Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“The only things I work with are killers and currency. You don’t look dangerous, and I don’t see you waving cash.”
The man brushes imaginary specks from his lapels with the hand not holding a dagger, then gives a little grin as he replies.
“Appearances can be- aack!”
The man coughs blood and stares at his empty hand in disbelief.
Ragnar holds up the bloody dagger.
“Tested easily.”
He wipes it on a lapel as the man folds slowly to the ground.
Evi tilts her head in fascination, pointed ears twitching while she watches the man bleed to death.
Ragnar chuckles.
“Humans don’t do anything while dying.”
She looks up.
“I live in hope, Inspector. My kind reveal their true forms in death. Your kind show the scale colours of their next incarnation. Surely the most numerous biped in the multiverse offers some truth in death?”
The man at their feet expires with a sigh. Ragnar shrugs.
“Nothing beyond private realisations.”
Two security guards rush around the furthest corner and charge towards them. Ragnar nods towards them.
“No killing.”
Evi charges towards them, bouncing from floor to ceiling, running with equal ease. The two figures slow at the sight. She leaps down, twisting in the air to pass between them. Slashing the arm of the one attempting to draw a weapon, she touches down with the offhand and hooks her legs in hard, sending the other guard stumbling backwards. Folding into a short roll, she comes out of it next to the stumbling guard and chops him unconscious.
Ragnar applauds. She rises and gives him a little bow.
The doors at the other end of the hallway explode inwards and a group of armed police charge in.
“Nobody move!”
Evi grins at Ragnar. He gives a little shake of his head.
The police slow as they see Ragnar’s horns and Evi’s ears. The officer of the team pushes his way to the front.
Looking down at the puddle of blood about the man, he shakes his head.
“Well, this is unusual – for a Monday.”
Ragnar indicates the guard clutching a sleeve gone glossy with blood.
“That one needs attention.”
Evi steps out the way as the team medic rushes past. The officer nods.
“Thanks. So, you are?”
Evi points to Ragnar.
“Inspector Ragnar Ocke, Orion-Cygnus Rangers.”
He points to Evi.
“Sergeant Evi Lai. Same.”
The officer points to the body on the floor.
“And this?”
“Evlon Rostalic. Premier assassin for Orthus Roper, leader of the Shokarn.”
The officer nods.
“I know them. Run all sorts of non-organic contraband. Unreasonable beings.”
Evi nods.
“That’s them.”
“I also heard their higher echelons are impossible to find.”
Ragnar nods.
“Usually, but I exploited a weakness.”
“Do tell.”
“Evlon was a knife collector. His position allowed him to indulge his passion, acquiring the rarest of the rare. His one unfulfilled obsession was to obtain a Lenkormian Forever Blade. So I let mine go onto a specific market. It’s taken two of your years, but I knew he couldn’t pass it up. The Lenk no longer trade them: they cause too many crimes.”
“I heard they’re special.”
Ragnar hands the dull grey dagger to the officer.
“An owner always knows where their blade is. It’s a sort of remote viewing. More importantly, an owner will always have their blade when they attack.”
He takes a step back, then lunges. The dagger disappears from the officer’s hand and appears in Ragnar’s. The officer retreats, eyes wide.
Ragnar straightens up.
“In some civilisations, buying second-hand blades is considered bad luck. A stolen Forever Blade ensures it.”