08/06/2020 Snippet, OMBUDSMAN.



“As you know from the corporate handbook, there’s always going to be a fine for embezzling,” said Morty. Bad Jack nodded, without commenting on how much of it he had actually read. “The embezzler’s full net worth for the past three years.” Bad Jack’s smile didn’t even flicker, but that bit wasn’t in the small part of the handbook that he had read.

Morty sighed. “I held a hearing on the case — sometimes there really are mitigating circumstances — but the embezzler didn’t have any reason to steal except ‘Because I wanted the money.’ Which was unacceptable, so he was facing the full fine. If only he had kept it at that!”

“Really? What’s worse than stealing from the Consortium?” asked Bad Jack, just like he really cared. I wonder if this is supposed to be a warning. Ha! I didn’t do anything… yet. Good thing I decided to live on my salary for a while until I figured out the best way to skim. Well, except for the coffee thing. But that I checked, and administration fees were allowed. I’m in the clear there.

“Many things, starting with slavery or mass murder,” said Morty. “But in this case the fool tried to offer me a bribe. Twenty percent of the fine.” The Ombudsman took another sip of coffee, then put it back down. “So I threw him out the window.”

Bad Jack did bobble a little at that; it was the matter-of-fact tone that threw him off. “Oh,” he eventually managed. “Without a…” What’s the old-time word? “…trial?”

“I didn’t see the need for one,” said Morty, in that scary-casual way he had. “The man offered me the bribe, after all. So I knew he did it; and the Board has authorized me with the right to adjudicate on the spot when it comes to capital crimes like bribery. Why bother with a trial, when I could administer High Justice right there and then?

“Although, come to think of it? It wasn’t High Justice for very long.”