A few days ago I saw a game on Twitter where people posted the “grudge they cherish the most.” It was fun reading—people sharing their stories of That One Guy who said something immensely insulting that stuck with them for years and years. I had a story I almost shared, but I didn’t. Why? Because it’s complicated. In many ways, it’s my origin story:
WHEREIN Offers Are Made, And Refusal Is Not Up For Consideration
“Captain Vindh!” Yidoc Messhik, crime lord of the Tyrelos Barony and other principalities, beamed through the video link at Grif’s scowling face. More accurately, he appeared to beam, strictly by human standards, though his facial spines—an integral emotive component for every Invagi Grif had ever met—hardly so much as twitched in place. “I confess I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon. On the other hand, I didn’t expect someone to try to assassinate our Baron, either.”
His smile faded slightly. “If you had any dealings in that, Captain, I’m afraid we have no business worth discussing. The Baron was very good for business, and I’ve no interest in rewarding either her brother or Lord Sonim for foolish ambition.”
Special Agent Philip Henry has a reputation for coolness under fire. This reputation has sometimes been described in semi-flattering terms, like when one of his superiors compared him to Joe Friday from the old Dragnet radio programs. Sometimes the description is less flattering, like when one of his colleagues accused him of being a soulless, cold-hearted son of a bitch.
At the moment his reputation is being tested. As Sergeant Alishia Webb glowers at him from across the table of the sole booth in Elliot’s Diner, he fights back the urge to flinch away from her gaze.