Chasing the Dark Star

The Order of Things

"The Order of Things"

"Does he have a history? Anything I need to worry about?" Lin stifled a yawn. She had to rub the dreariness from her eyes, looking out the shuttle window and over the city. The lights of the control panel had become ever so bright in last few moments. She wasn't going into this completely blind, but even on the job her thoughts continued to drift to her bed.

"Not really, only a year or so on the force, basic training. He has a couple of citations for negligence, but it's all evidence stuff. I don't think this guy has ever even fired his weapon." Lin closed her eyes for a moment, shifting in her seat and looking up through the glass roof of her shuttle as thunder cracked and lightning flashed in the sky. She felt it too, the rumble in her chest even with the constant hum of the shuttle engine behind her, she felt it. "Lin, can you hear me?" she blinked and took a deep breath.

"Yeah, listen, Asami, if this guy is such nobody why am I going to him?" there was another crash and the shuttle vibrated again. The storm is getting too heavy.She thought, lazily. Any worse and shuttles will start getting grounded.She didn't care about the shuttles, but she knew first hand what happened in a shuttle crash. It was not something she wanted to experience again. You always had to run, didn't you?

"Because he was first on the scene of the crash." she stated it rather than said it. Some gleaming obvious fact.

"Then why not read his reports and be done with it? I know you have them in front of you." Lin spoke with an agitated tone in her voice. Helping Asami solve the reason for the attack was one thing, but at this point it was looking like it was just desperate raiders.

"Because, he said he found the shuttle and there was only on person inside." Lin shook her head.

"And there was only one dead guy inside when I was there. If there were others they would be in custody and you'd have me throwing my badge in the faces of the entire department." she reached under her coat and rubbed a thumb on her badge, a Tower badge. It meant she was an investigator for the corporate bigwigs. The kind of investigator to make internal affairs sweat.

"And you didn't investigate like you should have. But I understand, there were a lot of cops and you don't like drawing attention. A safe bet, but maybe not the winning one." the winning bet. It was always the winning bet with her. All or nothing.

"What if it really was just raiders attacking out of desperation. And what evidence is there that there was anyone else in the pod? I know how much you want there to be some mystery behind this that you can solve and feel good at the end of the day, but sometimes things just happen Asami." ever since she chose her, Asami had her running around: playing private investigator for her, finding the dirt she couldn't get with her computers. And more than once they had stumbled across something, some hints at espionage or dirty dealings from her fathers records showing that he always had his own agenda. But more often than not, it came to nothing and Asami would sulk, drinking that damn tea with a defeated look in those green eyes of hers.

"Nothing was taken. From the ship I mean, nothing was taken. Station salvage ships found all the cargo just floating around." Lin sighed. Another piece of evidence that fell under the weird category.

"The Turtle was destroyed, so there was fighting. What if the crew destroyed the ship in a last ditch effort to stop the raiders. Point defense guns only do so much." it sounded strange as she said it. She quickly realized what she had done.

"Why would they self destruct if their haul was just food and factory parts. Self destruct protocol is used only when something extremely valuable is on board. Not fruit." she sounded almost defensive. Like she had to protect her logic and keep any holes from pooping up. Lin didn't respond, because she could very well be right. What sort of Captain would give a self destruct order for agricultural cargo?"Besides, Changpu here lied on his report."

"How do you know that?" the screen in her dash beeped and flashed as more thunder rocked the sky. She tapped at the screen, setting the controls to manual and flying the last few moments on her own. She trusted the shuttle to get her close, but never all the way.

"The pod's hatch was opened from the inside." Lin pulled the shuttle from the flow of traffic, away form the zooming of the ships and the wiring of their engines. The building was low and old, beaten down and out of the way. Not the best housing. No, the more money you had the higher up you lived, and a low level cop could barely get off the ground. At least it's not in the under city.

"And?" it was a clue, or a coincidence. Lin had never been one for betting on an answer before she was sure. She set the shuttle down with a thud and stepped out onto the landing pad. She put a small communicator in her ear, pulling her coat over her head and rushing to the entrance the building.

"And, I get the feeling our dead guy hanging upside down in the pod didn't pull the release. Which means there was someone else in the pod and they got out. Changpu's report says he got to the scene just after the crash. So, either he just barely missed whoever else was there, or he let them go. So, either way he knows something we don't." Lin thought back to the pod, and the glimpse of the dead man. Still strapped into the seat and his arms dangling. I guess the detectives started doing their jobs. She thought of the young detective. He was different from the others. The lobby was empty, with yellow walls that had either faded or had once been white. The painted had faded and chipped in places, and was stained with all sorts of things in others. There was water damage above her and the lighting was dim, at best. Steam poured from pipes poking out of the walls and had created puddles on one side of the room. The water pools were the obly place where the floor wasn't filthy.

"So you have the photos from the scene?" the building looked looked like it was on it's last leg, and she couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching her. "What floor is his room on?" she moved across the lobby, eager to leave the space.

"Room four-eight-two, six floors above you. And yes, I've stared pulling the files from the departments database, but their tech is horrible at best and it's coming slowly. Right now it's... wow, that's a terrible way to go. Killed by a life pod." there was almost a laugh in her voice and Lin could almost see the smile as she heard a sip of tea. She waited for the lift, the motor whirring as it descended the cables. This place really is the bottom of the barrel. It was a somber thought that gave her an appreciation for what she had.

"If you think it's so great, why don't you come out here with me sometime." it wasn't a sincere gesture, or maybe it was. Lin had always been curious about the idea of getting the young woman from her office and really into the investigating she loved so much. The lift dinged and the doors slid open and two men almost rushed into her. They were rough, with high cut hair and dirty clothes on would find on under city thugs. They quickly moved past her and out the building, but Lin noticed how they moved. They were controlled, too controlled for how they dressed. She waved it off and pressed the floor button.

"Don't tease me with that Lin, you know how much I would love to be out there with you. But if I was there, who would be here staring at computer monitors and reading reports?" and the tea, who would drink all that damn tea?The lift dinged as it ground to a halt and the doors opened with a loud squeak. The hallway wasn't much better than the lobby, with the same walls and dingy lighting. Most the doors had chips missing or dents where people bothered to replace them with metal instead of wood. She looked at the numbers as she made her way done the hall.

"I don't know Ms. Sato, but I think you would love this place I'm in. the feeling that I'm going to be stabbed is only slightly higher than if I were in a knife fight." Asami laughed over the line as Lin rounded the corner. She immediately knew which room she was looking for when she saw a door had been smashed open down the hall. Lin tensed for a moment, slipping to the wall and drawing her pistol in deft move. She checked the magazine and the chamber just to sure as she moved down the hall. Her feet were swift and she kept calm as he moved next to the door, peaking in through the gap.

"Oh my, that sounds amazing, but I'll have to pass. Some more photos just came in I think Changpu has some real explaining to do." Lin only half heard her as she took a deep breath and shoved into the room, pistol at the ready. She scanned around the room, looking for signs of life or movement, but the small room held neither. She took a deep breath and wiped her nose on her sleeve.

"Well, he wont be answering any questions anytime soon." she moved through the small apartment, stepping over broken chairs and shelves, looking in the bathroom and holstering her pistol after deciding there wasn't anyone else there. She looked back towards the hallway, and the chair set in front of the screen in the corner.

"I take it that he's dead?"

"Yeah, burglary gone wrong. Or at least that's what they want it to look like." she stepped around the chair and looked at the corpse. He was bruised and covered in cuts, blood running down wounds along his neck and chest. It was a gruesome sight but Lin pushed down the feeling in her gut.

"What does that mean?" the room was trashed, everything was either broken or thrown aside. But nothing was moved with the intentions of finding valuables. It was all controlled chaos.

"It means that someone came here and tortured our guy to death. They made it look like it was a robbery. And his wounds, how he died, looks like the kind of things done on the Rim." she looked around at the broken items on the floor. Pictures and plates, anything close to him when he died.

"I take it you aren't happy with that answer?" she seemed distracted again. Lin dusted away some broken glass and moved an old picture frame and found a smashed data pad.

"No, itlooks like stuff on the rim, and all the destruction was done purposefully. But it's all too controlled to be raiders or thieves." Lin thought back to the men at the lift, dirty and dangerous looking, but composed. "I found a smashed data pad, maybe something on it. Does this place have any cameras? No, wait, this place is a hellhole. How about the surrounding buildings or pads? I don't think were the only ones digging into this, and I think I saw the guys who did it." she stood and moved out of the apartment, not wanting to disturb anything further.

"Yeah, I'll look into it, but I have something you need to see. I'm sending it to your comm." Lin pulled it out of her pocket, waiting for the file to load, her eyes following the little gear on the screen as it loaded. "I already have a positive ID from the databanks, but I want to be sure. I made the files restricted to stop the Department from digging into it. Is it what I think it is?" the picture loaded, it was a patch on a mans shoulder. A white flower on a blue field.

"Things just got a lot more complicated." You always had to run.

"That's what I thought, it's a shame you don't still have that contact. Come back here, I have an investigative team on the way. They'll dig up any more evidence. I know you could use the sleep and I need to work on finding the next lead." Lin rubbed her eyes, closing the line and shoving the comm back in her pocket, a thunderclap shaking the building. Always moving, blowing around like the wind.Lin thumped her fist on the wall.

"I'm getting too old for this shit."

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