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Approx. 2800 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ


Finding S'hawna Morgan


written by  SJ



    Officer Melinda Dion and her team had done a superior job finding individuals who still had in their possession, knowingly or unknowingly, Chaos Crystals. The tracking, many times, had to be done through several people, who eventually led them to the actual person, or in some cases, simply to a location, sometimes an abandoned house or warehouse where the Crystals were finally located. In every case, the source was Mars, the old power plant, from people that had worked there in the past and had handed them off to relatives and/or friends. A few of them had been thrown away, where it was very likely they were destroyed by fusion incinerators.
    Most importantly, Dion had found no less than two people who had tried to power their Crystals, one of them ending up with a Chaos Worm in his head. In both cases, she was able to rectify the situation before anything disastrous had happened, the person with the Chaos Worm, cured.
    General J.C. Parker was happy with Dion’s performance; she and her whole team were given promotions: Dion was now a Captain, mainly so she could, if necessary, command and/or guide other teams similar to hers. Petrovsky was now a sergeant first class, Koufax and de la Vega were sergeants.
    However, Captain Dion still had another mission she had been working on all along, thinking about it, sometimes brooding, spending many days cataloging information from various different sources all over the Sol Frontier. She was determined to find, S’hawna Morgan, the same S’hawna Morgan responsible for the deaths of two people on Terra Aurigae, and who had escaped, seemingly without a trace, a person known to have Chaos Worms, and assumed to have at least one Chaos Crystal.
    Melinda would organize her information in neat, orderly, files on her computer, analyze one file, then another, then back to one, then on to another. Unless S’hawna Morgan had walked out an airlock while in deep space, she HAD to be someplace.
    The only physical clue the woman had left behind was from police photographs of S’hawna’s two victims on Terra Aurigae. Each victim had a tight chain around their neck with a small pendant on it: The pendant was designed as a round disk about fifteen millimeters in diameter, and from it was a straight, narrow, bar about five millimeters wide pointing upward to the right at a forty-five degree angle about ten millimeters long; at the end of that was a quarter-moon shape pointing outward. From the center of the forty-five degree angle bar on both sides, were two horn-like shapes curving back along the round shape of the disk, each one starting five millimeters wide then curving around to a point, ending half way around the disk. In both cases, the pendants where made of a cheap, pink-and-black-colored, metal. When Melinda found the jewelry shop where the pendants were made, she discovered there were only ten of them, all delivered to the mansion of S’hawna Morgan and Randal Thomas. However, so far, no others had been found...or anything like them.
    The solar system of Psi5 Aurigae was the Cartel Capital of Cartel Sector 2, identified simply as 21. Lambda Aurigae was 22, Pacifica was 23, Vejus was 24, New Tau'n was 25. Prociara was also in Sector 2; however, since it was the Federal Capital of the Sol Frontier, it was identified as 2F. Melinda Dion and her team had checked the travel records of all of them, basically, questioning spaceship captains, flight attendants, stewards, even baggage handlers if they had seen someone strange, a woman trying to hide her appearance, or, in some cases, show it off. According to the information they had obtained on Terra Aurigae, S’hawna Morgan looked unnaturally beautiful to men and quite repulsive to women. However, even though they had chased numerous leads, S’hawna Morgan was not found.
    At first, by simple profiling, Dion figured S’hawna was going to travel to a higher class neighborhood on another planet, checking those flights more carefully. With her investigation growing cold, she found herself going back to the beginning of her investigation to recheck spaceship flights all over again, starting with Lambda Aurigae, a solar system with one colonized planet, Terra Drakama, a place with little in the way of luxury resources and fancy hotels, occupied by Tau, Terran/Tau, and Terrans, a place specializing in exports, industry, and ocean agriculture. Because of this, flights to Terra Drakama had not been checked as much as planets like Terra Pacifica and New Tau’n.
    One night, as Melinda was up all night unable to sleep, she found something that peeked her interest. And it was something that had happened more than a month earlier.
    She hadn’t considered checking cargo ship runs; she couldn’t...that would’ve taken way too long. However, there was the owner of a cargo ship that did runs to Terra Drakama by the name of Bovan Xo’en, an elderly Terran/Tau male that had been bragging about having a beautiful woman onboard during his runs when he used to have his cargo ship, a month earlier. People working at spaceport stores and restaurants still remembered the old man boasting about the alleged seductress he had on board his cargo ship--all to his own. They still laughed about it, thinking it was the nonsense ravings of an old man.
    Lucynda de la Vega finally found the man and talked to him. He told her that even though this woman had eventually taken half his money and left, it was still worth it. The old man would grin from ear to ear and say: “I still got’s it.”
    When Melinda showed up to talk to him, he explained the whole situation, saying that, since then, he had sold his cargo ship and was now retired...again, grinning, saying how this woman wore him out sexually. Dion’s whole team sat with him one day and listened.
    Bovan apparently never knew the woman’s real name, and didn’t care, usually using names like Squeeze Toy and Sex Kitten. But, he did recall a couple times when he would wake up after a night of sexual excess and see her in the mirror looking very grotesque, with a yellowish, pasty, appearance, her eyes darkly circled. That’s when he began thinking he was too old for this kind of life. One day he noticed she had procured a ride to Terra Pacifica under the name Melan’ye Smith, leaving on an executive yacht with three men. The old man sighed, saying he was glad it was over. It wasn’t until the woman was gone before he realized she had taken half his money with her. But, he didn’t care; it was like he figured he had got what was coming to him, and that he knew the woman could’ve taken all his money, and didn’t. He sold his cargo ship and retired and now spends his time telling stories...and, even more important, spending time with something he eventually learned was more important: his family, something he should’ve done long ago.
    The old man’s story was a bitter sweet one. However, Melinda had her first real lead. Later that same day, she obtained a priority authorization to use the Jump Gate, which took her to the Pacifica solar system.
    Following S’hawna’s (now Melan’ye Smith) trail to Pacifica was an easy one. Dion found the yacht and questioned the executives. They told her Melan’ye was a very beautiful woman that seemed to be looking for someone. As they talked, they told her about a former executive by the name of Colin Pipp, who had left the business and had become a recluse on a island. At the time, they didn’t think anything of it when this woman said Colin was the very person she was looking for. Normally, they would’ve thought it very strange and had become suspicious. But, the woman was so alluring, they couldn’t resist telling her where the reclusive man lived, something they wouldn’t have normally done. They never saw the woman again.
    Melinda was able to get the location and authorization to pay a professional visit to Colin Pipp from Terra Pacifica’s government and was soon on their way to an island in the middle of Pacifica’s massive ocean. After she had learned more about the man, she felt sorry for him, wondering what had compelled him to become a recluse, living a solitary life in a small mansion for more than ten years.
    After they had landed, they took no chances, arming themselves heavily, Melinda with a Tau plasma gun, de la Vega and Koufax with novaguns, Petrovsky with his VAL auto assault rifle.
    However, as soon as they entered the mansion, which was open and unlocked, Petrovsky and Koufax quickly picked up the smell of something they recognized: a decomposed body. There was no one else there.
    Colin Pipp’s nude body was found next to his bed. An autopsy found that he had died similar to the way the two men on Terra Aurigae had died, and like those men, around his neck was another pendant. It was obvious a woman had been living with him, but was now gone...along with all his money--another sad ending for an already sad case of a very lonely man. The only thing the man had left behind was a small diary, which they found locked in a safe; in it were only simple notes, information about certain events, leaving out any details. However, apparently S’hawna had told the man what the pendant symbol stood for and he wrote it down: Slaanesh.
    Just to be sure, DNA samples were taken from the man, something that confirmed the fact that S’hawna Morgan had killed again. And even though the actual cause of death was a brain hemorrhage, they determined it was from a massive and continuous overdose of sex and torture.
    Melinda Dion wanted to find S’hawna Morgan more so now than ever, but had reached yet another dead end. She was able to learn that a shuttle cab had taken Melan’ye Smith to the spaceport, then from there, to Mira'vax, a desert world orbiting Pacifica Minor, Pacifica’s companion M class star occupied mostly by Tau, Vespids, and Daxzans. Unfortunately, there was no trace of where she went from there except that she was no longer in the Pacifica solar system.
    The Federal Captain sat inside one of the hotels on Mira'vax, deep in thought. If S’hawna Morgan had left the solar system, it wasn’t as Melan’ye Smith. And her earlier investigations had covered anyone matching S’hawna Morgan’s special physical characteristics from almost all the spaceliners, except the corporate yachts, something she wasn’t able to check at the time. She decided to call Yarrick and get his help in checking more of the corporate yacht traffic, mainly those departing within the time period specified. By the end of the day, she got a list; but, no such person that matched S’hawna Morgan was on them. As Dion’s team left the hotel to return to Terra Pacifica, Melinda watched as a Daxzan woman came to clean up, something that soon gave birth to her only lead.
    Pacifica was not a Cartel Capital, but did have a Jump Gate, the first one to be built by the Tau in the Sol Frontier, something that connected the Tau Sept Worlds located on another spiral arm of the Galaxy. Later, when other Jump Gates were built elsewhere, the Pacifica Gate expanded its use.
    Melinda decided to check spaceliner traffic that used the Pacifica Jump Gate, but only checked those flights that had had a Daxzan onboard. Daxzans didn’t do much space travel. And finding a Daxzan traveling all the way to Comae Berenices, Cartel Capital 1, was unusual. If S’hawna Morgan was grotesque, what better way for her to travel onboard a major spaceliner than disguised as a Daxzan, something she could’ve done on Mira'vax.
    At this point, it was only a hunch, but it was the best she had. Soon Dion and her team were landing on a planet in the third orbital position, New Terra, in the Comae Berenices solar system. However, Daxzans were only native to Dell, a planet in the second orbital position, a place that had no major cities and where people lived in small towns. There was a desert bramble area on the planet where most people lived underground; some of them were Daxzans.
    When Dion had started her investigation into finding S’hawna Morgan, she figured she was about two months behind her. By the time she had landed on New Terra, she figured she was only one month behind; however, that was enough for the alleged Daxzan woman to disappear. The Federal Investigation team traveled to Dell and visited the desert bramble area where the Daxzans lived, but only managed to find sunburns and borderline heat prostration.
    Exhausted and frustrated, they had decided to return to New Terra until they were approached by a middle-aged Daxzan male, worried, desperate for help, his voice having a heavy accent, difficult to understand as he asked, “you-p, Fed’drals?”
    Koufax got Dion’s attention as the Daxzan man asked again.
    Dion thought a second, then understood. “Oh...are we Federals?” She smiled. “Yes, we are Federal Investigators. We are looking--”
    He moaned, then stated angrily. “Ug-lay woman take my Tobb. Tobb nev’r go...he good Krootox.” It suddenly looked like the Daxzan was about to cry. “He muy bess friend.”
    Melinda didn’t know what to say. She and her team were currently in an underground town, getting ready to exit to the surface where their shuttle was parked. Dion told the Daxzan to follow her back to a small café and tell his story again, this time his words even harder to understand until the waitress offered to sit down and translate.
    His problem soon became simple: He said his name was Boot Tayls, a mute (a Daxzan with a mutation, in this case, mostly mental). His best friend was a Krootox by the name of Tobb. He said some ugly woman had taken him and left for another planet. He kept saying Tobb would’ve NEVER left him to live with someone else; they were BEST friends.
    Eventually, Petrovsky learned to understand Boot’s accent, learning he was from a nearby village and that he wanted them to follow him there. Afterwards, when Dion learned the location of the village, they took him there in their shuttle. Once they had arrived, they followed Boot to an small underground home, a cooler place out of the 110 degree weather, where he lived with his mother; it was she who finally explained what had happened, and in the long run, supplying Dion with the information that would give her the final lead to finding S’hawna Morgan.
    She explained that about fifteen days ago, they had gone to a kind of county fair together. There, they saw some strange-looking Terran or Tau woman (they didn’t know) accompanied by two very athletic Daxzan women. They spent the night there, and in the morning, Tobb was gone. Later, they found him with that woman, doing whatever she told him, following her. Boot said he wanted to go and talk to Tobb, but the two Daxzan women stopped him, threatening him, telling him to go away. Toward the evening, they watched as the woman, along with the two Daxzan women AND Tobb, boarded a shuttle and flew into space, leaving Boot broken and sad. The next day, Boot’s mother learned more about the shuttle, finding out it was a transport for a cargo spaceship.
    Boot had taken a liking to Petrovsky right away, calling him Niko. When the Daxzan’s mother gave him the registry number of the shuttle, that told him everything Dion’s team needed to know. The cargo ship was on its way to Dredge, a barren mining planet in the Neubayern solar system, a return trip, its normal routine. If it hadn’t been for Boot’s missing Krootox, there would’ve been NO way to find out where S’hawna Morgan had gone.
    Dion wanted to thank Boot; but, it was Nikolai that gave Boot the greatest comfort, telling him that woman had the ability to use unnatural control over people. It comforted Boot to know that Tobb didn’t just abandon him, but was taken--just like he was hoping had happened. However, Nikolai did have to explain that he couldn’t guarantee Tobb’s return, at least, not alive, saying it was because that woman was a very powerful and dangerous person. Boot seemed to understand, knowing that his best friend might end up dead, Nikolai promising he would do his best not to let that happen.



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