This is the initial provided information provide to those participating.
Space shimmered under the steady and relentless pressure that was being applied to it. Then like a balloon or cloth, it tore, at its weakest point. Small though the tear was, it released a lot of energy, as three ships began to un-fade and reappear in the living universe.
Their electronic minds began searching, stabbing, groping the space were they appeared. Looking for foe or even friend, should either, unexpectedly be here.
“General! Station Mysterion is at 281 degrees and 25, 750 kilometers from us. The Terran Confederation espionage station is at 294 degrees and 27, 750 kilometers.
“Good, open an all hailing channel for me.”
“When you’re ready General.”
“I am General Khars Zhan, of the People’s Republic Navy. The battleship Zukov, along with the destroyers Mars and Andromeda are here to conduct training and ant-piracy operations. If any residents of others are in danger, feel free to call on us to assist you. With Imperator Bainbridge’s permission, we will use the station as a resupply ans way point. We are also dropping off a diplomatic mission with a message for your Imperator.”
Mizak Ketch was looking at the two dead bodies, one male and female, arranged in a ‘spooning’ position but with a spike bar having been driven through both their hearts.
“This is how they were found?”“Yes, consular. That brings the number to six.”
“All were couples?”
“No, but they were arranged as such.”
So, Zubrok and Tyrok? If so, why together? It could be an action of guilt, to appease their spirits? then it could just be a deranged psychopath exploiting a myth.
“Uxbex, you were correct about the Khrellian slave ring.”
“Uxbex glad information provide was as correct as he knew it would be, yet is thanks reason or not reason for visit to store?”
“Good friend, why would I need a reason to visit your store?”
“Visit to humble store not like breathing, but more like thinking. Reason created by thought, derived from thinking. So, what thinking lead to visit?”
“Uxbex, you over think sometimes…no, almost all of the time.”
“Overthinking impossible,too much time think is probable. Philosophy is now hobby of Imperator, like Virgil or Virgil like?”
“I’ve a delicate problem and I’d like your help. Some one, well a Tolend, was killed trying to break into the gold vault. I need to know if this was a lone individual or part of a group and if so which group?”
“Uxbex see how delicate problem is, but how Imperator know it not Uxbex?”
“Theft requires need, Uxbex have no need.”
Uxbex’s blue eyes just looked at the Imperator and nodded.
“Uxbex, investigate problem but will problem be so easily solved?”
“I hope so, old and good friend, I hope so.”
“Uxbex have question for Imperator.”
“You always have a question, it’s your nature. Go ahead and ask.”
“Is eccentricity in a leader a trait to concern leader or those who work with leader?”
“I’m not a leader, just an eccentric businessman with the money to support it.”
“You play at park, you work in office, or other way around is it? Decide soon you must or decision made for you it will.”Danny ran into the office so fats, he almost tripped over the throw rug.
“Diane, it’s GONE!”
“What’s gone, Danny?”
“The orb thingy we found in that blocked closet last year, during the northern reclamation exploration.”
“Danny, then just review the security tapes. If you weren’t so good in other areas…”
“I did, dear and sent you the file. Oh, thanks.”
Diane sat back down at her desk and clicked on the ‘new video message’ icon.
The alien orb, mauve-black with flecks of red was just sitting on the metal pedestal. She watched for six seconds when it began glowing, a mauve-black with red specs. It did this for forty-three seconds, then stopped. Then seconds later it began pulsing mauve-black-red-red-black-mauve over and over for fifteen seconds, then stopped. Thirteen seconds later it flashed, at least twice as bright as earlier, then began sinking into the metal pedestal and was gone.
Martha and Stefanos were on the laying on the couch, having just watched the broadcast by General Zhan.
“See dear, I told you last week this would happen.”
“Last week you told me that you didn’t think you were pregnant and that the GPR would do something big The former was a definite maybe and the later was a general statement, which may or may not apply to what we just saw.”
“Well, mister technicality,” as she changed position from her back lying against his chest to her laying on top of him “My sources don’r deal in specifics and there’s still time to work on the maybe if you don’t mind my generalities.” as she began kissing his neck and entwining her fingers with his.
There was a brief crash from the back room. Snatz’s rear eye looked into the room and he turned and went into the storage room. It was a mess.
“Carl, I told you to clean this place up and you obviously didn’t. I’m docking you three hours pay for that.”
“But boss I did clean it,” Carl said as he entered the room.
Rapheal Argus was walking the promenade, getting the feel for the station. He’d been on many stations and this was easily the largest. One of the memory chips in his brain, had been programmed with all the information from the three local races. The other chip translated the information immediately and flawlessly.
Who had hired him was irrelevant, the money they had paid was very relevant. Dress for Success was were he was supposed to go. He entered the place and was surprised. The clothing here, leather, was of the most unusual styles he’d ever seen and the workmanship was also very nice. A young man approached him.
“Let me guess, a 44R jacket, 64 centimeters length and the same for waist. I’d say 92 kilos dripping wet.”
“So, do ya want a medal for that or a chest to pin it on?”
“Oh I’m shaking in my boots.Vilantha, this one seems much more your style.”
Vilantha, the owner came over.
“Dougel, is the customer giving you a hard time?”
“He couldn’t but my sales technique isn’t for him.”
“That’s okay, I’ll see what he wants.”
“I’m the owner, what are you looking for?”
“Jacket with collar. Two are pockets, exterior and two lining pockets. Zipper and waist belt and some metal plates for the arms and front and back torso sewn into the jacket. I’ll provide the plates. Oh, I’ve been asked to pick up a package for my friend, Brutus.”
Vilantha’s eyes widened briefly, “Okay, step over here and I’ll get your measurements. Those plates will add to the time and a little to the cost, It’ll take about four days for me to have the jacket ready and $1,750 credits in gold or it’s equivalent. I do have your friends package ready.”
“That’ll be fine oh and tell Dougle he was right. See you in four days.”
The Terran Confederation Trade Station: Marco Polo was like an ant hill that had been kicked. The station commander, Bryce Cycera was in his office with the station Naval commander, Lt. Commander Amanda Masters.
“Oaky, Colonel, what do our sensors tell us of the GPer’s.”
“The ship’s are in deed what General Zhan says. Our records indicate that the Zukov was either mothballed or scrapped, yet sensor readings indicate that this just might be that ship, with a new coat of paint. the destroyers are standard for their navy.”
“So, he was telling the truth and this station isn’t in any danger.”
“Not all the truth. You never send a battleship on anti-piracy missions. convoy escort yes but cruisers handle anti-piracy missions, so at least that was a lie. Now, more bad news, this station can’t stand up to a battleship, even one that old. I’m sure its been updated with some more modern equipment.”
“So why is it here, then?”
“Right now I don’t know, commander but I will find out.”