Nick Allen may be retired, but when a leggy dame like MonteCristo bursts into his office asking for help, he finds it hard to refuse. Accusations of Riot corruption seem exaggerated, but this was a tangled and intricate mystery. Allen needed information. He needed to find Riot’s sources.
For the first time since Sjokz filed that restraining order, Nick Allen had to find an esports lawyer. And that meant dealing with the secretive triad of Esports Law.
Allen found Bryce Blum, 33% of the esports legal scene, counting stacks of only the most ethical cash in the backroom of the Unikrn Casino. A tall, lanky Scot postured in the background, swirling a snifter of brandy.
“Where are Morrison and Baumann?” asked Allen.
“We made a contract stipulating that all three of us can’t be in the same room,” said Blum. “If something were to happen, there will literally be no such thing as esports law.”
Allen nodded. He knew the baying forces of corruption would be all too hungry to swarm the lawless lands of esports should all three experts perish. Kids on Reddit with a lawsuit were a dime a dozen, and they had as much restraint as a Sand Snake.
“You’re here to ask about the latest purge,” Blum said plainly, arching one perfect eyebrow. “I never thought you had the guts to question your old employer.”
“I need answers,” Nick Allen demanded. He pulled up the collar of his trench coat to hide his face from anyone passing by. If streamers on Twitch knew that the long arm of the law had once again been thrusted deep within the bowels of League, the front page of Twitch would surely become a nonstop parade of fake SWAT calls and genitalia swinging from side to side.
“Don’t we all?” Blum laughed mercilessly. “But we don’t have answers. Riot gave up on transparency a long time ago. You should know; you started it.”
Allen froze. He had never considered that he was the source of Riot’s corruption, the rot that ate away at the heart of esports. Sure, he used to bend the rules, fudge the evidence, slam some pro player heads against the walls of the interrogation room. But nothing too overreaching. Nothing of this scale.
“I thought I should come here to learn more,” Allen muttered. But even as the words left his mouth, he knew that he should have gone somewhere else. The only way to solve this mystery was to go straight to the beast itself.
“Good luck, Mr. Allen,” winked Blum, as if he could hear exactly what Allen was thinking. “But remember, if you go against the judge, jury, and executioner, you better not have a vote of no confidence.”
“What does that mean?”
“No idea,” said the lawyer. “It’s a deleted line from the Star Wars prequels.”
The front steps of the Riot Station brought memories flooding back. Allen remembered standing shoulder to shoulder with Lyte as they loaded the rat-faced finks of CLG into the paddy wagon. Times were simpler then.
He leaned in front of an unassuming wooden door; a placard indicated it belonged to the current Chief of Police. It used to belong to Allen. He could hear quiet shuffling and scraping in the room beyond.
“Lyte, we need to talk,” announced Allen, the door still closed.
“You know how I feel about voice chat,” responded Lyte.
“I need access to the confidential files for the RNG case. As a former employee, I no longer have entry.”
Lyte chuckled. “I guess we’re in the same boat.” He opened the door to reveal an office slowly being dismantled. “I quit two days ago. I have as much access as you.”
Allen frowned, and his voice wavered as Lyte packed the last few pages of his gold-embossed doctoral thesis: “I thought this was your dream, Lin. You can’t walk away from this.”
“It’s a hard life, having people write two thousand word manifestos questioning my academics, my personal life, the state of my butt… I can’t bring my boy into this world. I gotta move on.”
Allen heard footsteps behind him. He spun around and found himself in the shadow of a towering figure.
Riot Magus smirked down at the hard-boiled detective. “I guess your friend Jeffrey found that the most dynamic queue of all… was the unemployment queue.”
Allen snarled. He had never liked the man. To him, Magus was a henchman who cared about the image of the company more than doing what was right.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to leave now.” Magus motioned to a hulking bodyguard.
“No. I’ve come to investigate what your department has been doing. These are serious accusations levied against you. And I need to know your sources.” Allen’s hand moved towards the banhammer in his holster.
“Nick Allen, people have placed their trust in us by stepping forward and we need to protect them from possible retribution. We’re doing the right thing. And you need to leave.”
Allen took a step back and looked to Lyte. Lyte’s face was resigned, and the once feared warrior let out a hopeless, terrifying, shrug.
“Sorry Nick,” Lyte whispered. “Disagree and commit.”
Allen could only watch as his one-time partner scurried off into the distance.
He had no leads, no friends, and only stony silence to go on.
–End Part #2–
To Be Continued
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