The concept behind this came from a writing exercise, where a section of a book was to be rewritten, but trying to use more narrative prompts than dialogue prompts when it came to character interaction. To make it viable to post it on here, I went the extra mile and did it from McEnvoy's POV. Truth be told, Shan's POV might be a bit...disturbing. 0_0


Mars Orbital

April 25, 2299

"Good morning. We're from Environmental Hazard Enforcement. Please, step away from the console."

It was amazing, the effect those three sentences had on Mars Orbital's administration centre. Everyone stopped dead, as if they were afraid of becoming dead in a very literal manner. Or rather they stopped to appreciate the...gravity, of the situation, and not the artificial gravity that allowed people to keep both their feet on the floor.

"Inspector McEnvoy," Superintendent Shan Frankland said, gesturing to her subordinate. "Over to you."

Nodding to his team, Rob McEnvoy led the technical team into the administration centre, activating their override codes and bringing the space station under their control as a result. Frankland meanwhile walked over to the video circuit.

"May I have your attention please? This is Superintendent Shan Frankland. This station is now under the jurisdiction of the Enforcement Division of the Federal European Union. There will be no traffic movements or transmissions until the preliminary investigation is complete. Please report to your muster stations at 1600 station time for a briefing from my officers. Thank you for your cooperation. We'll be out of your way as soon as we can."

People said the pen was mightier than the sword. However, the spoken word still carried more weight than that of the written variety. Certainly Frankland seemed to believe that, leaning back in her newly acquired seat. And as he crouched down beside her as part of bringing the orbital's systems under EnHaz control, McEnvoy was inclined to believe it as well.

"All locked down, guv'nor. We should have it logged and wrapped in six hours, but there's no reason why we couldn't start carrying out preliminary interviews now."

Frankland cocked her head discretely, McEnvoy following her gaze to some nobody at a drinks dispenser. "I'd make a start on him. Just a feeling."

Sure...I guess...

Well, the inspector reflected, he wasn't going to start questioning mission orders before the mission actually began. If Frankland told him to jump, he asked how high...seriously. Was this station even at 1g?

"Anyway, I'd better go and pay my respects to the station manager. This has probably ruined her entire day."

My heart's breaking.

McEnvoy watched as Frankland consulted her swiss, no doubt to access the station schematics. How and why she put up with a out of date gadget was beyond him, and he couldn't help but point that out.

"You should treat yourself to some new technology," the inspector said, tapping the side of his skull in accordance to the location of his implants. "How old is that thing?"

"Hundreds of years old, and still as good as that thing in your skull. I'm an old fashioned girl. I like my computing in my pocket."

McEnvoy seriously doubted that, but as Frankland took off to the station manager's office, guided by her gizmo, any notion of continuing the debate became moot. Walking after her, he could feel the curve of the station. And as he walked into the office, he could feel Cathy Borodian's antagonism as well.

"I thought you people were on a fact-finding mission for the European Assembly."

Frankland walked up to her desk. "It wasn't a complete lie. We're still finding facts, aren't we?

McEnvoy watched as Borodian struggled with the loss of access. Bureaucrats for you. Even over 300 million kilometres from Earth, with Mars on the other side of the sun right now, things never changed.

"We'll be out of your way as soon as we possibly can," Frankland continued. Routine inspection for biological and environmental hazards you're not licensed to manage."

Borodian finally made eye contact with the superintendant. "I don't think Warrenders is going to be happy about this. They have a contract."

"Well, last time I looked, civilian government still just about ran Europe. Not corporations."

"Are you able to tell me exactly what the problem is?"

"So there's a problem?"

"No. Not at all."

After hearing about Frankland's actions in Operation Green Rage and learning about her...grey-area dealings with those willing to take more direct action against European corporatization, it seemed astounding that the two women were still talking.

"The Federal European Union doesn't ship out forty audit and technical officers unless there might be irregularities," Frankland continued. "Does that answer your question?"

"Not completely. What about our teams on the surface? Can they come back inboard?"

"If they need to, they'll flash us and one of my people will escort them."

It was clear to McEnvoy that Boridian had more questions she'd like to ask, but that was a moot point. Frankland had the same effect over her that she did over him.

It was the same effect that allowed her to go to her cabin whilst he began his job.