HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 115

Carter Beckett was one of the city councillors at the centre of the corruption scandal. A week ago, he was considered the frontrunner for the city’s upcoming mayoral race. But then her story implicated him in a variety of criminal activities ranging from cronyism to kickbacks to outright bribery, and now his political prospects were looking less and less promising.

“So we’re even now, yeah?” Virginia said. “You won’t say anything to Paulson?”

Beyond the counter, a door opened and a young man came out, heading for the elevator.

“Excuse me, Miss,” Jeanette said. “Mr. Paulson can see you now.”

But Frederica was already heading for the elevator.


Carter Beckett lived in a fancy penthouse apartment downtown, high above the rest of the city. A trust fund kid, Carter channeled his family’s money into a failed business followed by a successful political career. And then he used his government connections to enrich himself. It clearly paid off for him, judging by the apartment Frederica over which was now hovering.

Carter had thus far refused to step down from City Council, maintaining his innocence in the face of the charges. He must have thought he could use Virginia to pressure Frederica or her sources to retract the story, for what little good it might have done. Or maybe he just wanted to take someone else down with him.

Frederica touched down on the penthouse balcony and peered through the sliding door. She could see boxes piled up on the living room floor but no sign of any people. She phased through the door. It was a nice apartment, spacious and well lit. Her shoes tapped on the hardwood floor.

Down the hall, a shower hissed.

Frederica started poking around in the boxes, searching for anything incriminating. Mostly she just found clothes and appliances and books. He was clearly getting ready to move but it didn’t look like he was in any particularly hurry. If she had to guess, he was probably running out of money and needed to sell the place.