“Can you believe this?” Detective
Quintin Raltus asked as he leaned down at one of the bodies that was
going to be brought in. The cold air nipped at his face as he stood
up, sighing. The older officer took a look at his partner after
hearing nothing short but silence, his grey hair pickling at the lack
of reaction on the “boy's” face.
Dunley wasn't from Bakura, but from
Imperial Center, and thank all that is Bakuran that he didn't act or
look like it. He remembered the word 'Navy' tossed around a few times
but he hadn't elaborated since the recent influx of troopers that
wore the red bandanas arrived with Dunley. He was the Imperial
liasion between his office in the recently re-established Bakuran PD,
and while Raltus could ask for better men, what he got wasn't that
bad. Just wished he didn't look so much younger than he did; standing
next to the Imperial made him feel old.
But it was his bloody lack of reaction
that got to the older man as he rose an eyebrow.
“Should have been on Imperial Center
when they let the rapists loose ten years ago.” He said, instantly
destroying any sort of good mood that Raltus could have mustered in
the chaos outside of the Hydrocon building. Sirens did not scream but
they soundlessly blinked as they surrounded the building, the night
sky illuminating the oscilliating colors that flashed out against the
blackness of the sky. Some of the investors that weren't injured were
already being escorted to their vehicles, but Raltus had seen no less
than five bodybags wheeled past him.
Raltus looked up at the newest arrival,
a police lieutenant with the nametag of 'HAVRIN', but Raltus didn't
recognize him at all.
“Resistance.” Dunley replied,
motioning with his hand to the building as another bodybag was carted
near them to the ambulance. “Only group that could afford a drone
The lieutenant swore. “Great. Now my
paperwork just got higher.” He walked past the two of them after
speaking, leaving them alone as Dunley continued to stare at the dead
body that they were examining. It was one investor from the party,
the name on the dataslate that Dunley had and that Raltus didn't care
to read; he'd have to write up a report anyways since he was the
first responder, so he'd have it remembered by then. But the way the
lieutenant spoke about what happened, that this latest tragedy was
just paperwork, made Raltus hiss slightly as he looked at the man's
“Bastard doesn't really care that a
lot of people died tonight.”
“It's because they were rich. If the
Resistance killed sympathetic school teachers, you would have a mob
behind you screaming for blood.” The Imperial replied coolly as he
let one of the hands he was examining slowly drop against the
stretcher. “All of the wounds we've seen were caused by close
combat drone attacks.”
“[i]All[/i] of them? There's not even
a single blaster scar?”
“No. Tearing or rended wounds, no
sealed scar marks.” The Imperial replied, removing the sterile
gloves he wore before throwing them into the nearby trash can on the
sidewalk. They've placed their temporary crisis command center near
the street; Hydrocon was in lockdown and Raltus didn't exactly blame
Made his job a little harder though,
and he could complain about that as he saw fit.
“Great. There's tons of worker drones
like that. They could have a lot more.”
“Maybe. I'll put feelers out tonight
and see which areas in the city have a shortage. Then we'll simply do
inventory past that.” Dunley said, to which Raltus hid his concern;
that was like trying to find a needle in a ship's cargo compartment.
Salis'Daar was not the place to find that.
“Can you do me a favor and get an
official statement from Director von Aath?”
“Why? I heard he's not even in
“No, no; Moff von Aath's daughter is
the chief executive officer of Hydrocon's Bakura branch here.”
Raltus “ahh'd” and then followed
that with a nod. “Yeah, sure. Make sure the press stay out of the
“Mmhmm.” Dunley's remark was quiet
as he pulled the bag over the body again, shaking his head.
“Damn terrorists.” He whispered.
[i]Dear Mister Rey;
I apologize for the lack of security
last night. I feel if our security team was more stringent and worked
harder, there would had been much less death, and hopefully you would
have not suffered the injury you had. It pains me to say this but a
lot of Bakuran feel strongly against any and all Imperial
institutions, and I just happen to be the one giving jobs away.
If you need anything from myself, let
me know. But I was hoping that you would be available for lunch
tomorrow. Seeing as how you left your vehicle here, maybe I could
convince you to come by here and pick it up after a small meal?
Maybe we can get somewhere. Some
investors were scared off, some strengthened, and some not sure at
all about anything. I'd love your help.
Please confirm at your earliest
Elina von Aath[/i]
With that done, Elina closed the
electronic pad after sending its contents along the interspace
highway. She was so tired from the night that she couldn't even try
and make her own cup of recaf; that fell on Maarco's shoulders today,
and she noticed just how willing he was to tend to her little needs
after a night like this. It was one of those small moments deep
within the panic room, within the center of the new building, that
Elina was thankful that her father was paranoid enough to send Maarco
to her aid.
“Have we gained any new information
on what happened besides the actual attack? I know Delt was running
numbers.” She asked out loud once she finished her sip, looking up
at her security advisor. If Antonius Maarco was tired, he hid it very
well, and when the man turned around she found herself trying to see
if he was suffering any of the effects of lack of sleep. She gave up
after a few seconds when he started to speak; not only was anything
he said at this juncture most likely important, it was also fruitless
to try. The man looked alert and awake as ever.
“Negative. The only thing we can be
sure of is that it wasn't a false-flag from Intelligence or one of
Admiral Aath's enemies. I know it had to be from the Resistance,
“Without any direct evidence, we
assume it could be anything, I know. I don't think Vector Industries
did this.” She stuck her tongue out. On Malastare, Vector was one
of their top rivals and competitors; she was fairly certain that the
Malastare branch was still dealing with the company, but she was of
the opinion that there was no reason they found out about Bakura.
“I agree; I think it was the
Resistance.” He spoke again as he sat down across from her, his
hand playing and tendering to his own cup of re-caf, looking over its
creamy brown surface with a scowl before he tore his eyes back up to
the woman across from him.
“Delt's been looking into those
viruses planted into our system, but he stressed that he couldn't do
much until they tried to re-surface. He knows they exist, though, and
if we can narrow down where these bugs are, there goes one problem
out of the way. What worries me is that if Delt wasn't on duty, we
might not have noticed the intrusion for what it was.”
The look on Maarco's face when he spoke
made Elina think for a moment, taking a long sip of her re-caf,
hiding the pained look when she realized it was much hotter than she
originally guessed, before she spoke. “Say your thoughts out in the
open, Maarco. I appreciate any and all advice [i]you[/i] can give
me.” She said, the neutral and tired look on her face slowly being
replaced by a nice and easy smile that threatened never to leave.
Maarco took that as an order and spoke.
“This wasn't some guy in a basement with access to old Bakuran
military drones. This was a well-coordinated attack from men and
women determined to kill you. If we don't rule out corporate
espionage, which I can't do just yet but the pieces don't fit, then
that means that the Resistance sees you as a threat, and a very high
one at that. No one wastes a potential hack window and expensive
drones just because he doesn't like you.”
Elina swore. “Great. I thought they'd
like me coming here.”
Maarco chuckled. “To the Resistance,
you're the oppressor made manifest. New company with Imperial
sympathies that throws jobs out to these civilians who haven't yet
made up their mind? You can bet your life savings that, besides
Admiral Dodonna, you're the biggest threat out here.” Maarco said,
taking a drink of his re-caf. It was even hotter than Elina's and she
didn't even notice a flinch.
“Don't worry, though; that's why I'm
here.” He added, giving her that charming little smirk.
Damnit. She hated that; it always
sucked her in. Before she could respond with a similar flirt, there
was a small blinking light in the communicator built into the table.
A ping sound accompanied it, alerting to Elina that it was a
vox-communication from within the building itself. She leaned down
and pressed a small button, and the words 'SERVER BASE 21'. That was
the computer room, Elina thought, as the flickering image of Delt
appeared in one of the seats nearby, complete in all of his blue
“[i]Good evening, mam. Maarco.[/i]”
He said dismissingly of the man across from her, and Elina resisted
the urge to correct him. Delt was someone who always was a little too
sarcastic for his own good, but tonight, he earned his keep.
“Do you have anything to report?”
“[i]Yes. I've deconstructed the
mainframe's security system and rebuilt it. They won't get in the
same way as before. But that's not the problem. I don't know what's
going to happen when these hidden files.[/i]” He said honestly, and
the look of tiredness was in his eyes, much more so than her's. Looks
like he really did spend some time doing this.
“What exactly are they?”
“[i]Worms, to use a simple term. But
they're much more than that; I've never seen this used this her way
before. I'm actually impressed; either they got a damn good slicer or
it's a cabal of sorts. I'm not sure yet, but they were using dummy IP
signals to get to our mainframe. I think the next time they try to do
this kind of attack, I can trace the true location from where they're
She was ecstatic.“You could find out
where they're located?! The Imperial Garrison would love to hear
this!” She beamed. Even if she was dead tired from almost being
assassinated, that was wonderful news.
“[i][u]Maybe[/u], I said. I can't
promise anything right now but I can definitely try. Especially with
the salary you're paying me.[/i]” He smirked in his holographic
projection, the shit-eating grin almost too much even for her, and
she could see Maarco keeping his tongue.
“We'll talk money later, especially
if you find their location. Keep me appraised.” She reported,
before she ended the call, the shimmering blue field of the man
disappearing. Elina leaned back into the comfortable leather of her
seat with ease, her hands folding over her stomach as she looked at
“Good news on that front at least.”
The woman replied with a smirk. Maarco gifted it with a similar
“So far.” He added as a warning as
he stood up. “I'm going to do my rounds. Don't let anyone in until
we've verified who is who.” He said as he reached into his jacket
and pulled out a small, hold-out blaster pistol, barely fitting into
his palm. He slid it across the table with a smile, but before he
could leave, he stopped, putting a finger to his ear and waiting, his
eyes moving left to right quickly before he nodded up and down.
“Alright, I'll ask...No press, but the police officer in charge
wants to do a quick, official statement from you.” Maarco's words
were quick as he turned his head over to the woman in charge of
Hydrocon's important Bakuran project.
“Absolutely. You can bring him here.”
Maarco gave her a look.
“Oh, I am not staying in this room
for a long period of time, Maarco; even if my life was endanger, I'm
not going to wither away in a stale room.”
Maarco's eyes kept a lock-on with
Elina's before he shifted them away, nodding in his agreeance before
he disappeared behind the door.
That left Elina alone for some minutes
as she turned around in her chair, leaning back as she stared at a
blank wall for some long moments, sighing as she took in a big gulp
of her coffee. A gulp she immediately regretted once she realized how
hot the coffee was, but she persevered through it and then finally
felt her throat stop burning. She'd need to fix that, or at least
train herself to take smaller sips and not do so when the coffee is
“Malastare. Night. Capitol.” She
said, thinking for a moment about what she wanted to see before the
wall disintergrated by pixel squares, before the wall gave way to a
cybernetic window, showing a real and life-like video of what she
used to see from her office at night on Malastare. Buildings sat tall
against the faintly highlighted sky, stars swirling constantly in the
nightscape along with the aerial highways in the distance.
It reminded Elina of her home away from
home, with her father and mother.
“Miss von Aath?”
She turned around in her chair to see
the figure before her that she guessed had to be the detective that
Maarco was talking about. He was taller than her, with muzzle on his
face, and his hair was bright grey, clashing with his brown overcoat
that he wore that displayed his badge; Bakuran PD.
“Yes. You're the first responder,
“Detective Quintin Raltus, yes 'mam.
I won't be long, I just need a description of the night's events
while they're fresh in your mind, and then I'll leave you alone.”
She nodded, gesturing to the seat
closest adjacent to her at the cylinder-like table with a hand and a
smile. Detective Raltus nodded and sat down, pulling out a dataslate
and began to set some programs to work.
“Let's start from the beginning...”
Dunley was the first person to greet
Raltus when he came back, holding a dataslate in his hand and
promptly handing it to the approaching detective.
“What's this?” He asked, still
thinking about the interview that taken slightly longer than he
thought; he had assumed it would have been a quick twenty minute
report, but she had given him enough details in thirty minutes that
he knew his report would be padded with them.
“Your Captain wants you to pack up.
Hydrocon called in Imperial security.”
Raltus swore. “Damnit! Dunley, we can
“I know. I wasn't the one who called
it in. Your Captain did.” Dunley replied, watching the detective
grip the slate with whitening knuckles.
“Damnit! Frakwit!” He swore again,
practically slamming the dataslate on the nearby engine hood of his
“It's fine. You have your report;
you're still in the loop.” Dunley said, walking forward and looking
the detective in the eyes. Compared to Raltus, Dunley had blond hair,
starkly blonde, and he had height to match it. He may not act like an
Imperial, but he sure looked like one, the detective thought as he
calmed a bit.
“No, that's right. I do have that
report.” He said, looking at the dataslate in his pocket.
“Good. Now come on, the night's
almost over.” Dunley replied, picking up his examination bag from
the ground and walking to the passanger's side of the vehicle. Raltus
sighed as he pulled the keys out from his own jacket, moving to the
“How much do you want to bet
Hydrocon's going to make a similar incident, and then it's just going
to escalate from there?”
For the first time, Raltus saw Dunley
smile and chuckle.
“I wouldn't even bet a single credit
PS: This is what I was thinking for Raltus, Math: http://i42.tinypic.com/wafs46.png