And Christmas needs a spooky story so this is
Paying the Price
Dredd strode into the forensics lab and took up his usual position between the light and the Tek Judge who was waiting for him.
"Ah, Joseph, so glad you could join us. So rare to get a visit from a senior Judge."
"My time is limited, Quincy. No small talk, get to it."
"Of course. What can you tell me about the Testarossa murders?"
"Mid level crime family, thorn in our sides. Call from block security, seven bodies in their penthouse. Looks like they sat down for lunch and then decided to wipe each other out. No signs of any outside involvement."
"Sounds slightly unusual though. Whole family killing each other like that?"
"No honour among thieves, Quincy. Saved us the trouble."
Judge Quincy held up a Perspex box full of coins.
"And these were found at the scene?"
"Antique silver currency from the old world. Local pawnshop break-in the night before. Testarossas probably fought over them. No loose ends. Case closed."
"I did some digging. These coins have an interesting history. Pawnbroker got them from a widow, said she wouldn't have them in her con-apt after her husband killed himself. He bought them from a shady dealer known as Rattus."
"The Norwegian rat? Pulled him a few times. Some cube time, nothing major."
"Well the Rat met a Black Death of his own after selling them. Throat slashed. Went to Re-syk a few days ago."
"Violent death is an occupational hazard for perps like Rat."
"Indeed. And also for the last nine people to have owned the coins. All dead by suicide or violence shortly after acquiring them. This silver has left a trail of bodies in its wake."
"Alright, I'll bite. Tell me about the coins."
"This is were it gets interesting, Joseph. They're not just from the old world, they're really old. Over 2000 years to be precise. Ancient Rome, that's Caesar's head on them. I'm guessing they came up from one of the ruined museums in the underworld. Relic hunters venture down there and dodge the gangs long enough to bring back their fortunes. But something about these particular coins induces murder and suicide."
"So a bunch of low life's wipe each other out over some old treasure. They all have to count the cost eventually. Case closed."
"Wait, what did you say?"
"Case closed. I told you my time is limited."
"No, that's it, why didn't I see it sooner? Counting the cost. It's not what the coins are, it's how many of them there are."
"Grud-dammit, Q! Make your point."
"Grud damned is right, Dredd. There are thirty of these ancient Roman coins. Thirty pieces of silver. That ring any bells? Thirty pieces of silver that leave a trail of murder, betrayal and suicide in their wake."
"Hmmm. OK, I see what you're getting at. For the black museum then?"
"I think that would be wise, Joseph. I'll arrange for a suitable containment vessel first."
"Seal it. And then head straight to Psi division, same goes for anyone else who touched the coins. Take no chances, Quincy. Lock this one down tight."