Sunday Serialisation – Back Paige. Chapter eleven, part one.

Arriving in her office, Andrea found a priority message from Packway awaiting her. In it, Meredith explained that she was concerned that Patsy could possibly have played a significant role in Henri’s demise. Equally worrying was that as soon as her security officers had tried to apprehend Patsy to bring her in for questioning, she had used her EPHS ability to send them into a trance. At that stage, Miss Pratt was, to all intents and purposes, a fugitive, a potential killer and a most dangerous woman. A general alert was issued, calling on all RSR and civilian staff to be on the lookout for her and to report any sightings. She was not, the bulletin said, to be challenged or even approached.

Of course, Patsy saw the bulletin. She immediately made her way the Meredith’s office, dealing with anyone who tried to stand in her way with a brief, but no less effective for it, flurry of fingers. A total of twenty-four temporarily inert bodies littered the path she took from her quarters to the admiral’s command office. All would recover fully within fifty minutes and be blissfully unaware even of the passage of time during their absence.

Nigel Swann showed her into Meredith’s office. Perhaps showed her in gives him a bigger part than he actually had in her entry to the inner sanctum. He didn’t move as she stormed through the anteroom that was his domain. Once she was in with Meredith, Nigel briefly left his office to don dry underpants and trousers.

“Hello, Patsy,” Meredith said sweetly, “how kind of you to drop in.”

“Do you believe this nonsense?” Patsy asked.

“What nonsense would that be?”

“That I somehow killed DuBois whilst I was back here, two and a half thousand light years away from him.”

“Do I believe you had motive? Yes, I do. You made no secret of your feelings towards him…”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean I…”

“Don’t interrupt me, Commander,” Meredith bellowed. “So, motive… check. Do I believe you have the means? I do. Your prowess with Enhanced Post-Hypnotic Suggestion is practically common knowledge. We all know how voodoo works; the human mind is weak and can be pre-programmed to do all sorts of things. Witch doctors and shamans have for centuries protected property simply by making it known that anyone who violates it would die within a certain number of days. Those who believe it and transgress will die in that time period. Yes, I believe you do have the ability to kill from this great distance. So that’s motive and means. Only opportunity is left. You spent time alone with Henri. That is established fact. You argued with him. Also established fact. And we all know how quickly you can plant suggestions. Taken together, that sounds like opportunity and makes you a prime suspect. If no other cause of death is established, it could be difficult to defend your position. And, before you say or try anything, using EPHS to disable security personnel does nothing to help your case, so put those hands down. I’m going to confine you to quarters until this matter is brought to a conclusion, one way or the other. Anything to say?”

“Just one thing, Ma’am. I didn’t do it. I didn’t use EPHS to kill DuBois. Yes, I did consider it briefly, I’ll admit to that, but I decided he wasn’t worth the effort. Look. If I were to do anything to him with EPHS it would have been to suppress his arrogance and his bigotry. Believe me, Admiral, it is so much more satisfying to change someone’s outlook, their viewpoint, than it is to get rid of them. Look what we did with that Four No More group.”

“I see what you mean, Patsy. I still have to confine you to quarters, though. I’ll get Joan to recommend someone to defend you, should it come to that, but I’ll be looking for alternative causes first.”

Patsy allowed a pair of security officers to escort her to her quarters and secure her inside.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Serialisation – Back Paige. Chapter eleven, part one.

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