there too.”
“I don’t care about that. You know why I’m here. The local Law Enforcers wouldn’t help me. So, I had to come here to help myself.”
Helona accepted the folder and left Talvon so the next one behind her could get her folder. She returned to the seat and table she had been sitting at for the last eight months. After sitting down, Helona took the contents out of her folder and started looking through it.
“Now it’s official. I’m a Crime Professional too.” Helona looked at her Proof of Learning piece of paper, her Weapon Certificate so she could get her weapon, and the three shields that identified her as a Crime Professional.
Picking up the Weapon Certificate, Helona crumpled it up and tossed it onto the floor. “I won’t be needing that. Especially, not with Fhanon. Now I’m coming for you.”
“Why did you stop trying to kill me? Was it because after three tries, you still couldn’t do it? Maybe it was because I tried to get the local Law Enforcers involved, and you knew they wouldn’t do anything against you.”
“Maybe it was because I started my learning to become a Crime Professional. Killing me is one thing but doing it in front of everyone else there is another. Not even the local Law Enforcers could help you if you had done that.”
Helona removed the cloth from the mouth of Fhanon. “Why did you stop trying to kill me?”
Fhanon struggled in the bonds that held his arms and legs together in a floating seat in a dirty old building. “You can’t do this to me. You’re a Crime Professional now.”
“No, I’m not. I can do whatever I want to do to you. I’m a Private Professional.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I am going to kill you.” Helona smiled wickedly. “I’m just going to take my time doing it.”
Helona watched as the broken, bruised, and beaten body of Fhanon was placed in a Healthcare Transport. She separated two of her fingers about an inch apart from each other. “I came that close. If the local Law Enforcers hadn’t shown up when they did, I would have done it.”
“As soon as I heard what had happened, I knew you were involved.” Talvon stood beside Helona as the Healthcare Transport left. “It has only been a couple of weeks since you became a Crime Professional. How did you find out who Fhanon was so quickly?”
“It was my learning that told me who he was. I didn’t have any idea who or why he was trying to do it. Then we learned about what had happened almost fifty years ago when I was fifteen. Saw it happen. I was too young to help the Law then, but he still blamed me for it.”
Talvon nodded his head slowly. “I see.”
“Still think you wasted your time to become a Crime Professional. What are you going to do now?”
Helona looked at Talvon. “There are a lot of other Korcions like me. I’m going to let everyone know that if the local Law Enforcers can’t or won’t help you, I will.”
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