28
Jul
10

Looking for the clues

It was clearly understood in Sal’s mind that this explosion was not accidental. Sal really wasn’t ‘up’ on the latest news of the Cluster. He was 72 light-years from his stomping grounds. This place was a completely different world to him. Half way between settled and unexplored, he knew that he would have to keep ‘up’ if he was going to survive, let alone earn his keep. This Minos character was topping his short list. What Sal wanted to do was spend some time in front of a terminal conducting some proper research first hand. There simply wasn’t time for that. Perhaps Ms. Pheromone could bring him to speed. One thing that Sal did not like was flying by the seat of his pants. Alas, that was all he could do at the moment.
Even though ‘Mr. Muscle’ seemed very impersonal to him, Sal was very glad to have him along. What ever this was all about these people were serious and many innocent lives had just been lost in this explosion. This event had triggered a deep emotion in Sal, a desire to right the wrong, step outside of his sheltered world and onto the cold turf of his current reality with vigor and confidence. He laughed to himself as he recalled a pet name that was given to him in the Academy, “Johnnie Rocket”. In the end, though, Sal knew that what he could add to the immediate equation was knowledge and analysis. When it came to brains and brawn he was most definitely NOT the latter.
Sal thought about the Deltan as he scurried to catch up with Pher and Shane. His mind started to pick apart everything he overheard. He was an analyst and so he focused his brain-power on the data that he had been presented. She had referred to him as a ‘fleeter’. Naturally this added a negative connotation toward the Federation. However, she was over-emphasizing this in her posture as if she was acting. Acting? Sal thought about that for several seconds remembering how predictable her act had seemed to him. It was the worse he’d ever seen. Joia had done better in her Elementary play three annuls ago where she was a tree. Sal had had trouble believing that Mr. Nickles was falling for the Deltan charm that easily. She must have been pushing that pixie dust pretty hard. He thought more on the conversation and how Nickles had been trying to impress Redera. It was enough to make Sal feel ill. She had said that she had very little money and then Nickles offered for her to stay with him. “Show me!” Sal recalled. They weren’t headed to her hotel. They were headed to his. He thought once again about how the Deltan had been playing her role and leaving misleading clues in her mannerisms. If this Deltan was as devious as Pher had suspected then they weren’t ‘headed’ for either place.
It would be a rare night which would blend well with the events as they had been unfolding. A thick cloud bank had covered the skies and a light rain had started to fall. Although the districts were shielded by bioenvironmental domes these domes were energy-based and controlled by complex filtering schemes. Basically, if it was raining outside the dome then it was raining inside as well. Light from the grid work of streetlamps, patterns of windows in the buildings rising on either side and from the various billboards and signs began to glisten off every surface. The sun had disappeared hours ago and would not return for long time.
Traffic was heavy and the faces of the people that they had passed were cold and expressionless. They seemed depressed and in some eyes Sal saw panic. The architecture was a mixture of new modern age with traditional Klingon stone work and older rectangular glass and steel frameworks. The writing on the various signs was also a mixture of Terran and Klingon languages and fonts. It reminded Sal of a trip to the San Francisco Museum with its cultural diversity.
Sal focused on the sketchy data that he had just trying to keep pace with Pher’s swift steps. There wasn’t much to go on. Basically Nickles had been seduced and probably rolled. Sal had seen this before. Poor Jackson lost all of his credits, IDs, personal communicator and his socks. Yeah, his socks. He returned to the ship the next morning to explain what had happened and he had no socks on his feet. Sal chuckled to himself, perhaps out of nervousness. He was liking and not liking this whole thing. The adrenaline rush was starting to peak as his eyes scanned left and right looking for any addition data that might help their situation.

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