Borrow from Peter to Pay Paul

a story
2023-01-30 15:06:19,
2023-01-30 15:06:22
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Follow the Smoke

"Chief Sandoval?"

"I guess," said Sandoval, looking up from his desk, "I haven't settled on 'Chief' yet. But I prefer to be differentiated from-"

"Sir," interrupted the Bobbie again, "It's Sorditudo, sir."

Sandoval furrowed his brow and grunted, "What about it, Officer?"

"There's been a riot, sir," said the officer, "And a strike. Coalson is requesting relief."

"I knew it," mumbled Manfred under his breath, "How far down the line has it gone?"

"We won't know for certain," said the Bobbie.

"Manfred, what is the meaning of this?"

"We have to go, sir," said Manfred, "I can explain on the way, if you'd like. Or you can just send me, and I'll do what I can."

"Do you think it's serious?" said Sandoval, "Can Coalson not-"

"Sir, I don't think you've witnessed a miner riot, sir," said Manfred.

"It's no minor right, sir," smiled the Bobbie.

"Out," came the order from Sandoval and Manfred in unison.

"Alright, than let's go," said Sandoval, "We have a lull. You can explain why its so important on the way."

In only a matter of an hour or so they were away on board the Inquisition. The train was pulling out of Astam and at full speed towards Sorditudo.

"You see, sir," said Manfred, "I was afraid of this. Many people, including many of the men on tour, just believe Sorditudo to be a sleepy little mining town and the police department just holds up there next to a telegraph machine and sends Bobbies out into the desert on their own. However, we overlook some of the most dangerous stretches of land in Antiford."


"The Prodigious Canyon," said Manfred, "Specifically, the mining towns along the edge. You see the Sheriff and I used to patrols all east and west of the line ourselves. Keeping law and order by our mere presence around the mining sites, the boom towns, and the border entrances and exits."

"I fail to see the seriousness of this in the grand scheme, Manfred," sighed Sandoval, "Law and order is important but the Department Chief of the Sorditudo Police Department must look after all of the center of Antiford. Hundreds of towns of various sizes. Countless miles of rails."

"Sir, but also the countless bodies who make up some of the biggest trades in Antiford," said Manfred, "The hardest, most dangerous-"

"Get to the point, Manfred," said Sandoval, "You'll not convince me without a solid backbone to this argument."

"Sir... if and when something goes wrong," said Manfred, "If those very workers strike, or riot, than this is the only place in Antiford where those rioters will be highly trained in the devastating tools of their trade including massive machines, high powered equipment, and explosives."

"I see the threat coming into focus," said Sandoval.

"Combine with that the fear that most of these volatile workplaces are on the border with the Prush," said Manfred, "The Military fears foreign agents, Prush and others, as well as pirates could use the bad conditions to stage riots to weaken our hold on the region. Or worse, sir; Revolutionaries."

"Communists," spat Sandoval, "Revolutionaries, Monarchists, filth. Of course. I always imagined such a threat marching east from the desert out west."

"Out... west sir?"

"But it's equally likely it could brew, here, with the common folk."

"It's not just that, sir," said Manfred, "There's another side of the coin. A side where there's profit in the dirt, and plenty of unskilled labor to exploit. Mine safety and good labor practices are also important to enforce, to keep the likely chance of a riot at an all-time low. Our mere presence to keep the peace, break up fights, catch criminals, and just observe is a powerful tool in these areas."

"If it's so powerful, than why are we rushing to deal with one riot in Sorditudo?"

"Because you took over, sir," said Manfred, "And ever since you've syphoned all the resources to Astam Junction and have been all over the Istoki. We only left a handful of Bobbies back in Sorditudo to deal with the mining towns, sir."

Sandoval hung his head in his hands, "You are saying this is my fault, Manfred?"

"Well, not directly," said Manfred, "But I assure you your actions on the matter did not help."

"Well, let me think it over," said Sandoval, "In the meantime... let us go and remind those dirt-slingers what the law of Antiford means."