“Well, Lieutenant,” he said, handing the dispatch to her. “Looks like your bailiwick.”
“A … police matter, sir?” Jeremiah said, her voice unexpectedly rising; most unbecoming in a soldier, but she hadn’t expected to be sent on a formal mission on her very first day. Navid clearly had talked her up too much! “With respect, sir, I’ve not even completed orientation—”
“You’re wearing the tailcoat,” Lord Bharat said firmly. “Aquit it well. Dismissed.”
Jeremiah clicked her heels, whirled and marched off, her head positively spinning. What were the protocols? Who were the players? She was going in blind! She tried to pump the dispatcher for details, but he sternly sent her on her way: the plea was urgent.
And so, within the hour, Jeremiah found herself halfway across Boston standing beside a detective policeman opening the bloodied front door of an artisan’s shop. Even as the hardbitten woman’s shaking hand cranked the passkey, Jeremiah steeled herself.
“Not sure whether this is an Incursion,” the detective muttered, “but it sure as hell looks like Expeditionary business.” The lockpick engaged, and the spattered door swung open with an ominous creak … revealing a dark red arc on the floorboards. “We left it just as it was.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to,” Jeremiah whispered. Within the brassworker’s shop, the artisan sat sprawled in his work chair, head lolled back, staring at the ceiling, eyes wide open in terror, dried blood running from his ears. Up and down his whole body—indeed, over much of the shop—were carved rough pentagrams.
“Bloody hell,” Jeremiah said.
“My thoughts exactly,” the detective said, walking inside.
Wow! Hell of a first day on the job. Me, I just had to sit through an orientation seminar and locate the microkitchen. I guess Victoriana really is a different world! Good luck, Jeremiah, and may Victoriana prevail!