Following Arati had been nothing but boring. If she was setting us up, then she was an expert at seeming like a lonely nobody while Agnosticism had followed her. He was more than happy to hear that I didn’t want him shadowing her anymore. He wasn’t as pleased about what I’d found out.
“Let me get this straight, Boss. Our theory right now is that Fade Triumph, a lowly charity case that the Urgists peeled out of Annwn Sanctuary, somehow uncovered a Temple plot to use illegal funds to sabotage the frontier. Instead of reporting it or ignoring it, he took the money. With the best of intentions of course. Then he was killed for it, and the Temple set us on the trail of a fake robbery in order to divert attention away from their schemes.”
“Well when you say it like that it sounds silly. You got one thing wrong though.”
“You said he did it with the best of intentions. I don’t make that assumption. Maybe he had a heart of gold. Maybe he was just a thief who found the score of the century. Either way the Temple’s motive stays the same. They can’t have us uncover a couple million drevens earmarked for bribes and sabotage.”
“They can always say it was for something else.” (more…)
I ended up in my favorite diner for low profile meetings. It was the kind of thing that made me ask myself just how much of me was me. This place was the kind of thing I’d expect, the kind of setting you’d see in some mortal novel that probably didn’t show up that much in a real detective’s life. There I was though, and I felt comfortable. Aggie sat across from me eating a cheeseburger. The most popular item on the menu was called the hinduburger. It gave him a perverse sort of thrill, eating a burger fashioned from the devotion of mortals who would never eat beef.
We waited just long enough to wonder what we were really waiting for. Then she showed up. I saw Aggie notice her over my shoulder. He shrugged at the fact that she wasn’t much to look at, then he went back to eating. If someone is fascinated with a burger, it’s hard to tell just how much of their mind is on the subject. He liked to use food to cover his interest. It was a good technique that really wasn’t necessary right then.
She sat down next to me, stubbed out her cigarette, and picked up a menu.
I had to talk to Aggie first. Back at the office I stared at the off white walls and the grey carpet. Aggie knew the look. “What’s the trouble today, Boss? It looks to me like we got it solved.”
“Does it? Does it really?”
“Oh damn it. Come on, Ax. What are we doing?”
“Do you really think that trollop they got in a cell killed Fade Triumph? Because I don’t. Hell, just lookin’ at her you can tell she couldn’t have done that.”
“Seemed pretty lethal to me.”
“In spirit maybe, but not in talent. You think she’s physically capable of murdering another god? Of making her way back to the city from the boundary all on her own?” (more…)
Right outside the station was God Olive. She was a pain in the ass reporter who was real good at finding stories and tracking you down. She wasn’t as good at relaying real facts to the public, but hey, as long as she sold papers, right?
“Detective Axiom! Detective Axiom! Can I get a statement?”
“The police will issue a formal statement later. All I can tell you is that I was part of the investigation.”
“But you found the suspect, didn’t you? Look, Ax, I’m not gonna burn you in the press. One headline ain’t worth it, and you know I know that. Give me something. Any detail, any quote, even if you don’t want it attributed.”
I was about to tell her to piss off, but I wasn’t in the mood. I just had this itch. “All right, Olive. Tell your readers that the official investigation is over.”
“Come on, Ax.”
“Listen, stupid. The OFFICIAL investigation is over. Now you keep things to yourself that might make for a better story later on. Got it?” (more…)
I left the vahana with Aggie so he could follow Bible if she decided she needed anything in the middle of the night. I hailed a taxi and headed over to find out if the plot would thicken. The offices of Doctor Ixlilton Runner were cold and unforgiving. They did not resemble the man who loved them. He was good at his job. He was a god that I thought could really be trusted. That is, if I trusted anybody. I trusted me and Aggie. Everyone else was a suspect to one degree or another.
“Ax. Good to see you.”
“You had a chance to check the I.D. on that body?”
“Well naturally. He was in very good shape for a fade, I can tell you.”
“Too good?” (more…)
There’s always drudge work to do before the interesting part of an investigation. The first step in any investigation of a person was to visit the registry. We wanted the basic information as accurate as we could get it. Every god was in the registry. There were so many Zeuses, Christs, and Buddhas that you ran into them constantly. Most of those big names just went by the identifier, the last name. There was more than a handful Bifrosts, and those poor suckers weren’t even gods as mortals understand them. They were only symbols, the connection between Asgard and Earth. There were quite a lot of Asgards too. Asgard Smith, Asgard Snow, Asgard Nails. Fades though? There were more fades than anything. No religion in existence had as many gods as the forgotten fades. Let me amend what I said a moment ago. Not all the gods are in the registry. The only Fades in the registry are the ones that luck into some new income, like Fade Triumph had. The others can’t be listed. Their records literally vanish from the registry and the city’s memory. None of us can recognize a god that has faded. The mortals have forgotten, so our city does as well. There are so many of us wasting away. The lucky ones last less than a century, a piece of an old story that is half remembered from a previous generation. The less fortunate ones last a lot longer than that, rambling around aimlessly, without any identity. (more…)
Aether : Fuel for the city’s machines, particularly vahanas.
Ark : A motor vehicle like a vahana, but able to seat many gods. Arks are usually public transportation, and in Pantheon City they resemble cable cars. So in town they are often referred to as cable arks.
Boundary : The edge of the gods’ small world has a literal boundary that can be seen. No one knows what is beyond it, and nothing that passes over it ever returns.
DemiUrge Temple : The largest religion of Pantheon City. Gods who are followers of the DemiUrge religion believe in a supreme being beyond their own reality who is responsible for the creation of both Pantheon City and the mortal world.
Devotion : The gods of Pantheon City receive devotion, or belief, from their mortal followers in various forms. That devotion can be fashioned into various products, most importantly nourishment that maintains a god’s identity. It can also be sold and traded, creating the economy of Pantheon City.
Divinity : In Pantheon City, the word has a completely different meaning. Divinity is their word for humanity. (more…)