Bailey Branigan reporting from Cap City, Merculian

Two weeks ago I arrived in Cap City on Merculian.  As is my custom in a new place, I intend to interview a few leading citizens of this colorful sprawling city as a way to introduce this place to you, the readers of Travel Beyond.  Before we start, there ae a few things you should know about these people: They are somewhat smaller then we are but otherwise not that different in appearance. They are touch empaths, however, so getting to know one involves closer physical contact than we as Terrans are used to. They use the pronoun ‘he’ but are dual-gendered. This can be confusing at times but one soon gets used to such phrases as ‘he is pregnant because I didn’t want take time out to bear the child myself,’ a phrase I heard while waiting at the SpacePort to enter the city. They all have three names, the last one being the name of their ‘mertsi’ the one who gave birth to them. And last but not least, they are impulsive and very enthusiastic about the arts.

            I have lined up five people to interview, all from different walks of life. First up is Marlo Dasha Bogardini, an investigator with the Cap City Regulators. We are meeting outside behind the Regulator headquarters in a sort of small park, surrounded by flowers. After a few moments talk before starting, I have the feeling in spite of his endearing persona, he probably knows more about me already just from careful observation than I know about him with all my research.

TB:       Hello, Chai Dasha Bogardini. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

MDB – Hello. Please call me Marlo. I hope you don’t mind but I brought a few snacks with me.

TB–      Not at all. I’m interested to know what a cop does here in this place where, from what I read, there is very little crime.

MDB    Well, don’t believe everything they tell you in the Off World Tourist Bureau bulletins.

He laughs merrily and hands me a pink biscuit. Seriously, we do have crime here, but tourists are generally safe as long as they stay out of the River District and watch out for pickpockets.

TB        Thanks for the warning. Tell me about your police force. 

MDB    I’m an Investigator with the Major Incident Unit, which handles just about anything from suspicious death to fallout from an explosion. Apart from that, we have a Tech Unit, a Major Fraud Unit involving currency manipulation and such, Special Ops for serious head bashing  and our busiest, the DDD, Drugs Drunk and Disorderly Unit who keep tabs on illegal drugs and check around late at night to make sure no one is left somewhere under the weather from too much partying.

TB.       That sounds like a great service! Have you used it yourself?

MDB    Not lately but on occasion, yes. 

TB        Tell me about this ‘serious head bashing’ you mention?

MDB    For instance, a few months ago there was an attempted heist at the Gem Stone Exposition. That is the sort of thing they are trained to handle.

TB        I see. What about murders? Do they handle those too?

MDB    No. Luckily we don’t have a great many and those I handle, with my team, of course.

TD        And now a personal question, if you don’t mind?

MDB    Go ahead. Of course I may not answer. He laughs merrily.

TB        Are you married?

MDB    Oh no!

TD        You look a bit taken aback. Do you not have marriage on Merculian?

MDB    Of course, but it’s not easy to get married here. You have to reach a certain age, and before you ask, no I’m not quite there yet. Then, before you even apply for the permit, you have to have been with your lover for a  very long time. Once you are married, there is no separation allowed. So that’s why  I was a little taken aback, as you say.

TB.       Serious business, then. Thanks for giving me some of your time, Marlo.

MDB    You’re welcome.

About Caro Soles

Writer in several genres, lover of dachshunds and opera, with some ballet thrown in for good measure. I founded the Bloody Words Mystery Conference, which ran for 14 years as well as the Bony Blithe Award for Canadian Light Mysteries, but that, too, has come to an end. My latest novel is The River District, a look at the seamy side of Merculian.
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