The Delivery Boy - Part 2
"So... seven dead Serpentis and no sign of the girl?"
"No Captain." Lieutenant Carvaire stood rigid in front of his boss' desk.
"However your sources said she was there."
Carvaire just nodded.
The Captain sighed and pulled out a bottle of Matari whiskey from his top draw with two glasses and indicated for Carvaire to sit as he poured.
"Are we sure she saw it? I mean it was a remote location, that was the point! How could she have possibly witnessed it?"
"I don't know Capt. She described you and the Scarlet Woman, and she's never seen you two. She must have been there. Frack! I don't know how. Was she following her father? Did she have a drone in the air. Was he wearing a wire? If he was why aren't the Feds kicking our door down?"
The Captain leaned back in his old leather chair. The gryo's squeaking as he did. That girl could mess up a rather beneficial arrangement. Not only that, most of the sector would be looking at 20 to life. The federal justice system didn't look favourably on corrupt police officers.
"You need to make this go away and soon. Get onto your source, find where they are holding her and make this problem vanish like a 'roid miner when CODE turns up!"
The lieutenant downed his drink, nodded and stood.
"I'll have a location by the end of the day."
The hoverbike landed heavily with a clunk. Ylle swung her leg over and looked up at the dilapidated building. They had been riding for an hour and the mega-city was now just a tall shadow in the distance. The 300 story buildings black against the green of the Gallente nebula. It was noisy overhead with orbital dropships coming and going from the adjacent industrial spaceport. Unlike the main city spaceport, this served the manufacturing and supply industries. The gaudy neon signs made it clear what sort of establishment it was.
"You expect me to go in THERE?" she asked Jullynes with a raised eyebrow.
"Up to you, but I have to. You can stay here by the bike if you'd prefer."
Ylle looked around. There was movement in the shadows. It wasn't a difficult decision.
"Actually I'd love to accompany you into what looks to be the cheapest stripclub in the city!" she said, her voice practically dripping with sarcasm.
"First I need to know. How much trouble am I in? We are in?" he corrected.
Ylle sighed and leaned against the bike.
"Everyone knows the Serps have the police in their pocket in this city but nobody talks about it. My dad bought be a brand new car for my 18th. Not just a car, a Galtech VX-45 sports coupe. What should have been a lovely present got me worried. Was my dad one of them? How could he afford that car on his wage? It was eating me up inside. In the end I bought a micro camera and hid it in a tie-pin. I gave it to my dad as a present. A week later I was reviewing that days video. I was almost convinced he was straight. There had been nothing each day that suggested he was on the Serps payroll. Then his partner said they were going to meet a 'special contact' in the old industrial area. Was this it I had thought? I watched expecting them to be taking a bribe. The evidence I was waiting for. No, they met a man my dad was surprised to see and he called 'Captain'. He obviously knew him and there was also a woman. She was dressed all in red like some strange hooker. She appear to be the one in charge. There was an argument. They wanted my dad on the payroll. He had obviously refused before but they were trying again. He turned down a huge amount of cred. After the bribe failed, the threats started. When they said I would be of use in one of their establishments he told them to frack off and turned and walked away. There was a shot and he twisted around. His so-called partner had just shot him in the back. So how much trouble are you in? Now you know as much as I do the Police will want you dead, and the Serpentis will want you alive but as leverage against this Captain who was an accomplice to murder. No need to pay off the police when you have their Captain over a capital charge."
"Right.... so basically we're fracked!" Jullynes stated and waved for her to follow.
The bouncer at the door waved to Jullynes as they entered. Ylle looked confused. Surely a boy who delivered Caldari take-away couldn't be a regular here. Inside it was exactly how Ylle imagined it. Gaudy decorations in black and bright pink. A scantily clad woman swung around the brass pole in the centre stage as the Gallente techo music blared through hidden speakers. Her tiny costume slowly being discarded piece by piece in time to the music. Several patrons sat around either chatting to other dancers or being led by their hand to one of the curtained booths. None of the dancers were what Ylle would consider hot. It was a cheap bar with cheap women.
"So we are being hunted by both the corrupt city police force and the Serpentis and you thought it would be a good time to get some T&A?" she said as they perched on the bar stools.
"How much money you got on you?" Jullynes asked casually.
"I was being held prisoner by the Serps! I have the clothes I'm wearing!"
"Right. Well I have close to two hundred creds which technically I'm stealing as they're tonights take from the deliveries. Mr Tasiwa is going to be pissed. However I thought we might need a bit more, you know being on the run from the cops and the largest crime organisation in the region. Some cash might be useful as we are now 'on the run' aren't we."
"What? You're expecting me.....?" she asked in shock.
Jullynes looked at her confused. Suddenly he realised what she thought and burst into laughter.
"No! My mom works here. I drop her off each night and leave my bag here, just in case I'm jacked whilst delivering. I need my rig and we'll also need some cash if we are laying low for a while."
"Oh, she the owner?" Ylle asked carefully.
"No. That's her, on stage."
Ylle looked over at the woman dancing around the pole. She didn't really look old enough to be Jullynes's mother. Probably mid-30's but glancing around she saw none of the girls were that young. It was a cheap joint.
"You got any other family? What about your mother?" Jullynes asked Ylle .
"I'm sorry." Jullynes said feeling bad for asking the question.
"I was one year old at the time. I never knew her." her voice trailed off and they sat in silence until the song finished.
Ylle watched Jullynes's mother pick up her discarded clothing and make herself presentable. She walked over and kissed Jullynes on the cheek.
"Hi sweetie, you're early! And who is this?" she asked in that way mothers do.
"A friend." Jullynes said with emphasis on the word 'friend'. "Look mom, I cannot say why but I'm in serious trouble. I need to vanish and vanish now. I need my bag and, well....."
His mother reached behind the bar and pulled two bags over the top. One red ladies handbag and the other a cloth satchel which she passed straight to Jullynes. She opened her bag.
"How much trouble, give me a clue?" she asked pausing.
"My friend here is a witness to something. The cops want her dead, the Serps want her alive. As I know the what she knows, that pretty much applies to me too."
"Shit!" she muttered and continued rummaging in the bag.
"Here!" she said handing him a roll of notes. "Just remember that's the next semester's fees. Now go, if you're in that much trouble it won't be long before they are here looking for you."
Ylle watched the two embrace and two minutes later they were back on the bike heading north.
Lieutenant Carvaire was sat at his desk going through his reports. He'd been out to question his sources and it had gone quiet about the girl. Nobody knew anything. There were rumours she was dead. Rumours the Police had her. Rumours she'd been shipped off-planet. It was conflicting rumor after conflicting rumour.
The next report on his list was the DNA analysis of the body parts. After the grenade had gone off inside the enclosed room identification was a lot more difficult. Seven victims, all know Serpentis members with rap sheets as long as an Erebus. This only confirmed what he knew, she wasn't one of those killed there. The next two reports had nothing. The third caught his eye. The take-away food they had ordered had come from a local Caldari restaurant. The delivery boy had been reported missing by the restaurant. His last delivery on that run had been to the apartment. The owner of the restaurant said he had vanished with nearly 200 creds. If the boy had been there at the time, he might have been spooked. However surely he'd have surfaced by now. It had been hours. He opened the video from the apartment block's foyer security camera. It was poor quality and after the fire alarm it was very busy with the evacuating people. He paused the video. The person on the screen had their head down but his t-shirt clearly had the logo from Tasiwa Takeaway . Next to him another person who wore a cap with the same logo. Their head was also down so he couldn't see a face. He went back to the report. Did the restaurant send two people on its deliveries? He check the report, no the kid was on his own.
He pressed the comms button on his console.
"This is Lieutenant Carvaire . I'm sending you an ID. I want all units on the lookout for this kid. He's a witness in the Vientes case and we need him alive. Top priority."
Carvaire knew it was a longshot but right now that's all he had.
The C&C centre dispatched the notice to all units within a minute. What they didn't know was two third parties were listening. The Serpentis had a small router installed in the police's network. Placed by one of the police's own IT staff in exchange for a bag stuffed with 25,000 creds. The other one didn't need such a device. It had linked with one of the police's satellites in orbit, hacked the security routines and placed instructions that any communication containing certain keywords be forwarded to a local fluid-router and transmitted via the stargate network to a destination many light-years away. The name Vientes was the top of that list of keywords.
Ylle looked out of the window, the snow was falling but not quite settling. The big city was warmed artificially by a large solar mirror in orbit. They were now far enough away for the true Caldari-Prime weather to start creeping in. She looked back to Jullynes who was on the bed on his datapad.
"Won't they be able to track you on that?" she asked worriedly.
"This rig?" he smiled holding up the device "No, its hacked. I reprogrammed it myself. Officially belongs to some old granny in a carehome. Same with the bike transponder. When I'm doing my rounds I have it working properly in case Mr Tasiwa looks where I am, other times I spoof the signal. See!"
Ylle sat next to him on the bed as he called up a large map of the area. A red dot flashed in the south of the city.
"Where is that?"
"The Ragnarok in the Matari Quarter of the city. It's actually Brutor biker's bar in a bad neighbourhood. If anyone is looking for me, they'll have a hard time with all the bikes there. If they are the cops, they'll have a doubly hard time!" he laughed.
"You are good with computers!" she said surprised.
"What? You think I deliver take-away and thats all I can do? I'm studying advanced AI at Caille."
Ylle looked at him wide-eyed in surprise.
"My mom covers the fees. My contribution is minor to the household income. However, my mom does what she does so I can have a better life, its the least I can do."
"What about your dad?"
"Never knew him. My mom was just a kid. I was an accident although she would never say that. She was still at school when she fell pregnant with me. It was difficult for her."
"Oh." Ylle didn't know what to say.
"Get some sleep. We need to get a better vehicle tomorrow. Its going to get too cold for the bike."
"Where are we going?"
"We need to get off-world. No way we'll reach any of the other cities without being caught. However we cannot use any normal spaceport. I have a plan. Unfortunately its further north."
Jullynes's mother, Awel, sat in the room, her hands handcuffed to the metal chair in the interview room. The cops had been waiting to pick her up as she walked home. She wondered why they hadn't picked her up at the club. The door opened and a man entered. He was wearing a suit not a uniform. Probably a detective. He placed a syringe and a pair of garden tree pruners on the table and sat opposite her.
"You're not my lawyer so we have a problem." she sneered. "Like I told the last guy who asked me a lot of pointless questions."
"Correct on both accounts. I am not your lawyer and we do have a problem. I need to get hold of your son. We've tried appealing to you to do the right thing, I'm here to make you tell us." he stated calmly tapping the shears with his finger.
"Oh so you're the bad cop then? I've had the good one already? I couldn't tell."
"No I'm the worst cop. Unfortunately for you this isn't an official station, and as far as the records are you haven't been even seen since your son vanished. Now I'm going to ask you how we can find your son seventeen times. Then I'll stop."
Awel was certainly more nervous now.
"Seventeen? That's an odd number!" she laughed trying to sound confident.
"It used to be twenty seven but my back is bad these days and I prefer not to bend down. 17 appears to be enough. If I've not got my answer after 17 it either means the person doesn't know or won't tell me no matter how much agony I inflict on them." he stated rising from the chair and picking the two items up.
Awel started to breathe heavily in fear as he approached her. She let out a small shriek as he injected the syringe into her arm.
"That's synth exile. A booster that stops you passing out from pain. I will ask you seventeen times because you have ten fingers." he said tracing the point of the shears over her hands. She sobbed as he traced the tool higher. "Then we have two areola, one nose, two ears..." he sneered as he ran the shears over each as he spoke. "And last but not least, two eyes." as he rested the closed blades on her cheek.
Awel was crying hard now.
"So?" he said forcefully grabbing and uncurling one of her clenched fingers and pushing the now open blades of the shears either side as she howled in fear. "For the first time of seventeen - Where or how can I find Jullynes?"
To be continued....